|Subject: Re: Calling Caroline
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Date Posted: 15:22:30 04/03/01 Tue
In reply to:
's message, "Calling Caroline" on 15:13:12 04/03/01 Tue
This is the story by Jack Metta, in case it is deleted as new pages in the National are loaded.
IT was an impromptu search, an assignment thrown into a busy schedule that didn't quite yield the desired result.
It took him, however, to places he would not have otherwise visited and met people he would
Mari Kapi poses with Central and Gulf offspring, Charlie Rupa, Tina Keto and Agnes Metta, at Matupit village.
never have dreamed of meeting.
Throughout it all, there was a flame burning, an excitement of the unknown but a pleasant thought that the eventual outcome would make it all worth the effort.
He returned home without much success but with unwavering confidence that time would bear the desired results.
He would vouch, however, to the fact that the experience was certainly an eye-opener. Besides anything else, he had added a story to his memory bank that he would continue to tell his family and friends, especially those whose children he met in the course of looking for a 'lost' relative.
"It really is a small world out there," he acknowledged.
It was his first trip to this part of the world, and his business schedule was rather tight.
His instructions before flying out were specific -- there is a young girl in Rabaul who was conceived during a friendship between his brother-in-law and a young Matupit girl.
"Her name is Caroline," he was told. "And they live in Malaguna, near the junction of the road to Nonga Hospital."
"She has just completed her grade ten," he relayed his father-in-law's words to his colleague in Rabaul.
But asking for 'Carol' without any idea who her mother was, or who her immediate family were, was quite a challenge, for names are attached to faces and faces to names and places.
In his mind, he really wished his wife was with him on this occasion because she was the only one with an actual photograph of the girl's mother.
It would not have been a problem if his wife was in PNG, but she was overseas.
The young girl was conceived in 1984 and was in her late teens, he guessed, about the same age as his teenaged daughter.
His colleague in Rabaul secured the services of a former copper to conduct the search and in the course of their exploits, the visitor also learnt that the ex-copper was the father of a family friend -- a young girl who plays in the same cricket team as his daughter. And he was the coach of the team.
His excitement was beyond compare as he relayed the connections.
But first things first.
They fronted up at his brother-in-law's old firm to seek out old contacts who might be able to furnish them with the latest information on the woman and her daughter.
The only useful bit of information they gathered at the place was that things were not the same 18 years on. But they did get some instructions to check out the place of their origin at Malaguna.
At Malaguna, the locals needed further details like her mother's name for example. They could provide none. But upon advice from the villagers, they decided that it was worth checking Matupit Island as there were a number of children of mixed parentage there.
In fact, they were told that there was a young girl in Matupit who fitted the description.
The hotel where he stayed had in its employment a number of local women from the village and he put the question to them.
"She may have changed her name," he was told. "There is a young girl in the village who fitted the description and goes by the name of Susan."
Indeed Susan was there, but her background did not collaborate with the details that were available to them.
They decided then to inquire with a couple of other people they knew in the village and met up with Tina, a young woman of mixed Central and Tolai parents. She could not help them, but if they liked, she could go and get a young man of mixed Central and Tolai origins down the road who may be able to help.
They liked and she returned minutes later, not only with Charlie, the Central/Tolai man, but also with Agnes, a Gulf/Tolai girl as well.
Shock waves were the order of the afternoon when Agnes introduced herself as a 'Metta'.
It was to be the second surprise of the day as during their final search at OLSH at Vunapope, they were introduced to Agnes' kid sister, Theresa, and the excitement of meeting threw the tempo of their search into second gear.
For many moments, there was much talk about their origins and one thing that stood out among all the excitement was that the search team knew the sires of these children personally or at some juncture in their lives.
It also highlighted a development that is prevalent in the modern PNG society but one which nobody has really sat up and taken notice of.
Villages are becoming more cosmopolitan in composition, verging on a melting pot of integrating cultures.
Somehow nobody is alarmed that given, say 10 to 20 years, the ultimate impact of the situation would be a society without an original culture.
But that is another story.
They were still nowhere near locating Caroline.
They were informed however, that she could have been adopted by a white man and may be attending Kerevat National High School.
They also found out that if this was the girl they were searching for, her mother was now married to a New Irelander and living in Namatanai. And if this was the case, they should check out Our Lady of The Sacred Heart at Vunapope.
Kerevat was quite a distance from town and time did not permit the team to check out the place. But Vunapope they did, because it was on the way to Tokua.
"Call Theresa Metta, maybe she could help..." headmistress Eloenora Vigil ordered a school monitor when the team lodged their inquiries at the school's office.
But Theresa could not help with their inquiries, either. All she did was surprise a certain scribe with her surname.
It is a couple of days since the uncle flew back to Port Moresby. But the inquiries that were launched have started to stir a response from the public.
They now know that the mother's name is Ann and that Caroline was to have continued her secondary studies at Kambubu SDA College on the south coast of Pomio but had taken leave to secure the school fees to continue her Grade 11.
It has also been confirmed that she is using here father's surname for identification. The disappointing thing for Uncle Mari in his search during his visit, was that Caroline was also searching for him at exactly the same time.
Time ran out for Mari but he and his family are sure of one thing, they are looking forward to a reunion that they hope will contain all the trappings of a story with a happy ending.
Time may have not been on Mari's side in his search but certainly, it will figure prominently when they meet.
In the interim, if Caroline is out there, the Kapis' home number is 3108210. You can also ring this scribe in Rabaul on 9822009 to arrange a meeting.
And you know, 'tis said that "with God, you are never lost in the crowd..."
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