“It is probably the worst accident involving a head-on collision between two vehicles that anyone in Bougainville can remember. One distraught relative of two of the deceased in Arawa says it is the worst car accident ever.
Bougainville like most of the country is not where you find big cities and towns swarming with people but where most of its population still live villages, most commutable by foot and some by vehicles . It’s main townships of Arawa, Buka and Buin are small enough in areas and population for most people to know and know of each other.
So when a major tragedy happens, like it did last Saturday morning 2nd April everyone gets to hear about it very quickly. In this instance it was an accident that was hard to accept, let alone come to terms with because six people vanished in a pile of twisted metal in such tragic manner without knowing and warning.”
Lives of six young, working people have been needlessly lost, gone in cold blood in the most terrible and awful way possible. They were not prepared for it, nor did they know or expect that a merry night out with friends for a good cause would end up so abruptly before they got home to their loved ones.
For their immediate families and relatives it is a double blow, and hard to accept, as the five young men and a young female were all breadwinners for their families. Three of the men were from the same clan and therefore related. It is a tragic loss to Bougainville at this time when it needs and depends on such young people to rebuild itself.
In short, we have lost a contract builder who had a lot of building contract work ahead for his self-owned company; a younger man who was an employee of Bougainville Healthy Communities; another a mechanic, a security staff member at Arawa Bank of South Pacific, an employee of Oxfam, NGO on the Island and the only female in the accident who was employee of BSP in Arawa.
As a friend and relative of one of the deceased said, it is also such loss and tragedy at this time because some them had come back to Bougainville after training and getting experience to lend their hand and time at home when they could have easily picked up jobs outside Bougainville. But they had come back and were working towards the prime of their lives and jobs of their choice. This is also why this tragedy is a very hard thing to accept, he said.
Muted silence, mourning, wailing and lamenting, bereavement and heavy hearts and teary eyes have been the immediate combination of responses of the parents, wives and relatives. This will continue long after they have been laid to rest.
As is often the case the biggest, saddest, innocent and the most undeserving losers will be the children of the deceased. When among the victims a young working girl has also been lost, the mother of the child will be the one that will suffer most from the loss of her child which she carried within her for nine long months and then nurtured after birth. To lose her is not fair when she is repaying the family with the security of a respectable job.
Families have lost sons, brothers, son-in-laws, uncles and so on, on both sides. In an extended family society like ours through clans, sub-clans and marriages, this includes a long list of many other relatives as well.
What has befallen the ones lost and the way they lost their lives in such terrible accident is hard to fathom. It will be hard to accept by their families and those closest to them for a long time. Their children will always ask the most obvious questions as they grow up: “Why”? What happened”?
Perhaps, now is not the time to look for answers or reasons. It is a time that we join in the hurt, sadness, sorrow, grieving and loss and extend our deepest condolences to all those most affected.
If there is a lesson for us to learn from this, it is a lesson we have never really learned. Ever. With utmost respect to the families and relatives of those that died in the accident, the lesson is this: Body and alcohol do not mix well.
Our sincerest and deepest condolences. May they rest in eternal peace.