ALL THE ROADS LED ME HERE
Many roads brought me here. My desire to do more for my country women in my profession, my anguish over the absence of any true and full coverage of women’s stories in our mainstream media, my fear for the future of my daughter as a citizen of my country but most of all, it was the endless nights of self-anger and self-dissatisfaction, self-questions about the strength of my work and rebuking myself even, that I should be doing more to make a difference for Solomon Islands women as a professional journalist.
When I was born in May, 1980, my mother gave birth to me at the National Referral Hospital in the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara. She was driven to the hospital in a taxi. Doctors attended my birth and my mother recovered in a bed in the maternity ward and I was given all the injections I needed at birth. She returned home with me without any problems. I was her first child.
The following month that same year, my mother-in-law paddled a canoe by herself for five hours to a clinic to give birth to my husband. The clinic was a thatched leaf hut, held up by a foundation of raw timber and mangrove sticks. There was no electricity. There were no doctors. There was no ready supply of injections for newborn babies. There was no bed for my mother-in-law to rest on after giving birth. She paddled the five hours back to the village from the clinic and went to another leaf hut, isolated from the main village. There she nursed my husband, was fed by village women, until her post-birth menstruation was over before she returned to her husband’s house. My husband was her ninth child.
Twenty-seven years later I gave birth to these women’s grandchild. Like my mother, I gave birth to my daughter at the National Referral Hospital and had access to all the medical facilities, and doctors and nurses needed to ensure that both my newborn daughter and I lived. She is now a lively four year old, in her second year in kindergarten, and says she wants to be a journalist like me. It is a different scenario for her cousins in the village – they do not have an early childhood centre in the village and for my daughter’s girl cousins, I know they will eventually have to leave school to allow their brothers to advance further because of financial constraints. I know also that there are a hundred thousand more girls across the country who will face similar fates.
I grieve over these deep disparities and over the many more issues threatening the rights and futures of girls and women in my country, especially with the burning knowledge that I should be doing more to put these situations to the national audience in my country. Hence, after much searching on how I can be doing more, I am here with a simple vision to devote the all of myself to talk with Solomon Islands women and write of the realities they face.