PAPUA NEW GUINEA, 29th October 2010 – This was the second time RISEAP organized an Islamic Course in PNG. For me, this was my second trip to PNG. Last year was my first. I arrived at the Jacksons International Airport, Port Moresby on 29th October 2010, stayed there for 1 day at the guesthouse of ISPNG (detached with Imam Mikhail’s house in the large compound of ISPNG Mosque). The next day I, together with Imam Mikhail Abdul Aziz (Imam of ISPNG Mosque in Port Moresby) and Br. Mikhail Korah (Secretary General of ISPNG) flew to the Highlands and landed at Goroka Airport and we stayed there for the night as it was getting dark and it’s not safe to travel at night there.
On the next day (31st October 2010) we went straight to Kundiawa (capital city of Simbu Province) via road. After a very tiring, uncomfortable and nearly three long hours’ journey on a very rough road, we eventually reached our destination- Kundiawa in the afternoon. We were riding on a Toyota Hiace van together with the others whereas the suitable vehicle for the road from Goroka to Kundiawa is the 4-wheel-drive! We stay overnight at the Kundiawa Hotel because I got a severe headache during the journey and it is unsuitable for us to proceed our journey to Waingar (the place that we are going to organize the course).
During the night we encountered another problem that was the rationing of water there in Kundiawa due to the drought of 7 months and it was just started to rain there lightly a few days before. When we woke up in the morning for Subuh prayer there is no water in our room and anywhere else in the hotel, so we had to do tayammum as a replacement of wudhuk.
After checking out from the hotel we left Kundiawa for Waingar, the second Islamic Centre in the Highlands after Karilmaril. The journey took us another 40 minutes up to the mountains in a pickup truck on another rough road. The participants have already arrived from Mendi Southern Highlands Province, Mt. Hagen Western Highlands Province, Kimil, Minj, Bilubol, Kolkol from Diwak Province and from Simbu Province, Ulu, Ouna, Wara Simbu, Yobai, Karilmaril, Munuma dan Kundiawa. Altogether there are nearly 50 people at the Islamic Centre including a few women and children.
From 1st-5th November 2010, a well formulated daily lectures were presented to the participants mostly by myself and assisted by Imam Mikhail Abdul Aziz. The topics are mostly about the Pillars of Islam such as Solat, Zakat, and Fasting; Aqidah including the pillars of Iman; several practicals such as azan and iqamah, Tayammum, Janazah Management, Janazah prayer; Friday prayer and also khutbah. The lectures were very informative and educational for the participants whom nearly half of them were just embracing Islam. The lectures being separated into 4 sessions; 3 sessions during the day and 1 more during the night after Maghrib prayer for 1 hour.
However, Imam Mikhail Abdul Aziz had to leave us on Thursday (4th October) back to Port Moresby, due to visa arrangements for him to go for Hajj in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He’ll be leading a group of 8 other Muslims from all over Papua New Guinea for Hajj this year. The biggest number of Muslims so far from PNG, sponsored by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs of Saudi Arabia.
Normal lectures resumed by myself alone till Friday 5th November and a written test administered at the end of the course to test their comprehension and seriousness during the course. After that we had a big ‘Mumu’ (cooking all varieties of food, vegetables and chickens in one dug-up mumu pit). This feast usually being done by the people here on very special occasions only such as weddings and during the two Eids but unfortunately I couldn’t enjoy the feast very much as I suffered diarrhea for two days there (Thursday and Friday 4th and 5th November respectively). This was a very painful experience for me there as the weather is cold, the water is scarce (as the is no water pipe there the nearest is a creek nearly 300 metre inside the jungle), in and out of a very bad condition ‘manual’ toilet especially at night as there is no electricity and I had to depend on a torchlight and had to fight with the mosquitoes.
But Alhamdulillah I recovered after 2 days. The Muslims there boiled some guava leaves for me and I drank the water and almost instantly the pain gone and no more frequent visit to the toilet for me. In the afternoon of the Friday, all participants and other invited guests had a big ‘Mumu’ meal together and then departed for their respective destinations…
By Ustaz Nik
This piece is taken from the website of the Regional Islamic Da’wah Council of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.