Best students die of poverty
The death of a third Divine Word University student in as many months yesterday in Madang is likely to send again shockwaves around the country; this time for the conditions of late Terence Wafanu from Green River District in Sandaun province.
The Year Two Rural Health student is reported to have formally withdrawn from school in April due to no payment of school fees. Friends, however, revealed at the improvised hauscry in campus last night that his parents are mere subsistence farmers and Terence was the first young person from their extremely remote area to reach a university level of education.
Causes of death have still to be officially determined with a TB bout as the primary suspect. But Terence never found his way back to the impoverished Vanimo forests after leaving school a couple of months ago. He hung around with Church groups in Morobe province and Madang until he was admitted at Modilon General Hospital last week complaining of fatigue and breathing problems.
Comments in Madang are bitter: millionaire government and opposition leaders are locked in a power struggle in Waigani, while the future of the country dies of poverty and neglect. And this for a few thousand Kina of school fees Vanimo politicians were not interested and not willing to contribute. (Giorgio Licini – Catholic Reporter PNG)