Issue Monologue:

Mining For "Life"

There was a brisk wind in the air that Friday morning, as I walked to the docks.  My friends had told me that there was a ship coming in to port with lots of food and supplies, but my father warned me not to get my hopes up. I just needed to check for myself, because my family needed food desperately as a result of the drought.  As I was rounding the last corner along the old dirt path, I could tell something was up.  I was met by a humungous ship that was as long as my whole village. This ship was still off shore because it was too big to dock at our small wharf.  I spotted 20 men coming this way on tiny life boats.
            When the men arrived on the dock, I was a little timid as the workers appeared to be very important individuals.  These strangers completely ignored me, until they needed my help.  The leader told me his name was Jack Nixon, and that he was the head of an international excavating development.  I let him know that my name was Meewa Narkle. I didn’t know what an excavating development was, but it certainly sounded important.  I helped the 20 men set up their station down by the shore, close to the spooky volcano.  
            Mr. Nixon settled his team and started moving the enormous machinery off the boat to the volcano site.  The next week, much to the horrified Lihir native people, the Lihir Gold Limited (LGL) operation started excavation of the caldera stricken volcano. 
            My father was appalled that he and the other natives had not been allowed to give input into what was happening on their sacred island.  Who were these strangers that mysteriously appeared one day and seemed to upset our eldest volcano?  From the day the strangers had arrived, the volcano continuously released steam from its mouth.  I piped up and tried to say that the strangers were very important business people and I thought they were nice as they had let me help earlier.  My father would have none of this nonsense talk and hit me across the cheek.    My father only reacted emotionally because he had gotten bad news that my sister, Puka, was very ill and needed medical attention that we could not afford.  In the morning, I found out that Puka need a leaf from a Hopea tree, to heal her.  The only problem was, that the LGL mine had just dug up the only Hopea trees on the island.  I decided to go see if Mr. Nixon could help my sister.
            When I got to the volcano, the security guard would not allow me in.  Luckily, Mr. Nixon was on his way by and stopped to see what all the commotion was about.  I explained my problem and Mr. Nixon offered me a deal.  Mr Nixon needed local workers, so if I worked for the mine, in return the mining company would buy Australian modern medicine for my sister.  My father felt disgraced to have his only son work for the arrogant Australians and to be forced to receive assistance from the mining company.  As time went on, I slowly became excluded from the village community, to the point where I had to live on site with the mining workers.  I enjoyed my job, but more importantly, I was able to earn money for my sister’s medication. 
            Many years passed and I continued to work at the mine. I was now faced with a life-altering decision.  The mine’s active years were winding down as much of the gold had been mined.  My options were to either relocate at another mine with LGL, or stay with my family who did not approve of me, and in fact, may not even accept me back as a family member.  I decided to travel to Mt. Rawdon Australia with the company, as my sister still required medication that my family could not provide on their own. 
My new assignment at Mt. Rawdon was to be responsible for native rights and give families like my own support for an appropriate lifestyle.  This new job was to organize the healthcare, shelter, and food that are the essentials for native survival.

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