THEIR elders probably did not think much about them being there. But Dulcinea and her younger sister, Daisy Onahikeni made sure of it they are part of the unfolding West Are A’re Constituency history.
The sisters were part of a small group of West Are A’re people who witnessed the official opening of the Taerai Tarakoni Association (TTA) office in Honiara.
The Onahikenis hail from A’iarai Village, in the West Are A’re Lagoon on Malaita. The sisters who attend school in Honiara were part of the small group that pledged to use the TTA as a vehicle for developing their Constituency.
They were there from decorating the new office to the end of the two-hour ceremony. It was clear they were determined to put their footprints on the nation’s community development map.
Among the crowd were former Malaita Premier, Peter Ramohia, Dr. Alice Pollard who was the guest of honor, the TTA Board Chairlady, Rose Isukana, Father Peter who blessed the new office and Nature Conservancy and Global Green Grant Country Director, Willie Atu, the man who facilitated financial support to get the TTA off the ground.
Mr. Atu said a village set-up such as TTA is the best example for attracting financial support.
In the case of West Are A’re, the Nature Conservancy and Global Green Grant provided it with USD5, 000 which enabled TTA to set up its Honiara Office as well as buy its first coconut mill which is operating in West Are A’re today, according to Mr. Ramohia, who helped register the TTA under the Charitable Act in 2014.
“We did not do much until 2018 when members began reviving TTA’s work,” he said.
“Now we have applied to the Government for funds under the Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) to buy two additional coconut mills. Like many others, we are still waiting to hear from the government,” Mr. Ramohia said.
Dr. Pollard described the TTA Office as a home.
“TTA now has a home. This is the place where we need to come together to plan to help our own people,” she said.
Dr. Pollard who set up a similar association also in West Are A’re warned of the costs in running such an organisation.
“We need resources to help build the Association. It will cost us. It means offering ourselves to help our people. The word volunteerism comes to mind. We will need to sacrifice.”
Ms. Isukana paid tribute to Nature Conservancy and Global Green Grant. Describing as “tremendous” the support TTA received from them.
“TTA can now ... move forward with its programs next year with the intended purpose to engage and collaborate in activities towards improving the lives of people in West Are’Are and beyond (in) the continuous development of Solomon Islands.
“Today, as we mark another milestone in the life of TTA, may I thank the smart and dedicated leaders who worked tirelessly over the past years to now for our TTA.
“I would encourage you to continue the good work in the future. As we journey together through TTA in our collective efforts to break (the) dependency (mentality), let me remind us of our motto “to’iare, tariare; tariare, to’iare” the Are’Are language phrase which translates to “create something, earn something; earn something, create something”.
“TTA is providing us a platform for working together and using our collective talents, skills, and knowledge to get out of dependency by doing something to earn a living for ourselves and our families in West Are’Are,” Ms. Isukana said.
What happens from here on, Dulcinea and Daisy, will be the judge of the success or otherwise of the TTA office. They witnessed the launch of the TTA Office which is an attempt by like-minded West Are’Are Constituency people to stamp out the dependency mentality.
By Alfred Sasako