By Racheal Shisei – EMTV News, Madang
Students of the Tadup Primary School in the Transgogol area of Madang Province are skipping classes and spending their days in search of drinking water.
With four months of drought-like conditions across the province, things are starting to become quite dire.
“We get very hot and thirsty, and we just couldn’t stay in class so we get out. Owners of the coconuts get on us but it’s the only way for now,” said Saegidu Batik, a grade eight student.
The nearest water source is some kilometers into the bush, away from the Tadup Primary School.
“I just can’t get myself to get on them and stop them from skipping classes, and running into the coconut plantations, because it is their right to drink water,” Mauter Karson, the Tadup Primary School Chairman explained.
The Tadup Primary School teachers on the other hand are left with only a dam, which was built by previous pupils at the school.
“We use water from the dam only to do laundry and bath. The drinking and cooking water sources have all dried up, and we are walking miles to fetch water,” said Tassie Edgar, a teacher’s wife.
Most of the teachers mentioned, that they have been attending classes without bathing in the mornings, as a result of the no water situation.
“Even the dam is drying up, and if all or most of us come down to bath or do laundry, it runs dry so some of us have to walk kilometres into the bush to look for water,” stated Joe Pomase, a senior teacher.
Both teachers and students go the nearest water source they can find, and that’s being piped from under the ground, an estimated 7 kilometres away.
The teachers have been dismissing their classes at lunchtime, as a result of the situation, with the school ready to take another step if help doesn’t get to the teachers and students in time.
“I will dismiss all classes except the grade eight students, if the situation gets out of hand by term four, because the grade eights have their final exams coming up on the fifth week of term four,” the Head Teacher, Gilard Singan said.
It is understood that most other schools in towns, especially the Primary Schools are also knocking off classes at lunchtime due to the same reasons.