Mary Dora Doroda - Oral History interview recorded on 17 May 2017 at Gerua, Northern Province, PNG
Mrs Mary Dora Doroda describes fleeing with her parents, their hunger while in the bush, and the food supplies they received at the Inonda care centre. In this interview, Mrs Mavis Tongia begins by reading a story narrated to her by her mother, Madeline Dodou Uiari Manuda.
I was a small girl when my father got me and ran away. The war is here and the Japanese boat arrived so everybody, we are going to run away. When the message was passed to everybody and they were trying to run away, my mother and father also ran away too.
When we ran away we stayed in the bush with no food, there was no food, we were eating things like young palm shoots [ijiga] and anything that we could find in the bush and also sago. While the fighting was going on they were firing the guns and there was no way of us running away, so we had to remain in the bush until everything was over, and then we continued to run.
Until we were taken up to Inonda [care centre]. When we went up to Inonda they gave us a very big food supply that the Japanese brought, they brought enough food for everybody so we were satisfied and there was still plenty leftover. How long we stayed at Inonda I wouldn't know, because I was a small girl. We still remained at Inonda with a lot of good food supply that was given to us, we were still feeding on that until the war ended and they told us, 'you people will now go down to your village'.
That was when I was a bit bigger, when we returned. And on our arrival we found our village was all filled with pieces of broken barges and boats, and the village did not look good, it was in a mess when we arrived there.
Then they rebuilt the new village. I do not really know about the story of this war, but what little I know is the time that the war came and my father and mother took me and ran, and I also witnessed the food supply that was given to the people.