Nester Isoroembo Ewada - Oral History interview recorded on 14 May 2017 at Port Moresby, National Capital District, PNG


Mrs Nester Ewada describes how her grandmother fled with her mothers from the war at Oro Bay, Northern Province, and how her grandmother tried to keep her daughters safe from assault.



Warning: This site contains stories of war. Some of these interviews may include detailed and graphic descriptions of events and experiences that may be disturbing for some individuals.

[VS]: Okay Nester when you're ready, okay.
[NE]: I'm Nester Isoroembo from Hohorita, my mother was from Oro Bay which is the coastal side and she was married to my father who was inland from Hohorita. My mother was the last born in the family and she was very young, little, I think was around ten to eleven but she was told me she was too small when my grandmum was running into a bus to just to hide from those bombs that was blowing and they thought what was this and my grandmum and my aunties who were big girls they all rushed into a bus and went into a mountain where each time when a plane was running they thought, the way they described the plane was it was a big birds but then, where the bottom, they could see a thing coming down and they said what's this bird throwing out.
Then when the bomb was going down and my grandmum would run over my mum and slip over her because she was small and they would, my grandmother described it that it was a very, the thing that they have never seen and that was something different, the came out to see that was something that they have never experienced, so they thought it was the big birds that flying over them but at the same time the bomb was thrown and it was destroying the place and they could run and it was very scared and my mum said that experience where they had a peaceful time it was destroyed and every families were all over the place when my grandmum took my mum and went into, but mum said very little thing that was a very, very scary, scaring thing in their life and that's how she told me very little about the war story.
[VS]: Just that story.
[NE]: It was in Oro Bay and the coastal people starting experiencing the big ships coming in and that's all she told me.
[VS]: So when your grandmother was diving to protect your mother and running with her children and you said your mother was the youngest.
[NE]: The youngest one.
[VS]: There were how many brothers and sisters?
[NE]: She had, they had a sister, she is the third sister, she had two bigger sisters and a big, two big brothers and she was the last born so there were three girls and two boys.
[VS]: Where was your grandfather at the time?
[NE]: My grandfather was with them but they all ran and they went all different ways so mum only mentioned about my grandmum with them.
[VS]: Do you know more about what happened to your mother or to your grandparents later in the war after that first bombing?
[NE]: First bombing they went into a mountain where they thought that they would go into a cave where they can stay and then when it was finished the moved back to their own place, she didn't tell me where they went but that's where she stopped.
[VS]: And what was the name of their place?
[NE]: The village is Natatu and they went up to, up the mountain that's what they said but.
[VS]: In Oro Bay.
[NE]: In Oro Bay,
[VS]: So from their place? And ran away from the planes?
[NE]: Away from the planes, her village is most based on the coast where the seashore went up into the.
[VS]: Nester is there anything else that you would like to share today?
[NE]: But my mum told me this is the bad side of it, most men they were running after the girls where my mum she knew that my grandmum was so protective over those two, my big aunties, they were young and so pretty but she said that most, even in the fighting they were going for the girls.
[VS]: The soldiers?
[NE]: Soldiers yeah and I think it's she described like she said negroes, which I don't know what negroes they're from but big huge people were there so my grandmum has to be very protective over the two girls especially my mum's big sisters. I was told that.
[VS]: Thank you Nester for sharing your story. It must have been incredibly difficult for your grandmother?
[NE]: I think so, it's just so difficult, mum said my mum, your grandmum would make sure that those big girls were safely guarded. That's what she said. She didn't more worry about my mum but she was, the two big daughters.
[VS]: Did your grandfather go away at any point in the war?
[NE]: My grandfather, she didn't mention that about my grandfather but they all ran and but then later they came back.
[VS]: They came back to their place.
[NE]: To their place. I think my mum wouldn't describe it and even she never told us this, the experience was so bad for them so but she only mentioned about the sisters and they thought that it was something new for them.
[VS]: Thank you.
[NE]: You're welcome.

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“Nester Isoroembo Ewada - Oral History interview recorded on 14 May 2017 at Port Moresby, National Capital District, PNG,” Voices from the War, accessed May 30, 2024,