Young at heart

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madame sogavare greated by community leaders

DESPITE his old age, Joel Sonia says his mind contributes to his ability to live a life that now exceeds 70 years.

In a weekend trip to Savo, Solomon Star has the opportunity to meet up with the 75-year-old man of Mora village, in the southern part of the volcanic island, who is still talkative and have good memories to speak of his pasts.

Sonia is the youngest from the family of six and he is the oldest person of his community with six children and many grandchildren.

All his brothers were deceased except for his two sisters.

Born during the period of the Second World War, Sonia has a lot to share of his childhood memories about the Americans and the Japanese.

He even claimed that the exact location of the ammunitions buried by the Americans on the island are still kept secret in his mind, and will never be shown to anyone.

One admirable thing about this old man is his good health and ability to walk long distances and climb mountains.

Sonia said he was five years old in 1945 when the Japanese surrendered in the war and leave Solomon Islands.

Thus, he had witnessed a lot of things that occurred during the war, by accompanying his father and elder brothers to watch heavy battles occurred around the seas of Savo islands, between warships and jet fighters.

“I was a naked kid, running around when dead bodies of soldiers washed ashore during the war,” he said.

Sonia spoke while busy answering mobile phone as continuous phone calls often interrupts the conversation.

He said when mobile phone was introduce in the country he was one of those first people who owned a mobile, claiming he receive his Motorola phone present, from one of his grandchildren returning from Fiji.

“I bought the sim card for $450.00, from Telekom,” he uttered.

Sonia said despite of his old age, his love for mobile phone is just like a precious diamond to him, which keeps him connected to families and clients, as well as the rest of the world.

He is also one of those license recipients from the province who sell alcohol.

He continues speaking by asking the question whether first-time visitors of Savo ever notice anything about the island, while approaching by boat.

He laughs while responding to his question that coconut trees everywhere around the islands of Savo were produced out of his hands.

The old man said he planted those coconut trees around the island when he was an agriculture officer in 1962, during the colonial government.

Sonia said he and two other agriculture officers from Isabel and Western provinces planted those coconuts around the island, as instructed by their British boss in Honiara.

He said it took him and his two colleagues the whole year to complete the job, but what they earn from their work was£4 pound for each of them, which is too small compared to thousands of dollars abused by officers today.

“Now people of Savo continue to enjoy earnings from copra for generations, but they owe me and my two friends for what they received,” Sonia claimed.

He said agriculture officers today are not like them in their days because they actually went out to the field and carryout the job.

“Officers nowadays only stay indoors and keep tapping the keyboard in front of their computers the whole day, until the year ends.”

In his final remarks, Sonia said he is able to live up to this Christmas and New Year celebration,because of the good health and fresh environment on the island.

“Many people might not able to reach the age of 60 nowadays but the secret is to eat local garden food and keep yourself interact with the new generations to keep you in the circle of life, and avoid isolation,” he said.

He concluded that the more you mingle with young people the more you forget death and realize that you were the oldest surviving person in the community.

Among the children are some of the orphans
Among the children are some of the orphans
madame sogavare deliever her speech
madame sogavare deliever her speech