The commitment that led to Coral Sea Cable Repeater ‘R1219’

Blog write-up by Suzanne Moli Orudiana

Out there in the deep blue ocean, with it’s location pointed by the red pointer in the first picture, lies repeater “R1219″. Repeater “R1219” has been named “Suzanne Moli Orudiana”. I dedicate this repeater to my Dad, Mr. Reuben Moli, and Father-in law, Fr. Peter Noel Orudiana. Without their support, I would not have been able to complete my studies in Computer Science in the late 1990s.

This is dedicated to my Dad for digging deep into his pocket to send me back to school, when I nearly gave up studies and returned home mid-semester and the dedication to my Father-in law is for not having any second thoughts to immediately saying yes to his son (my husband), that his family would take care of our baby boy to enable us to continue with our studies.

A cable map of the route from Sydney to PNG and Solomon Islands

There are 42 repeaters on that route. 21 are named after PNG citizens and the other 21, named after Solomon Islanders. Repeaters assist in regenerating optical signals where signals are weak to enable transmission along the fiber optic link.

A repeater along the submarine cable network system.

I would like to take this opportunity to heartily thank the person who nominated me, someone whom I have never met in person, but I believe, knew me through attending the events hosted by Information Technology Society Solomon Islands (ITSSI) and Women In IT Solomon Islands (WITSI). Thank you for the recognition and thank you for your heart, also to all those Angels who provided information about me to my nominator, to enter into the Repeater Dedication Competition in 2019.

I would also like to thank everyone whose paths I have crossed through work, studies and to those who share the same vision, mission and objectives to achieve what we aim to achieve. This achievement is not only mine but represents all your input, support and contributions as well.

My family has always been very supportive throughout my journey in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Industry, starting from when I was offered a Scholarship to study Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at UNITECH in Lae, PNG.

This was evident during my second year of studies at UNITECH in 1998 where I had my first born child in Lae, PNG, while studying. My husband that time was in his third year studying Civil Engineering and taking care of our little one, made us miss a number of classes therefore my husband had to inform his father that we could not cope with taking care of our child, while studying. My husband’s dad immediately informed him that his family would take care of our baby in the Solomon Islands (SI)

We then started sorting out travelling documents through the University Student Services. It took so long for the travelling documents to be ready, that I took the bold step of traveling with my baby without his travelling documents, from Lae to Port Moresby (POM). As you might have guessed, we got stranded in POM. At that time, we had no mobile phones to enable instant communication so my husband and our family had no idea that I was stranded in POM with our baby. They only knew that I never boarded the flight from POM to Honiara but had no clue if we were safe in Port Moresby or not.  All this while our families had thought that I had already got the travelling documents.

The Air New Guinea staff, especially one beautiful and kind hearted soul from PNG, the POM SI students and SI residents, there at that time were so helpful. Through communication from Air New Guinea office, to UPNG SI Students, a home was arranged for us to stay, while Emma Garo, a Solomon Islands law student at UPNG at that time, open heartedly offered to help out and assisted in fast-tracking the travelling documents, through her many visits to the Immigration office. That time, Solomon Islands still did not have a High Commissions office in Port Moresby. We were so relieved that we finally got the travelling documents and I am forever be indebted to those who helped me through my stranded weeks in POM.

That beautiful Air New Guinea staff that was very helpful. I regret not remembering her name.
Standing in white dress with my baby and Emma Garo, is the kind hearted Solomon lady who offered her home in POM.

As soon as we got to our final destination in Malaita, Solomon Islands, my family especially my dad, quickly sorted out my travelling expenses to get back to UNITECH immediately. My heartfelt thanks to late Agnes Neuwa, a Fijian lady with her husband late Noel Neuwa from Solomon Islands (May their beautiful souls rest in peace). They coordinated with my in-laws for my swift travelling through Honiara from PNG to Malaita and from Malaita to PNG. The close relationship between the Neuwa and Orudiana family is through friendship.

I got back to school in the middle of Semester, and I was so fortunate that the head of Mathematics and Computer Science that time, late Professor Ted Phythian (May his beautiful soul rest in peace), and the lecturers gave me new timeframes to complete my backlog of studies through recreating tests and assignments which I’ve missed, and at the same time to catch-up with the current workload of projects, assignments and tests before our end of Semester exams. This was Computer Science in the 1990s when it was very new to us Solomon Islanders and definitely it was not an easy ride.

This was also my first knowledge of being aware of; If you have undoubted Faith and believe in yourself, one can overcome circumstances and can still reach their goals or what they aim to achieve through Faith, determination and drive no matter what situation one goes through. I finally graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science after completion of my studies in 2000.

Working in the ICT Industry for now 19 years, here in Solomon Islands, I have no regrets for going through the experiences that I went through and I thank the Lord above for being in the midst of all my challenges and to my supportive family, dear husband and children for being there, all throughout. Not forgetting, everyone whom have shown and given support throughout my journey. There are too many that I could not name all of them, but I thank all of them from deep within my heart.

Suzanne is a founding member of Information Technology Society Solomon Islands(ITSSI) and Women in IT Solomon Islands(WITSI).

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