Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tembari’s volleyball games: They came, they watched and did not create trouble

The National color of PNG (upper right) flutters in the wind while two games – played by men and women’s teams – are in progress on Saturday, the second day of Tembari’s 36th Independence Anniversary Volleyball Tournament at Tembari’s compound at ATS Oro settlement at 7 Mile outside of Port Moresby.

Rex Nichoi, chairman of ATS Oro Community, gestures as he praised his people for displaying exemplary discipline and cooperation during the two day volleyball tournament. (More Pictures after story.)

A Friend of Tembari Children

A FIRST in the village, Tembari’s hit volleyball tournament will now become a yearly Independence Week event.

The competition drew 18 men and women’s teams from across the community to vie for the much-coveted Tembari trophies, whose games were watched by hundreds of fans rooting for their respective teams.

There had never been a community-wide sports competition like this at ATS Oro community, a settlement occupied by settlers from Oro and Central provinces at 7 Mile outside of Port Moresby.
And so, when Penny Sagembo, Tembari’s Co-Founder and Co-President, came up with the idea of initiating the games, there was excitement from all quarters of the community of 6,000 people.

Being a CBO (community-based organization duly registered with Investment Promotion Authority), one of Tembari’s community-oriented aspirations is to draw people’s participation.

“Our people are sports-minded, so I have assumed that they will support this first-time ever volleyball event by joining in the competition to celebrate our 36th Independence anniversary,” Penny said, referring to PNG’s Independence Day on Friday, September 16.

“And the highest goal of this event is to instill discipline among the people, by seeing to it that the games are held without untoward incident like fighting and drunkenness,” she continued.

In the past, trouble would surely break out in the middle of a big gathering at the village, Penny noted.

True enough, the eight districts covered by the ATS Oro Community Association fielded 18 teams -- 10 for men and eight for women -- a clear sign that this initiative had gained support from the community.

Tembari fielded its own team of men and women, whose jersey uniforms were sponsored by Malaysian expatriate Chew Pang Heng, executive director of resource developer Vanimo Jaya Ltd.

One individual who was all praises for his people was Rex Nichoi, chairman of the ATS Oro Community Association, because “they have shown remarkable discipline and co-operation”.

“Nobody came drunk … there was no fighting, and every one enjoyed the games,” said Nichoi.

“This is our first experience to see a big event like this where nobody created trouble,” Nichoi said of the people who came to watch the games sponsored by day care centre Tembari Children’s Care (TCC).

Held at the Tembari compound, the two-day competition aimed to forge discipline and co-operation from the local people.

Hayward Sagembo, Tembari president, said one of Tembari’s agenda in the community was “to develop a sense of oneness among our people and the volleyball games had been an effective means to achieve it”.

“Everybody came to watch,” Sagembo said, noting that the teams that played were cheered on by their respective fans and supporters, making the games more exciting.

Penny said: “During the games, the people themselves handled the security concern and prevented those who tried to come drunk … if there was a fight brewing, the people immediately dealt with it and resolve the problem …”

EM TV, a local network, sent a crew to cover the final games, an indication that the Tembari sports event, although a modest village affair, was worth all the coverage for a national broadcast.As a background to the games preparation, Penny asked all of us to seek donors / sponsors for the trophies. Again, we all contacted potential donors. Rishabh and myself emailed to various people seeking donors of trophies, volleyball nets and volleyballs. It was not long before RH Foundation, the charity arm of RH (PNG) Group, responded, saying it will shoulder the cost of all trophies to be awarded

Paint company AzkoNobel also responded and wanted to pay for all the trophies. Informed that RH Foundation had already taken them, AzkoNobel settled for the volleyball nets and balls.

Knowing that such events are prone to petty problems caused by unruly people, Rishabh suggested why don’t we keep an award for the “Best District” – the one whose people were not involved in troubles or mischief during the games?”

We again explored and my three friends from HiTRON, a TV cable provider based in Port Moresby, namely Tony, Lourdes and Jocelyn, came to our rescue and shouldered the cost of the “Best District” award.

On other side, Penny met with the district leaders and enjoined them to instill discipline among their people if they wanted the event to succeed. And that the “most-behaved” district will get the “Best District” award.
So, this was the incentive that had kept all the districts on its toes – keeping their respective members well-disciplined, well-behaved till the games finally closed today, Sunday, September 18.

Hopefully, this much-needed discipline stays on – for good.

The launching of the Tembari volleyball events on Independence Day was ushered in by spectacles of sing-sing (cultural dances and songs) from Oro and Central provinces.

Witnessed by about 2,000 settlement people, Tembari’s first foray into a community-wide sports event was already an indication that similar activities in future would get the same involvement from the community.

As always, the three-day community frenzy would not be possible – a big success at that -- without the co-operation of the people.

Community chairman Rex Nichoi really worked hard going around the community and enjoining the people to simply behave their best and enjoy the games.

Our sponsors – RH Foundation, AzkoNobel, the troika of Tony, Loudes and Jocelyn of HiTron – played a big part in bringing this to reality. We really can’t thank them enough.

(The elimination and the final round games for men and women will continue on Saturday, September 24. Five men's teams will vie for the final rounds. Presentation of awards will follow shortly. Tembari's women's team is now assured of a final round slot, while the men's team has failed to score in any round as opposition proved too much for them to handle.)

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A fiercely-fought game on Saturday. At least 18 teams – 10 for men and eight for women – competed in the tournament.

The much-coveted shields and trophies on display during the game.

A women’s game is in progress (right) as seen from behind the trophies.

The Tembari men’s team, which failed to win any game.

The women’s team, led by Penny Sage-embo, Tembari founder (left standing), had advanced into the finals shortly after this picture was taken.

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