My Tribal God Son

23 Mar

This is a story that spans over forty two years and crosses the barriers of race colour and creed.
This is a story of two young boys ,both soldiers , one in the First Pacific Island Regiment in Papua New Guinea , the other in the Australian Army Medical Corp.
The year being 1969 , both young boys aged 19.
The location being the highlands of Papua New Guinea,I was the Australian boy.
In the year1968-1969 an outbreak of influenza was raging through the highlands of Papua.
Myself and thirty other medics from the Australian Army were sent into the highlands of Papua on a Humanitarian mission to go through the highland villages and inoculate the locals in each village against the devastating Influenza raging through the highlands.
My patrol consisted of six members , one being my interpreter by the name of Elijah Leklek
We operated out of a place in the highlands called Menyamya and walked the highlands over many days to reach each village,these villages were isolated and still emerging from the cannibal ways of their culture.
As a young soldier in an alien culture I was overwhelmed and learnt to adapt and learn quickly.
My interpreter Elijah and I developed a very close rapport ,apart from interpreting each dialect in each village he took the time to teach me basic Pidgin English.
When our time was up and I had to return to Australia we had one last day in Port Moresby together.
We tried to enter the Port Moresby Returned Services League club but were denied ,whites only was the rule , so Elijah and I gave that club the arse with much profanity, this was in 1969 , Elijah being a member of their defence force,racism in his own country being practised by white culture.
Well after that rebuttal we decided to hire a car and go sightseeing ,the car we got was an old Volkswagen , a leftover from the second world war.
Well if you can imagine two young boys , one black , one white , speaking Pidgin English and both with a glint in their eyes driving the Moresby peninsula , exploring the markets and enjoying life as two boys  can only do , It was a beautiful experience that I have cherished over the years.
Elijah and I developed a relationship that crossed all barriers.
Now where does the story end having crossed 42 years ?
Elijah and I lost contact after I returned to Australia,he pursued his life in the Papua Army
and I pursued mine in the Australian Army.
We developed a special bond in New Guinea.
Elijah promised that his first born son would be named after me, Ian Felton Leklek.
Now 42 years later I have been trying to track down my old mate from the highland villages of New Guinea. To no avail.
I searched the internet and found nothing,then a week ago I found a person by the name Ian Felton Leklek had graduated from the Divine Word University in Madang New Guinea.
He had graduated in Leadership in business management.
I contacted the university and found him.
After 42 years
He is my Papua New Guinea tribal Godson.
Sadly my mate Elijah his father passed away 2 years ago.
My tribal Godson and his mother still remember the Australian soldier who gave him his name.
The family live in a village in the highlands of Papua.
His mother recalls the time and the family now have four members.
I will try to return one day and apart from being a member of the family , being accepted into my God sons tribe.
A friendship forged over 42 years by two boys, no this is not the end of my story.
The story must end the day I meet and embrace my highland native God son.
I have enclosed the letter from my Tribal God son.
I will admit I shed tears through the loss of my friend Elijah,may he rest in peace in his beloved highland village.

My name is YES IAN FELTON LEKLEK and I am ELIJAH LEKLEK’s son who retired from the Army in 1988 at the Rank of SGT.I was born in POM in 1973 and I am now 37 yr s old. My mum & dad always told me that I got my name from an Australian Soldier who was very close to my dad and that was all I know. Unfortunately, dad passed away 2 years ago (2009) after a long battle with illness and was laid to rest in his KOKO Village in the mountain ranges of Unggai in the Eastern Highlands of PNG.

Mum is still alive and currently resides in the village. There are 4 of us

in the family of Elijah Leklek.



Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


15 responses to “My Tribal God Son

  1. Androgoth

    March 31, 2011 at 07:00

    This is one of those real life stories that one can really enjoy, it has a nostalgic edge, a story of two young men that overlooked the nonsense of race, creed and the ridiculousness of racism, not only that, but started a friendship that has lasted forty two years, and counting…

    A wonderful collection of memories and now something to look forward to in the meeting of your Highland Native Godson…

    This is a truly exceptional story that has a very sweet nature to it, and so I thank you Aussie Ian for sharing this most personal part of your life with us…

    Be very well my friend.



  2. Artswebshow

    March 29, 2011 at 07:00

    Wow, what a story.
    It must have felt exciting to know about this god son.
    It insane how just by passing someone elses path we can make a difference to their lives


  3. rannycalderon

    March 29, 2011 at 07:00

    So incredible..a very touching life story with a long lost friend and yet you found him. Long lost friend but have lived in your heart.It’s a pity that you haven’t manage to see your pal earlier.
    Thanks for sharing us your story.xo~connie


  4. jennyozzy

    March 28, 2011 at 07:00

    thats a really touching story i hope you do go and see him you should write about that and keep the story in a scroll its lovely have a great week aussie wgw pics on my site xxjen


  5. chicasl10

    March 27, 2011 at 07:00

    Ian This is goosebumps for me.
    wet eyes Its like in a book But its reality my God
    that u find ur friends a gods gift
    u have to go there u Have to Ian
    That his dad died is painfull.
    When u saw ur name Ian felton leklek That moment Crazy no?
    How do u describe that feeling Ian.
    The internet connected u again.
    Im so happy for u and for ur buddy’s family
    For them it will be special to..See the person where dad was so proud of
    Be well and God bless u


  6. Aiq

    March 25, 2011 at 07:00

    Very interesting and touching story.


  7. rosemarymonteith

    March 25, 2011 at 07:00

    What a lovely story, I am sure you were delighted at finding him.


  8. sudiste1359

    March 25, 2011 at 07:00

    hi dear, great story. it’s look like mine with JOHN,my australian teacher at Saigon, he was my “second father”

    thanks for coming into my WP, take care, hugs


  9. Monica

    March 24, 2011 at 07:00

    Ian, this is simply gorgeous. What a fascinating and joyous story.


  10. prenin

    March 24, 2011 at 07:00

    You did a good thing Ian – and in our world that’s SPECIAL!!!

    Hope you get to visit and see them real soon!!!

    God Bless my friend!!!



  11. Cat.

    March 24, 2011 at 07:00

    … tears in my eyes as well, Ian … wow, what a bitter sweet story … (I’m just thinking, with the world’s climate going so crazy lately) … hope you can make it out there soon to meet your godson. Also hope you are being safe in your part of the country with the new news of flodding? I’m flodded too here in AB … flodded by snow that is … Love, cat.


  12. suemacarthur

    March 23, 2011 at 07:00

    This is truly a wonderful story, Im sorry you never got to meet your old friend again, but i hope with all my heart, you get to meet the young men who carry’s your name, and when you do we what to see lots of pic,
    Beautiful story my friend,


  13. Lady Jude

    March 23, 2011 at 07:00

    So sad to hear of your loss Ian, He must of thought the world of you to name his son after you… Hope you do go on to meet your godson Ian… Good to see you blogging again Ian. I’m having a wee break from study.
    Hugs Lady Jude


  14. penpusherpen

    March 23, 2011 at 07:00

    Ah Ian, tears are pouring down my cheeks. They started with the ‘no blacks’ rule hitting hard, and are still dripping off my chin whist typing this. Whilst I am so sorry you couldn’t catch up with your old compadre whilst he was still alive, It’s marvellous that you did manage to find his son, your godson and the remaining family. {{{hugs}}} to you my friend and many thanks for sharing this wonderful and truly heartwarming story. xPenx


  15. Sue Dreamwalker

    March 23, 2011 at 07:00

    Hi Ian…. You had me in tears also.. WOW!… I’m so pleased you found your God Son.. And if he hadnt have named his Son after you, you may never have found him.. I was sad to learn your friend has passed away.. But I am Certain he is smiling down on you and the efforts you have been to in tracing his where-abouts.
    And his smile will grow wider still along with your own when that day arrives when you can embrace each other with open arms..

    Here-in is a Story that All of humanity could take heed from.. For the Human Spirit is that which is held within our hearts, that which we give to each other unconditionally without judgments without prejudices, or separation into the labels some of our so called societies would have placed upon us.. But to take into our hearts that which we find within each other, forging friendships, and bonds with the person whose spirit is within them.. Living together, working together, risking life and limb together, The Trust and friendship of two young men who saw within each other their true Spirit!.. That which many forget, Who lived from the Heart!….. Your Friend Elijah is smiling for you never left his heart, as he never left yours..



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