eJournal of the Australian Association for the Advancement of Pacific Studies
Issues 1.2 and 2.1, April 2010

CHRISTINE STEWART,
THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY


Jason Lavare was the Port Moresby Area Coordinator for MSM in the Save the Children PNG Poro Sapot Project (PSP). This meant that he was in charge of coordinating the HIV awareness program, the drop-in centre at the Project office in Port Moresby, involved in meeting, reporting, training. Iím still not sure of the full extent of his duties, but I do know he discharged them wonderfully and efficiently. He was young, vibrant, active. The news of his death last January came as an enormous shock.

I first met Jason in 2006 when I started my PhD fieldwork, before he started work at PSP. He was one of my first interlocutors. Short, bright-eyed, an infectious grin, bubbling with stories and opinions and responses to my amateur questions and probes. After the interview, he was so exhilarated (it must have been quite cathartic for him), that he twisted a laplap around his waist, draped some Christmas tinsel around his head, donned his dark glasses, put some music on the CD-player (it was someone elseís house) and started dancing around the floor.

We communicated as well as we could despite frequent computer and email problems at his end, for example:

    How are you…Hello from PNG. Hey thought of you and your beautiful smile last night and thought I might drop in a Line to see how you are going.?? For myself I am fine with work and trying to get things done as usual…
A message like that couldnít help but make me smile!

When the news arrived of Jasonís passing, I, like so many others who had known him, was stunned. One friend wrote:

    he was always so resilient and purposeful and full of life and…always there! Everyone of course truly saddened…both on a personal level but also on a national level. Jason was a very creditable, articulate, motivated advocate for minority groups and the vulnerable. PNG has lost a great person.
Something that still saddens me deeply: I wonder how many people in PNG really do appreciate what has been lost.

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