After a 23-foot wall of water crashed onto the shores of Aitape, Papua New Guinea, in July killing nearly 3,000 people, California Lutheran University student Samson Komati Yuimb created waves of his own.
Yuimb, a native of Papua New Guinea, took to the streets to raise funds to help the 10,000 homeless survivors.
"Through the Internet I found out immediately after it happened," said Yuimb, a senior political science major who kept a close eye on news reports and waited anxiously to find out if his family in Mount Hagen, an inland town, survived.
Three days later, with a colorful Papua New Guinea flag in one hand, a 6-foot banner in the other and a string of mourning beads around his neck, Yuimb set out from campus on a trek through the streets of Thousand Oaks to open a bank account for donations. On the first day, sitting on the corner of a busy intersection in the hot sun, Yuimb collected only $24 but attracted a lot of media attention.
"I had never done anything like this before, and I never expected it to be so well-received," said Yuimb. After two months, he had collected more than $7,000, which was wired to the Roman Catholic archdiocese administrator in Aitape to be distributed to the homeless and injured tsunami victims.
After receiving a call from Patrick Kapuoti, a student at the University of Papua New Guinea who had lost seven family members including his parents, Yuimb also decided to set up a one-year scholarship for Patrick to complete his senior year of college.
Yuimb, who completed his first two years of school at Waldorf College, Forest City, Iowa, is the recipient of a Lutheran Leaders scholarship, which provides tuition and expenses for Lutheran students from developing countries who have the potential of becoming leaders in their country and church. An active member of Mulga Lutheran Church in Mount Hagen, the 25-year-old has aspirations of becoming a political leader in Papua New Guinea.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers