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Sisters from Papua New Guinea say they share everything, including hopes to make changes in the Pacific

Photo of Adriannah and Fidelish Metta smiling looking at each other wearing their black graduation gowns and caps.

From childhood, mission calls and now college graduation, Adriannah Metta and her sister, Fidelish Metta, have experienced all of life’s big moments side by side. Now, the two shared their plans for the future are motivated by the words of their grandfather who raised them.

Humble beginnings 

Adriannah Metta, a senior majoring in anthropology, Pacific Island studies and intercultural peacebuilding, and Fidelish Metta, a senior majoring in Pacific Island studies, described growing up in Papua New Guinea with their grandfather who was a positive influence on them.

“He was our role model,” Adriannah Metta said. Describing her grandfather as patient and kind, she said even though their family had little financially, her grandfather did his best to provide for them.

Adriannah Metta said every morning he made sure they had breakfast and enough bus fare to get to school. “He provided for us regardless of our situation. He didn’t show we were struggling.”

Fidelish Metta said their grandfather taught them at a young age basic English and math. She said, “We had a little home school inside of our house, so he was pretty much my teacher.”

As a civil engineer, their grandfather worked as a mechanic for the Papua New Guinea Defence Force, Fidelish Metta explained. Because of this, she said he always pushed them to get an education. “He was a big believer in [education] so when we were growing up, he imparted that upon us.”

Adriannah Metta said she was close to her grandfather and said he instilled within her a love and passion for learning. She said he would remind them how important it was for a woman to have an education and not to rely on a husband to provide. She said he encouraged her to be independent and to work hard.

When the time came to decide what university to go to, Adrianna Metta said attending BYU–Hawaii had been a dream of hers since she was 14 years old. She said she would write in her journal about one day coming to BYUH.

“I heard from people about BYUH and the blessings they received from attending.” So, she said she thought to herself, “Why not me?”

Fidelish Metta said the decision to come to BYUH did not come as quickly. She said, “I did not plan to go to school here. I planned to attend university back home.”

However, after her mission, Fidelish Metta said a strong feeling came over her. “I know it was the Spirit telling me I needed to go to university in Hawaii. I followed the prompting and I came here.”

Besties for life 

When describing her relationship with her sister, Adriannah Metta said, “We are really close. We’re like besties.”

Adriannah Metta said the two have been through difficult times but said those difficulties brought them closer together. “It shaped our relationship to what it is today. We support each other regardless.”

Fidelish Metta said her sister is naturally smart and expressed admiration for her constant encouragement. She said, “She was like my strength. Many times, I wanted to give up. Addie was the one to tell me to be strong, and it’s worth it for our future and our family.”

The sisters said they share everything together. The two attended the same schools growing up, graduated high school together and now plan to graduate from BYUH together in December.

On July 15, 2013 the sisters said they both received their mission calls to the Sydney North Australia Mission and together, left for the MTC on Aug. 13, 2014.

As the older sister, Adriannah Metta said she is extremely protective of her sister. “I try as much as I can to make sure she’s okay. I don’t like people hurting her in any way. If they do, I’m the first to tackle and block,” she joked.

As the two got older, Adriannah Metta said she had to learn to let go and allow her sister to make her own choices. She said college has helped them both become more independent.

Passion for the Pacific

Aside from a triple major in anthropology, Pacific Island studies, and intercultural peacebuilding, Adriannah Metta said she is also certified in emergency management and peace education.

Coming from Papua New Guinea where there are hundreds of tribes and over 800 languages, Adriannah Metta said conflict is a major issue. Learning about the Pacific and being an islander herself, she said she set out to learn how to mediate and help people in conflict reach an understanding.

“I just wanted to be a change. So, I decided I would take on Pacific Island studies and peacebuilding.” She said her studies at BYUH perfectly aligned with her love for people, culture and history.

She said, “I love culture. I love working with people with different ethnicities. Diversity inspires me, so [school] was easy for me because I loved what I was learning in those majors.”

Fidelish Metta expressed gratitude for the Pacific Island studies program and said she felt fortunate to have been a part of it.

“As a Pacific Islander, I’m grateful this program was created and centered around helping Pacific Island students like us. My passion grew when I started the introduction classes. I learned I could use my skills and knowledge to help my own people back home.”

After graduation, Fidelish Metta said she plans to start her internship at the Church’s self-reliance offices in Papua New Guinea. She said her goal is to specialize in project management and help the people in her home country learn English and gain access to basic self-reliance education.

Adriannah Metta said she is excited to explore her options after graduation and has applied to multiple grad schools and an internship.

Symbols of light 

Adriannah and Fidelish Metta’s aunt, Solange Metta, said of her nieces, “My heart is full of joy to God for making dreams and great successes out of simple people. Their story is a symbol of light to my tribe, clan and village.

“Their story is an example to many village girls in my province of Gulf to follow and is a standard to many in Papua New Guinea that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is ready to help educate and empower its people in its various Church programs.”

Solange Metta described her nieces as humble and hardworking and said she taught them to never be afraid to learn, inspire and to always remember their roots. “I am a proud aunt and mother,” she continued.

In her native tongue of Toaripi, Solange Metta said, “Arave haikakare koru merisese,” which translates to, “My loving star girls.”

Kathryn Omae, a senior from Papua New Guinea majoring in political science, said, “I cannot express the gratitude I have for [Adriannah and Fidelish Metta] ever since I was in my youth.”

Omae said the two sisters were great examples to her. She described Fidelish Metta as charitable and kind and described Adriannah Metta as determined and strong. The combination of the two personalities, Omae said, was a “lightning” example to her and inspired her to pursue her college education.

“I love them and am forever grateful to them for helping shape me as a young kid before and after my mission.”

Adriannah Metta said the thing she will miss most after graduation is the aloha spirit specific to Laie. She said, “Everyone here is kind and friendly and they are aware of you as a person.”

When giving advice to her fellow classmates, Adriannah Metta said, “Come what may and love it.” This phrase, she said, is a mantra she constantly tries to live by.

Fidelish Metta said it is important to always give credit to Heavenly Father. She said, “Prioritize putting the Lord first, and then He will help you succeed in achieving your educational goals.”