By ELIAS LARI
Carpentry and brick laying are traditionaly a man’s job but when a woman puts her hand and mind to such work, the results can be just as good or even better.
Cathy Noglai, 30, from Jiwaka, is arguably the only female in the Highlands region to become a brick layer and carpenter and has an impressive CV to go with it.
Noglai, who hails from the Dangi tribe in the North Waghi electorate, has recently completed a K60,000 cemetery or resting place for a paramount chief. On May 28, she was asked by the leaders of Tamal village in Tambul, Western Highlands, to build a cemetery for their chief Sir Koi Taka Manu.
Because many knew her of her experience, Noglai was asked to build the structure in the shape of the Parliament House, complete with four bedrooms.
She said she did not need a design for the building but was directed by how the family members of late Sir Koi wanted it to be.
The structure has four bedrooms inside for his four sons. “That was a first of its kind for a cemetery to have four bedrooms inside,” she said.
Noglai said the fully-furnished and tiled burial chamber was completed on Sept 5 and she returned home to Jiwaka.
Noglai graduated as a carpenter from Madang Technical College in 2000.
She said she chose the carpentry course because she was interested in it back in primary school.
She is specialised in pre-fabricated buildings which can take three days to assemble. She has worked with companies like Fletcher Morobe, Raibro and other construction firms.
“I was also involved in the building of the Alotau Bank South Pacific branch, Mt Hagen Works head office, Bird of Paradise Hotel in Goroka and other contracts in Popendetta.”
In 2011 and 2012, she built four health centres in the Mul-Baiyer electorate of Western Highlands, which were funded by former MP Sani Rambi. She urged women not to look down on themselves but face challenges head on, adding that many did not know their potential.
“I want to challenge women that they can become somebody if they take steps and move ahead,” she said.
“We can do something important and gain respect if we women come to realise our potential.”
Nogali said her next step would be to start a company in carpentry, brick laying and other construction work.
By ELIAS LARI