By ELIAS LARI
YOU will not see Olik Paraka sitting idly by waiting for handouts. As the father of eight children he can’t afford to.
Today, after those early years of foraging for stuff, Paraka, a Kopi tribesman living at Mt Kuta a few kilometres out of Mt Hagen, runs his own secondhand tyre business and makes enough money to get by with his family.
Paraka believes in hard work, not only because it helps make ends meet, but also because he believes it is what God wants, like it says in the Bible: “By the sweat of your brow you will eat food . . .” (Genesis 3:19).
Paraka started small, selling one, two or three secondhand tyres, and saving what he could.
When he had a handful of loyal customers, he registered Hagen Kofi Secondhand Tyre Distributers and ran a proper small business.
Paraka buys used tyres and rims, he does some maintenance and cleaning, and resells them for a small profit.
Does he make much money?
“I sometimes earn K100 to K200 a day and that keeps me going,” he said.
“Nowadays nothing is free. We need to work and make a living.
“This is what I do to provide for my daily needs and I see that in return, at least, I have money in my pocket.”
Something must be working right for Paraka because he is now looking at applying for a bank loan to allow him to expand the business.
“Now I have come to realise that nothing is impossible,” he said. “It depends only on how people plan their lives.
“We need to start planning and looking at any opportunity that may come.”
Paraka said too many people today, especially young people, don’t work and sit around waiting for handouts and freebies when they can be chasing their dreams by looking for opportunities.
“I want to challenge those who are doing nothing to start somewhere and wait for the outcomes,” he said.
“He urged those people who are doing nothing to try out something that may help in future.
“If we are trying to find an easy life then I believe it is not right we need to fix our mindsets.”
By ELIAS LARI