By MICHELLE AUAMOROMORO
FROM her experience of being unemployed for three years after graduating from the University of PNG in 2003, Lonnie Hames Naura had learnt that “one gets a degree and makes a living, not to get a degree and look for jobs”.
Lonnie, 40, is from Bangus village in Ambunti, East Sepik. She had graduated with a degree majoring in political science and finding a job was hard.
“Nothing much has changed these days. It’s the same old routine where new graduates decorate their CVs with colorful words and drop them at the offices of potential employers. They buy newspapers to see the Vacancy columns. Most of the jobs require experience which they don’t have. The wait can be long and challenging.”
Like many university graduates, Lonnie believed that she had to work for money, look after the family, buy a car and a house, live life, retire and die.
“I wish I knew what I later found out in 2004, that you get a degree and make a living, not look for jobs.”
During the three years of unemployment, and living in Port Moresby settlements, she did casual work for the National Research Institute and Marie Stopes PNG. It exposed her to the challenges of city life.
“ I do my talks and motivational workshop based around the idea that anything you imagine and think about all the time will appear before you.”
In 2007, a friend was offered a teaching job at the Don Bosco Technical School but could not take it up because she already was working elsewhere. She recommended to the principal to consider Lonnie.
“Miraculously, I ended up teaching at Don Bosco – a job I didn’t apply for, nor qualified for and not even interviewed for.”
Looking back, it was the turning point in her life, a divine intervention.
“Whatever is meant for you will come finding you. Don’t stress yourself looking for it. Have faith and believe in yourself. The rest will fall into its place.”
The teaching job which had fallen on her lap also broadened her skills through in-service training.
“I was also encouraged by the principal Fr Peter Baquero to get a teaching qualification. So in 2011 and 2012, I enrolled at the Divine Word University and got a post-graduate diploma in teaching.”
In 2013 and 2014, Lonnie made two holiday trips to New Zealand to visit her sister studying there. Her outlook changed, after seeing the big world out there. She felt the urge to take up a teaching job overseas.
“I found out on the internet that I could register with the Queensland College of Teachers, a body similar to PNG Teaching Service Commission. It was a long process that needed patience and money. It took the whole of 2014.
“The last paper to be submitted was the English Language Test. I was not able to sit for it in Port Moresby. So I gave up the whole idea and forgot all about it.”
She left teaching at the end of 2014. She was a single mum without a job. She joined roadside vendors to survive.
But at the end of 2015, things began to change for the better.
“I found love again. I was introduced to a wonderful man from PNG who resides in Queensland, Australia. We connected very well and I moved down to Brisbane in February 2016.”
In Brisbane, she quickly visited the Queensland College of Teachers. They still had all her documents. So she re-started her registration and also sat for the English test.
She started as a Grade 9 and 10 teacher at the Arethusa College. Today, she still lives in Brisbane and employed as a high school teacher and motivational speaker.
She is an advocate of the Law of Attraction.
“It is so powerful and it literally worked in my situation. Today I am a great advocator of the concept. I do my talks and motivational workshop based around the idea that anything you imagine and think about all the time will appear before you.”