By ELIAS LARI
AT 71, and after nearly 50 years serving as teacher, Chimbu man Anton Waim was speechless when the Government acknowledged his long service with a medal.
He received a Queens Diamond Jubilee Commemorative Medal from Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae last month when he visited Kurumul in Jiwaka.
Anton was recognised for his public service not only as a teacher but also as a policeman.
“This is a very important day in my life because I have been serving the government as an educator. And finally my efforts have been recognised at the highest level. I have taught many people some of whom have become successful men and women in the country.”
Anton is from Kerowaghi in Chimbu. He has 10 children.
He started teaching in 1973 after graduating from the Holy Trinity Teachers College in Mt Hagen in 1972.
He was first appointed a headmaster in 1977. He has held that position in schools he served in Chimbu, Western Highlands and Jiwaka.
In 1987, Anton also became a reserve police constable. He helped maintain law and order on top of his teaching job.
He spent most of his career with the people of the Kuli Konda and Kuli Nuporpe clans of Jiwaka as head teacher of Ulya Primary and Peke Primary schools.
“I’m happy to receive this award from the Queen. I urge young teachers starting their careers to not give up but to work hard as they will be recognised one day.”
After visiting his mother’s village years ago in Usino Bundi, Madang, he felt the need to help them. He knew it was not going to be easy as most lived in remote areas.
“ We must work to fulfil our commitment because the future will always pay us back from what we are doing right now.”
“My encouragement to public servants such as teachers, police or health worker is to press on despite facing many challenges. Life is a journey. We have to help each other in our walk towards our destination.”
Anton celebrated his 71st birthday on July 31 with his family who thanked him for his 48 years of service as a teacher. He plans to finally retire this year – at 71.
“We must work to fulfil our commitment because the future will always pay us back for what we are doing right now.”
He has given out about 400 Bibles to students so that they can learn about God and stay close to Him.
He hates to brag about his achievements and leaves it to others to comment on that. But ultimately, he believes that God alone will reward people for what they do.
He believes that God alone sees what a person is doing which people may not see.
Almost half a century of public service is no mean feat.
“I start with God and end with Him.”