Story and picture by ZACHERY PER
HARDWORKING businessman Obed Pupune has become the first Goroka local to invest millions of kina in a shopping and accommodation complex on his traditional land.
He has named his business Asukenato, his nickname, which means cricket (insect) in his local Faniufa dialect of Goroka, Eastern Highlands.
“Asukenato is a very hardworking insect, it does not care about how long it takes, it does not need help from anyone but the creature believes in reaching the light (ultimate aim) at the end of the long journey of perseverance and hard work,” Pupune said.
“Just study the characteristics of the creature and you will believe that it struggles through to find success in life.”
Pupune said his business began at the southern fringe of Goroka town near the Goroka airport in Faniufa village.
Once at the dawn of a new day, his great grandfather Nini Kome came across a cricket and after watching the insect for a long while the old man shouted asukenato!
The cricket was burrowing through the earth; it was busy shaking off dust on its wings getting ready to dry itself in the early morning sun when the old man saw it.
According to Pupune, his great grandfather said that as he watched the insect finally made it to the light after working very hard.
“Our Seigu, Kama, Asariufa, Okiyufa and even Komiufa tribesmen in Goroka district like to call me Asukenato or Obed Pupune which are both acceptable and they mean the same thing,” he said.
“After four to five generations, in 1989, I adopted the principles of the cricket to work very hard starting a small canteen with K200. I got three roofing iron sheets from a burnt down house belonging to one of my elder brothers,” Pupune said.
He first built the small canteen at Faniufa, the current site of his ‘Asukenato All In One Centre.’ The walls were made of pitpit.
Pupune, a dedicated Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Christian believes what the Word of God has to say about hard work in order to sustain our livelihoods. One such scripture is Proverbs 12:11 which says “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.”
“Through God, everything is possible and nothing is hard,” Pupune said.
He toiled for 29 years to achieve his business dreams and this week he partially opened the K6.5 million Asukenato All-In-One Centre for business.
The top floor of the new centre has 12 high covenant self-contained suites each with a balcony offering a bird’s eye view of the busy Faniufa section of the Okuk Highway and the Goroka airport runway.
The bottom floor has a food outlet, supermarket, wholesale, hardware and a loading bay for trucks. Besides these the usual Asukenato service station and mini-mart continue to operate.
The food bar and supermarket were the first to open for trade this week while the wholesale and hardware sections will be opened soon.
Pupune employed 52 people to work at the service station and the newly opened business complex.
Many people who witnessed the partial opening of the new business were all full of praise for Obed Pupune who has invested in on the property on his own customary land, unlike others who sell their land and become landless themselves.
Story and picture by ZACHERY PER