Bilums keep Anchela’s family going


UPNG Journalism student
MOTHERS can sacrifice anything without complaining so that at the end of the day their children and husbands have something to eat, drink or sleep on.
That holds true for Anchela Timothy, 45, who hails from Pangia in Southern Highlands.
She has been selling bilums for more than 18 years in Port Moresby for the sake of her family.
Timothy never attended school while growing up. When she saw that life was really hard in the village, she decided to migrate to the city to do something.
So on March 17, 2001, she came to Moresby to live with relatives at Morata.
When she moved to the city, she hoped to live an easier life compared to her relatives in the village but a life of hardships also awaited her. Because of hardships she also didn’t want to depend too much on her relatives.
One day, the thought of weaving bilums came into her mind so she decided to weave and sell her wares because that was the only means she believed possible to earn an honest income to survive in the city.
Today, Timothy is married and has four children whom she supports financially because her husband is unemployed.
“I don’t want to go to my brothers and sisters’ houses to look for food and money because I feel bad doing that. Therefore I weave my own bilums and sell them so at least my family and I can have something to eat each day.”
A very hard working mother, Timothy has spent days in the hot sun selling bilums and weaving new ones at the same time to keep her business going.
She said the money earned was used for bus fare for herself and her children to go to school, to buy food for the family, uniforms for her children and also help contribute in church to help the needy.

“ I help people who are unfortunate and also help the church in doing God’s work.”

“I help people who are unfortunate and also help the church in doing God’s work.”
Timothy says she is always busy on government pay weeks, especially on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
“Not all the bilums are mine, some are my friends and sisters’ bilums which they gave me to sell for them,” says Timothy.
“All of us who sit here and sell our bilums plus other ladies’ bilums. When we make a sale, we retain K10 as our commission and give the rest to the owner of the bilum.”
It takes Timothy three weeks to weave a good sized bilum which costs K100; anything bigger takes two months and sells for K150.
“The rest of the smaller bilums take one week each to make.”
She is looking forward to sell more of her colourful and beautiful bilums in the years ahead.