A home away from home at Porgera, Enga
STEVEN Daniel sat outside the lodge at Porgera, paying no attention to the chilly June wind slapping against his hair.
He sipped his coffee, taking in the cool morning calm and peace.
This is the first morning he has watched with so much relaxation as guests begin to leave the Mountain Lodge where they have been staying for the week.
Steven is the chef at the lodge. The past few days had been hectic for him, with so many important people he had to prepare meals for.
He loves to cook and try out new recipes for guests. And it gives him great satisfaction when they walk away after a meal happy.
It was two months ago when this important group of people stayed at the lodge, and he had to cook for them. The high-profile government team was led by Prime Minister James Marape.
He sat outside watching as they prepare to leave for Port Moresby after completing what they came to do as regards the reopening of the multi-million kina mine.
No one complained about the meals so Steven knew that they were satisfied with his cooking.
It was so obvious in his smile.
Steven had left his home in Nagovis, Autonomous Region of Bougainville to live with his sister in Enga when he was in Grade Three.
He decided to follow his sister who was married to a man from Laiagam. Their three siblings remained behind in Nagovis.
As for Steven, it was the thrill of traveling on a ship during the repatriation exercise that excited him.
Non-locals in AROB had to return to their provinces following the crisis.
The sister and her husband had a 15-seater bus which they were also taking back to Enga on board the ship.
It took three days and three nights to travel from Buka to Lae. When they reached Lae, they hopped on the bus to take them through the highway all the way to Enga.
His brother in law, a truck driver, later passed away in 2006 at his home in Enga. He and Steven’s sister did not have any children.
Once in Enga, Steven enrolled in schools at Laiagam to complete grades 4 to 10. He then left Enga and went to Lae to look for work. He did odd jobs with different transport companies for four years.
In 2009, he returned to Enga and worked with iPi Catering Limited as a chef. He has served nine years with Ipi.
In 2020, he received a certificate in cookery.
He was serving workers at the Porgera mine before it ceased operation in April last year.
Steven calls Enga home now.
Like his elder sister, Steven is married to a woman from Laiagam. They have five sons and one daughter.
Steven enjoys the cold climate in Enga saying it is similar to his Nagovis home – mountainous and always cold.
The coffee warms him up in the cool Porgera morning, as guests prepare to leave. His job is done – for now. More guests will arrive.