By PAUL MINGA
A WHILE back I came across someone I would not be ashamed to call a “model citizen”, someone who is happy with life and wants others to be too.
Chief Inspector Elvis Kolip of the Royal PNG Constabulary believes that in order for the country to progress and prosper, it needs good people, people who always live peaceful lives, work hard, obey the law and respect each other, feel content with everything they have and live honest lives.
Kolip simply possess an admirable character which he has shared with me while residing at 5-Mile ridge. I happen to be one of his neighbours and therefore I dug out valuable experiences from him.
“I have made it my business to chat with nearly every neighbour in the afternoons, at night over a cup of coffee, at bus stops, in from of shopping malls, under the shade at parks of while roaming the streets of Port Moresby over the last few years,” Kolip says.
At 44, Kolip believes he is in the middle of his short life on earth and does not like to waste any moment of his precious gift. He wants to make use of every opportunity that comes by but with caution. He does not like to get rich quick, do anything that would stain his good reputation since childhood or do anything that would deny him eternal salvation as he is a strong Christian from the Church of the Nazarene.
Kolip was born on Dec 13, 1975 in a village called Tup, Middle Jimi, Jiwaka, just a couple of after PNG gained independence. He is about as old as Papua New Guinea. He went to primary school in the 1980s.
Yea, a tough little fellow then who would travel about 8km daily to the nearest community school through typical Jimi rough bush tracks.
His consistency and faithfulness regardless of difficulties paid off when he was one of the five students from Karap Community School selected for high schools in the then Western Highlands in 1990. Kolip was selected to do Grade 7 at Fatima, a boys’ high school then, near Banz in today’s Jiwaka Province.
However, while at a new school environment, young Kolip missed his caring parents and relatives and that was when he had a tropical ulcer on one of his legs and he could not study properly. At the closing of the year Kolip was ranked second last. That was a poor performance but thanks to his illiterate parents he was able to continue his schooling. If if they had known, they might have been reluctant to pay his Grade 8 school fee and he would have remained in the village.
In the following year he came back hungrier for education and that resulted in him improving in most of the subjects and at the end of 1993 he “scraped through” to one of the best national high schools in the country, Sogeri.
The year 1994 was a memorable for Kolip as that was when he first flew on Air Niugini F28 and saw the bright lights of Port Moresby with much excitement and joy.
Having seen the city of Port Moresby had immensely dictated his future career. He saw the Jacksons Airport tarmac, Gateway Hotel and many hotels and tall buildings in down town Moresby and the Parliament Building. He finally put pen to paper on his career choice in civil engineering or architecture and was chosen for the latter at the University of Technology in Lae in 1996.
After completing his degree course in Building in the year 2000, he was left to face yet another demon and that was to secure formal employment. Kolip roamed the streets of Lae, Goroka, Mt Hagen and Wabag between 2001-5 searching for any suitable job but to no avail.
At times, he had to sleep at service station pavements, or at a snooker house, or anywhere that he could rest for the night. Sometimes friends would take him to their houses, but being a shy guy, he would not live with them permanently but had to move on and feed on any available food friends would offer him knowing that he could not buy food himself.
In the beginning of 2006, while back at his home, Karap, a European Union project officer met him and engaged him as a casual in assisting in infrastructure improvement programme in Jimi primary and community schools. In 2007, he joined Niugini Builders, a local building construction company as a trainee engineer. In 2008 he was sent to work in a housing project in Middle Fly District of Western.
A year later he was transferred to Port Moresby to work as an engineer/quantity surveyor in a much bigger project – the Law faculty building at the University of PNG. He was also a quantity surveyor for Unitech’s 100-man dormitories construction.
At the end of 2013 Kolip left Niugini Builders to pursue a career in the public service. He currently works as a project manager in the Lands and Buildings section of the Royal PNG Constabulary.
Career-wise he says, he does not have any ambition for anything beyond where he is now. “I think I am already in the middle of my life and my interest in education is starting to wane but with the experiences I have, I want to be a resourceful person and to pass my experience to younger generations.”
Kolip got married late and has three young children to who would carry on his legacy.
“I have a faithful wife, Regina, who takes care of all our children. I want to set a good foundation for my children to live happy lives and therefore I take them to church every Sunday and teach them Bible verses and good moral principles.
“I do not have much in terms of possessions but I am satisfied with the little I have and most importantly my small family and therefore I am content with the way I live.”
- Paul Minga is a freelance writer.