By KELVIN JOE
WHEN Roney Kien failed to reach Grade 10 at the Kiunga High School in 1992, he did not give up hope.
In fact, he would later become a bank manager and go on to run his own company in his home district of Middle Fly, Western, with his wife Lucy and seven children by his side.
Roney attended the Drimdemasuk Community School from 1983 to 1988 then onto Kiunga High School from 1989 to 1992.
While in Grade Seven in 1989, his parents passed away. His mum died in April and dad in November.
He had to work to support his education.
“I joined the Seismic Exploration Company as an assistant cook. That’s how I got myself into Grade Eight.”
He could not continue to Grade 10 in 1992 and got a job with the North Fly rubber processing factory until 1999.
He worked two shifts a day from 7am to 5pm and 5pm to midnight.
The company managing director noticed his hard work and commitment and after three months promoted him to be trainee factory supervisor.
The company also sponsored Roney to attend the Popondetta Agriculture College in 1995.
“My boss was so kind that he decided to offer me a two-year sponsorship.”
Roney also managed to pass Grade 10 at Kiunga High School.
PNG Microfinance Ltd offered him a job as a loans officer in Kiunga in 2000. He later became the bank’s branch manager before he was transferred to Daru to open a branch there in 2004.
In 2007, he was posted to Popondetta. He worked for six months before resigning and returning home.
In September that year, he started a sawmilling business at Drimgas Village.
“A sawmill set was donated by the late Martin Tabi to Waiti Kwani, for the Drimgas business group to operate a mill.”
“ I look forward to extending my business and with continuous support from the North Fly district development authority, we will connect roads in the district.”
He moved the sawmill to Kiunga and set it up close to the Fly River so that villagers can move logs along the river to the mill.
In 2011, he faced a slump in business and asked his family to help him. But when no help was forthcoming, Roney looked up to heaven and asked God to assist him.
“It took me two and half hours to pray to God in the night when everything was quiet.”
He managed to get a loan from his former employer PNG Microfinance Ltd and things began to look up again.
He sold timber and in two weeks made K60,000.
He bought a 30hp Lucas Mill from Farmset in Lae.
Roney all along had plans for his family.
“My first goal was to build a decent house, secure enough land and ensure my children get quality education. I built two homes for my family. Two of my children were attending universities.”
In 2018, his company Green Hope Investment Ltd also ventured into road construction and earth moving. It is currently working on the 25-kilometer road from Smotu to Rampsite in North Fly.
He wants to build more roads in the district as air and water transport are expensive.
“I want my people to see real development and accessed basic services. There is no road from the western side of North Fly to the main Kiunga-Hiabak highway.”
He hopes to work with MP James Donald in buildings roads.
“I look forward to extending my business and with continuous support from the North Fly district development authority, we will connect roads in the district.”
Roney has come a long way from that stage in his life when he not only lost his parents but also was forced to leave school. But thankfully he never lost hope.