By MELYNE BAROI
It is often said that we can make our decisions but God always has the last say.
That rings true for Dorea Zangai who changed course while planning a career path course as she was preparing to enter university after high school.
Dorea, 28, whose parents are from Eastern Highlands and Western, is the eldest in a family of four.
Her dream as a young girl was to become a pilot. Her parents and family rallied behind her, knowing how determined she was about her goal, as proven in her academic achievements.
Also equally important to Dorea is her Christian faith, especially the principles she was taught in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
When her dad, a prison officer, was transferred to Giligili Prison in Alotau in 2008, Doreah enrolled in Grade Nine at the Hagita Sacred Heart Secondary. She continued through to Grade 12 there.
“My dad was my biggest motivation who always tells me to be competitive in any male-dominated field, to always be a challenge to men.”
Dorea thought about the immense sacrifice her parents had been making for her and her two younger sisters and brother.
She also became aware of how women in general are somewhat treated differently, and will only be recognised through sheer determination and sacrifice.
“So while in Grade Nine, I promised my dad that when I get a job, (I will be called) either Captain Zangai (pilot) or Dr. Zangai (medical doctor). Nothing else.”
In 2012, she entered the Pacific Adventist University to study Science. She thought deeply about her career choice and her faith, especially having to work on the Sabbath (Saturday).
In 2013, she made up her mind to take up medicine at the University of PNG, beginning with a Laboratory Science programme.
“I decided to take up medicine because a pilot will have to work on the Sabbath which I do not support.”
She turned down an offer by Air Niugini to be trained as a pilot.
“I was accepted to begin my pilot training (but) it was to be on Saturdays – my Sabbath days. I was disappointed but it made me more determined to become a doctor instead.”
So Dorea focused her attention on a career in medicine and in 2016, graduated with a Bachelor in Medical Laboratory Science degree.
She then applied for the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) programme in 2017 which she completed in 2021.
“At the time, the requirements for the MBBS programme included a degree. That really suited me.
I realised that God was showing me that this is where I belong and that I had made the right choice.”
She married her partner and had a son in August.
“I had religious principles that I was following. I also had some personal ones too. I told myself that by the time I reach 30, I would have two degrees and a (stable) family.
“All did come to pass. God really showed that if you prove to him that you would choose his will over your own, he will accelerate your achievements.”
Dorea is enjoying her first months of residency training at the Goroko Provincial Hospital, working in the Gynecology and Obstetrics clinic, while she waits for her graduation at the Divine Word University.
She also is taking care of her three siblings at her home – as a show of gratitude to her parents for their endless support and sacrifice throughout her studies.
“My siblings were so patient while my parents focused on my school fees. The two younger girls left school for one whole year to let me complete my studies.
I remain forever grateful and blessed for their love and support.”
Her advice to young women is never be scared of competing in a male-dominated field.
And most of all, look for their true purpose, putting God’s will as a priority always.
Dorea knows that only too well.