By BENJAMIN KOITAKA
CHIMBU girl Edwick Kaupa had a double celebration last Christmas – the birth of Jesus and her recent graduation at the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Port Moresby.
Edwick, who wants to become a teacher, graduated with a Bachelor in Technical Education majoring in computing technology and minoring in English.
She hails from the Kuble-Meru clan of the Kawaleku tribe from Boromil village in the Gumine district.
“I guess not all my best friends know about my story because I’m a bit embarrassed to tell them,” she said.
“I made a choice not to tell them because I don’t want them to think I’m pathetic.
“I decided to keep it a secret but a very important person in my life encourages me to write something about myself.”
Edwick comes from a strict Christian family and the eldest in her family from her dad’s first wife.
“I never really had a very good childhood experience. I went through some very difficult times as a result of my daddy having so many wives apart from my mum.”
She had a difficult relationship with her dad’s other wives.
“(They) hated me so much and I really don’t know why.”
Edwick did not let her mother know.
“I was too young to understand how she felt but I guess I know now,” she explained.
“She was hurt so much but she never gave up because she has a very big heart for my siblings and me.
“She endured everything she encountered.”
Kaupa attended the Boromil Primary School in 1997 in grade one, until she reached Grade Five.
She then attended Kujip Primary School in Jiwaka up to grade eight in 2004.
“Unfortunately, I was not accepted for grade nine.”
In 2015, she returned to Boromil to repeat grade eight and passed.
She attended the Kundiawa Lutheran Day High School where she completed grade 10.
She was excited when told she would continue her secondary education at the Rosary Secondary School.
“I was just 17 when I completed my grade 12 in 2009.”
But she felt let down when she could not further her education at a tertiary institution.
“I let my parents down because I was not accepted. I had dreamt to become a teacher and that dream was shattered.”
She spent 2010 and 2011 gardening, joining youths in the Tilapia farming project.
Her break came in 2014 when her father and stepmother suggested that she undertook the entry test at Don Bosco Technical Institute (now the Don Bosco Technical College in Chimbu).
“Before I started the test, I prayed to God that it is my chance to prove my worth to my dad and step-mum because they thought of me as dumb and useless.”
Principal Sister Leena John told her that if she received a letter in the post, it would mean she was accepted.
The letter arrived on Oct 24.
“I was overcome with emotion. I knew I had another chance to prove to those who thought I was a loser, a failure, useless and a ples meri (village woman).”
While at Kumgi, she read so much about the Don Bosco Technical Institute and wanted to further her studies there.
Rector Father Albert Lenon told her it was possible but she should first do well in her studies at Kumgi.
“I found out that DBTI offered a Bachelor’s degree in technical teaching.
“I focused on my goal of attending DBTI by doing my studies extremely well. I showed my results to Fr Albert. I drafted a letter to the principal of DBTI Fr Ariel Macatangay.”
Fr Albert, while waiting for his flight to go to the Philippines, called her up and said she had been accepted at Don Bosco.
“Even though it was on self-sponsor, being accepted was melodious to my ears. It was my first time to leave my family especially my dad and mum but I had to be strong for I was so determined to study.”
Edwick came to Port Moresby with her dad to enrol.
She graduated with a Diploma in Computing Technology in 2015. The dream of pursuing a degree was so strong she resisted the temptation of looking for a job with the diploma qualification she had.
In 2016, she was accepted and graduated in 2018.
“It took me five years but it was fine with me.”
Edwick feels blessed somehow to have come through that long tough road.
“I had lots of experiences about life. If you have a nice ride all through your life, you wouldn’t understand what I’m talking about,” she said.
“My life was full of surprises in the past 22 years. And I’m looking forward to more in coming years.”
By BENJAMIN KOITAKA