By KELVIN JOE
H AROLD Mek Kape has just turned 28 in June but everyone calls him by his nickname Ape (Father in Chimbu language) because he has been helping so many of them.
“I know how to survive with minimum resources throughout my life. So after completing my education and getting employed, I always help people around me in whatever way I can.”
Harold’s parents are from Gumini and Kerowagi districts in Chimbu. His dad has passed away while his mum lives in the village.
Harold was born on June 27, 1992 at the Port Moresby General Hospital. His family was living in the capital city where his father was employed as a cook. He is the second youngest in a family of six.
His mother took the children back to Chimbu in 1998 for their education.
Harold completed grades one to eight at the Miunde Primary School from 1999 to 2006. He attended the Kerowagi Secondary School from 2007 to 2010. He was the overall dux in the School of Humanities and Social Science in Grade 12.
He was selected to pursue a degree in Business Management majoring in Strategic Management at the University of PNG in 2011. He graduated in 2015 and got a job with the Motor Vehicle Insurance Limited.
He is today meeting the needs not only of his family and extended family members in Chimbu but also some young people who lack the capacity to survive in Port Moresby. It includes more than 20 who he provides shelter and food for in Port Moresby. He also provides bus fares for students attending tertiary institutions.
He has been supporting unemployed young people on the streets and those back in the village since he got a job four years ago.
Harold was brought up in a village where his family struggled to make ends meet daily. He and his siblings therefore spent most of their time in gardening to provide them food. He understands well what that struggle feels like.
“Living in the village was very challenging because the treatment you receive from others can hurt at times. The situation and experience I went through motivated me to reach my goals, strengthened me to today open up, treat and help everyone equally.”
He learnt not to feel let down in negative situations or when people treated him badly.
“If you are brave and stand up to all negative situations and challenges, you can easily bend the tip of the tallest tree to the ground because then nothing is impossible.”
Harold believes that life is a journey so when people around him are struggling, he has to support them to achieve their goals too.
Harold is yet to find a partner for life but right now he is busy looking after those who call him Ape because of the huge responsibility he has to help them.
His advice to young people is not to dwell too much on the past but to look positively to the future and move forward to achieve goals.
Harold himself has set his next goal – a master’s degree. Then he will be referred to as not only Ape but also Dr Harold Mek Kape PhD. He knows it is not impossible.
By KELVIN JOE