The National, Wednesday October 23rd, 2013
AT the busy Yuai bus stop in Chimbu’s Kundiawa town, leading to Gembogl district, is where most people meet elder Gene Lucas.
Lucas is a coffee grower, buyer and seller, who uses his business to support his community with tangible projects.
Attracting people with his forever smiling face and a nice voice, he reaches out to everyone with a sack of dried coffee beans selling at a kilo for a kina.
Lucas was a young, handsome-looking Kombkukane sub clan member in the Gena Waugla LLG in the Kerowagi District when expatriate Terry Selly first took him under his wings.
At first, Lucas assisted Selly in buying dry coffee beans. Then he was given some money to buy coffee in the districts in Chimbu.
Lucas was given a few thousand kina to buy dried coffee beans and return the company’s money but keep the little interest he had made.
Now in his 60s, Lucas still trades coffee but has bought trucks to help in his coffee business, family and the community.
Lucas uses what he received as profit to construct feeder roads to his village, supports church work and builds houses for his children and family members.
If you meet a Chimbu man or women and ask him or her who Gene Lucas is and they will they tell you that he is a coffee grower and he lives at Kunabau village in Kerowagi.
Today Lucas is engaged voluntarily on different projects – including those that are health related, rural housing scheme, rural electrification, water supply and general law and order in the Kunabau area.
He encouraged young men and young to grow coffee and described coffee as the green gold and life will become better for them if they plant coffee.
Lucas thanked Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and the Government for taking agriculture, livestock and fisheries as one of its priority areas in development in this country.
Lucas supports the National Government’s Vision 2050 and Development Principles and urged his people to grow more coffee and support the government in implementing the small and medium enterprise (SME) rollout programme towards creating a meaningful life in the community.