By LORRAINE JIMAL
SAKI Nupiri appreciates what little he has and makes use of resources available to him to earn a living in the capital city.
He is among the thousands of people trying to make a living in busy and expensive Port Moresby, still reeling from the impact of the economic downturn as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some who lost their jobs are just trying to keep their heads above water. Those with children to send to school next week, are desperately trying to find money to buy uniforms, stationeries and provide bus fares for their children. Saki, 38, from Mendi in Southern Highlands, sells fruits at the Waigani market.
“Where I come from, the future is dull. So I thought of other ways to make a living and started my own business.”
Saki was born on April 4, 1983 in a family of four sisters and three brothers. His parents Tundo Nupiri and Lina Nupiri are subsistence farmers.
He began his schooling at the Tulum Primary School in Mendi.
“At that time, education in the remote areas was very poor. Sometimes we had no teachers, and the opportunity to learn was very limited.”
Saki saw how hard his parents were working to support the family and tried his best to complete Grade 12 at the Mongol Secondary School in Southern Highlands in 2008.
“ I love selling fruits. I am able to make money. Many people love fruits.”
He did but unfortunately failed to secure a place in a tertiary institution. So he spent some time in the village helping his parents to raise money for him to enroll in a private institution.
In 2009, he undertook a three-year diploma in primary teaching course at a teachers college. He completed the course but then found out that the institution was not recognised by the Government. Another major let-down.
“I completed the three years but the school was not recognized. So I had to stay home for another year.”
Saki came to live with relatives at Morata in Port Moresby and started looking around for something to do to survive.
He decided to try his hand in business. But first he needed capital. So he started selling fruits such as guava and peanuts that he harvested from his garden.
He managed to save K1,000 and started selling fruits on the street. From what he earned, he bought apples and other fruits from supermarkets to resell. He set up a table at the Waigani Market.
He starts at 6am and finishes around 5pm every day.
He makes around K200 a day depending on customer demand.
“Waigani is good. I have a lot of customers because it’s central. Many workers, settlement people and others love to come here since the produce in Waigani are good and with the prices are affordable as well.
“I love selling fruits. I am able to make money. Many people love fruits.”
Today he is able to pay his rent, water, power and medical bills, and transport to take fruits to the market, buy goods wholesale especially apples and oranges. He has money to meet his personal needs and food. He saves whatever he can for emergency purposes.
“City life is for people with money.”
Saki is getting by and plans to slowly build up his small business. He is satisfied with doing business in the city although everything is so costly. British naturalist Charles Darwin termed it as “the survival of the fittest”. Saki, and others like him in the capital city, are doing their best to be fit enough to survive.