Living out of caneware

National, Normal

The National, Thursday 29th December 2011

KOIBI Gao Poiyor is a man determined to earn an income while enjoying his village life.
He uses local knowledge and resources to make cane furniture and is today making a name for himself.
Poiyor, 41, from Dona village, Morobe patrol post, initiated a cane furniture project he called Bush Craft Home Tech in 1995 using resources in the forest to make a living.
Poiyor makes cane chairs, tables, stools, beds, cupboards, laundry baskets and coffee trays at an affordable
price on request.
Not stopping there, his business has grown from strength to strength as he now ventures into sharpening and carving wood into bowls, forks, spoons, traditional clubs and other items.
He explored building graters for coconut, cassava, kaukau, banana and sago, then modified them by installing a bicycle paddle at the base of the equipment.
“It’s a matter of extracting resources in our forest and making a living out from it,” he said.
“When I need money for my children’s school fees, kerosene, medical fees, boat fares, clothes, sugar or tea, I go back to cane and create things out from it.
“It requires specific tools with one’s skills to make it happen overnight,” Poiyor said.
Poiyor ended his education in grade six at Zare Aingse community school in 1984.
Without attending any technical training, he has taught himself to make a living using cane and wood.
Today, he is the sole specialist in such craft making from cane in the Waria Valley.
He said some of his paints and glue were created from the bark of trees and leaves to add flavour to his delicate finishing touches.
“Without much exposure of my product and skills to the outside world, the owner of Lae Travelers Inn, Fred Wak, at 2-Mile bought some of my products in 2007,” he said.
He said his cane chairs sold for K80, stools for K35, beds for K70, cupboards for K60, laundry baskets for K45 and trays for K25.
That, he said, was the cheapest around and that he often made items upon request.