By ISAAC LIRI
Joe Mack is the man behind the wheels of the tractor with a slasher that ensures the lawns of the National Sports Institute in Goroka are neat and trim.
The Chimbu man in his 50s, based in the Eastern Highlands capital, wakes up every morning and makes his way to work at one of the country’s leading sporting institutes.
That’s his normal routine and he never thought for once about what other places in the world looked like. He’d watched television, read newspapers and magazines but didn’t think he’d get to see such places until his superiors at work revealed to him and his colleagues about their retreat, a trip to the capital of Philippines, Manila.
The news gave him an “electric shock” as he rushed home to tell his family; the household was overwhelmed just to know that the hardworking man behind the tractor at NSI is going for a dream trip overseas, a decent reward indeed.
Mack is one of 30 staff members of the NSI who went to Manilla for a retreat from Nov 28 to Dec 8 organised by the NSI staff through fundraising activities carried out by themselves.
According to NSI director Janet Gimots, the staff members started fundraising activities last year and nothing got in the way as they aimed to make the retreat a rewarding initiative for all staff members considering theyears of tireless efforts at the NSI.
“The staff committee headed by Kylie Martins did an awesome job in planning and implementing fundraising activities which raised over K100,000,” Gimots said.
“The committee must be acknowledged for their tireless efforts in fundraising since 2017. We also acknowledge our PNG Sports Foundation executive director and director Corporate Services for supporting us fulfil this trip of a lifetime for many of our staff.”
As leader of the pack, Gimots believes the retreat encourages team work among the NSI staff as they look to the unknown future as a sporting organisation.
“The trip acknowledged the staff who work so hard and striveto ensure the grounds and facilities are kept up to standard and programmes implemented.
“Many of these staff especially support staff have worked for so many years at NSI and their efforts must be appreciated and acknowledged that is the whole reason behind this trip.”
During the retreat, staff members got to visit shopping malls, went sight-seeing, tookbeach tours, visited flee-markets and of course sporting facilities.
Returning home, many brought back gifts for their loved ones and families. For Mack, it was a wonderful lead-up to the festive season; the timing was perfect.
Now as Mack gears up for another day behind the wheels of the tractor to ensure the grounds are suitable for sporting activities, he is grateful for the opportunity which NSI gave him, to see and experience another country.
Despite the tough tasks he faces every day in his line of work, he can always escape to the Philippines once in a while during his lunch breaks telling himself, I’ve been there, all because I was rewarded for driving this tractor.
The initiative in rewarding employees through such retreats is done by numerous organisations and is not new and many testify that it is truly encouraging and paves way for great results in organisations.
- Isaac Liri is a freelance writer.