By FOLKEN WAKO
HEAD gardener Mark Aaron, 52, keeps Government House compound in Konedobu trimmed and beautiful.
“Government House is a very important house in the country and needs to look beautiful, clean and attractive every day to people especially visitors from foreign countries.”
Mark is from Buang in Bulolo, Morobe. He married his wife Manau in 1993. She is from the same locality. Their children are Jerry, Cathy, Parson, Yally and Sabath.
Jerry was born in 1997, a year after Mark started working as a gardener at Government House in Port Moresby. Jerry and Cathy attended Kaugere Primary School up to Grade Eight, are now married and living back in Buang. Parson and Yally are attending school in Hanuabada, Port Moresby. Sabath, six, remains at home.
Mark moved to Port Moresby with his grandfather Su Bel in 1987. Grandfather Bel was the head gardener at Government House at the time.
Teenager Mark worked as a shop assistant before his grandfather brought him in to join his team of gardeners in 1996.
In 2007, Mark took over from his grandfather as head gardener when he retired. He later passed away in 2011.
Now Mark heads the team of gardeners planting and pruning flowers, plants and hedges around the compound.
“As the head gardener, I supervise my workers to beautify the environment, maintain its beauty and remove leaves and rubbish.”
“ Government House is a very important house in the country and needs to look beautiful, clean and attractive every day to people especially visitors from foreign countries.”
Mark maybe working outside the office but he sees his responsibility as equally important as those working inside because visitors will get their first impression of the home of Missy Kwin’s representative in PNG from the cleanliness of the compound and the gardens as they drive in.
He may be not as bright and well-educated as others but Mark loves and enjoys his work. He is able to put food on the table for his family and attend to their other needs.
“I was a gardener from 1996 to 2007 before becoming the head gardener. Looking back, it’s a long and tough journey for me with my level of education. But I am happy that I survived. God did not leave my side and was there for me and my family. He has blessed us abundantly.”
He has five gardeners – Ollo Wai, Samson Waifo, David Eugene, Heni Amoke, and Lee Heting – working under him.
“We look after the flower beds, weed the grass, replant and prune flowers and decorate the house for events, visits and appointments. We ensure everything outside and inside are in order before the visitors arrive.
“I want to thank the five gardeners for their hard work and commitment and hope we will continue our good work to keep the state house attractive and beautiful at all times.”
But all good things must come to an end. Mark plans to retire soon after being in the job for more than two decades.
“As much as I love my job, I am thinking of retiring in two years to go home and spend time with my family. I must go back to my home (Bulolo) while I still have the strength in me to move and work.”