By ROSELYN ELLISON
There is only one spot at the Kokopo main market in East New Britain from where young boys sell boiled egg for K1 each. It is owned by Matty Hereman, 27, of Watom Island in Rabaul district. Matty left school at Grade 12 in 2014 at the Malaguna Secondary School in Rabaul. He pursued an electrical course at Don Bosco in Kokopo in 2015 and 2016. After receiving a certificate, he travelled to Lihir in New Ireland to look for work but could not find one. So he returned to Kokopo and decided to start something to earn some money. In 2017, Matty started selling ice water for K1 a bottle. “My family had a vehicle. So I drove it through the streets of Kokopo selling ice water.” His mother ran a small shop in Kenabot Stage Two. A foreigner approached the family to rent the shop. So they leased it as a commercial property for 10 years. “I wanted to start something for myself so I started selling ice water. It was challenging. I reached only Grade 12 and I felt embarrassed when I saw my school mates doing well and furthering their education.”He slowly got over that after convincing himself not to worry about what others thing of him. He is the one responsible for his survival. After his dad, a businessman, died in 2015, Matty gave up alcohol and drugs, dedicating and committing his life to God. In 2018, he joined Association of Local Church and volunteered to be a missionary. In 2019, from the money he collected in selling ice water, he spent K18 to buy a crate of eggs. He opened a savings account with the East New Britain Savings and Loans Society. After saving K1,000, he arranged for a Visa card and passport.
“ I decided to start selling eggs for K1 each. The demand is high now.”
A friend from the Highlands introduced him to the business of selling boiled eggs. They started selling boiled eggs for K1.20 each. But Matty had to leave after he was chosen by the church to attend the World Mission in the Philippines for a month. They gave him a certificate. In 2020, he went to Bougainville and the Solomon Islands to do missionary work. He returned home early this year.
“I decided to start selling eggs again for K1 each. The demand is high now.” He makes around K400 in profit a day now and is enjoying the small thriving business. He plans to expand it if demand continues to grow. Matty has a selling sport in the cooked food section of the market. He employs young boys to go around selling boiled eggs to customers coming to the market to buy fresh farm produce. He has now registered his small business with the Investment Promotion Authority and calls it the Rekona Maito Sales. He is waiting to receive the IPA certificate. He plans to become a successful businessman one day. The boiled egg business is booming and when he saves enough capital, he plans to go into real estate, buying properties around Kokopo. There is also his commitment to the church at the back of his mind. He needs God’s guidance to move forward confidently as a person.