By MICHELLE AUAMOROMORO
NICK Andrew Aika left his home in Harona village, Ihu, Gulf to come and live at the Kaugere settlement in Port Moresby with his relatives in 1999 so he could get a good education.
Aika, the third eldest in a family of six, made the move because he wanted to lift his education results.
His elder brother enrolled him at the Kilakila Primary School to do Grade Eight, and the first problem he faced was his school uniform.
“The one bought for me did not fit me. I was growing and the trousers got tighter as the academic year wore on. But I still had to wear it until I completed Grade Eight.”
In 2000, Nick was selected to do Grade Nine at Kilakila Secondary School.
“During those days we did not have electricity so I used candles or the kerosene lamp to do my studies under the house. At times I had to wait for everyone to sleep before doing my homework.”
That year, his cousin Edmond Kaokao joined him at the school. Edmond lived in the school compound with a brother. So Nick spent after school hours with Edmond in the school compound. The classroom became their home at night from 2000 to 2003.
“We would use the classroom light to do our study and use our books as pillows. We slept on the desk. At dawn, I would go home to Kaugere to take a bath and return in time for lessons.”
Nick hardly had lunch because the little money his mum made from sago marketing was used on his siblings who had also moved to the city.
Nick spent his holidays selling betel nuts to earn money to pay for his school needs.
“Sabama market was for Kerema people so we were some of the regular betel nut sellers there during the festive period.”
He was offered a place at the University of Technology in Lae for a four-year bachelor’s degree programme in land and surveying after Grade 12 in 2003.
“I was in the village when I received the news on my selection to Unitech. Edmondo came to my house and showed me the paper. I was so emotional that I cried. My family were happy to hear the result too.”
His parents started a small trade store business to complement the money his mother was earning from sago. His elder sister got married and the bride price helped too.
He graduated in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree with merit.
“ This would be a dedication to him for his love, care, commitment and dedication in providing everything for me.”
In 2009, Aika got his first job at DAC Real Estate as a trainee property valuer. Six months later, he joined LJ Hooker Real Estate as a marketing and sales officer. In June 2011 he joined InterOil Exploration and Production and worked there until 2015.
Then he was out of work for almost nine months.
Total Exploration and Production later gave him one in the Papua LNG project as a community liaison officer.
“Finding a decent job was never easy. So many companies I had applied to for a job – almost 100-plus applications.”
Nick, 37, is married with three children.
“With the help of my wife I was able to build a three-bedroom town house for my children.”
He dedicates his achievement to his late dad who passed away on May 26 last year.
“This would be dedicated to him for his love, care, commitment and dedication in providing everything for me.”
He brought his mother to Port Moresby after his dad died.
Cousin Edmond is now a police officer. And they will always remember those nights of sacrifice in the classroom studying.
Nick keeps to his motto: Strive hard to achieve your goals and objectives in life.