Pastor Owen sells artifacts to support family

People

By AILEEN KWARAGU
LIFE is tough when raising a family in a busy metropolis such as Port Moresby – even for pastors such as Owen Nande.
He is one those selling handicraft and traditional souvenirs to locals and tourists during the weekly Pom City Markets.
“I sit and market my products to assist me and my family because life in the city is very hard.”
Pastor Owen came to Port Moresby in 2004 from his village in Ialibu, Southern Highlands. He is a pastor with the Papua New Guinea Bible Missionary Church. He does missionary work in the city.
Owen, 51, is married to Lucy Nande. They have six children. He needs the income to put food on the table for his family and support his children’s education.
He only reached Grade Three at the Kindal Community School in Ialibu, Southern Highlands. That is why he is trying his best to provide his children a better education than what he had experienced. In 1989, Owen was selected by the church to study Theology at the Bible Missionary Institute in Southern Highlands. He completed that and travelled around conducting missionary work.

“ I sit and market my products to assist me and my family because life in the city is very hard.”

He continued his pastoral work when he arrived in Port Moresby, spreading the gospel to all and sundry.
He also had an interest in handicraft. When he realised that life in the big city was not as rosy as he thought it would be, Owen turned his natural talent in art and craft into a money-generating venture.
He carves and makes most of what he sells today. He sells his items to sustain his family and for education expenses.
He buys some of the artifact he sells from the coast and the highlands then resells them to customers.
“I collect items when I travel around the country. I actually buy them and then I come into the city and resell them to my customers.”

Owen Nande explaining an artifact to a client.

He sells artifacts such as emblems, kundu, spears and different carvings. When he started, he was based outside the Holiday Inn where tourists and visitors were likely to be seen.
“Initially, I used to sit outside the Holiday Inn gate and display my items. Many customers there were foreigners.”
Owen was approached by the Central Floriculture Association to join it. It creates a venue for vendors of artifacts, handicraft, paintings and bilum.
Through the association, Owen was able to display his items during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit in Port Moresby in November, 2018. It gave him the privilege to sell items to tourists and foreigners in the city.
Last week, he was among the vendors plying their trade at the National Museum and Art Gallery in Waigani.
“I am so grateful to the organisers of this market. But it will be better if we are stationed at one place only so our customers know where to find us every Saturday.”
Pastors such as Owen have families too to feed and support. It is a responsibility they hate to neglect because it is against the very message they preach.

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