After seven tough years, Faith gets her degree

Faith Raitano at the University of Technology graduation in Lae, Morobe. – Picture supplied

IT was not an easy journey for village girl Faith Raitano who grew up in Paireanda near Waluanda village, Kuare, Kagua in Southern Highlands.
Faith is the youngest and only daughter in a family of three. Her parents were teaching at the Kuare Primary School when she was born.
Her dad got promoted to senior school inspector after completing a course at the University of Goroka. Her mum continued teaching in the village.
Faith and her two brothers would move with their father to places where he was posted. When he was transferred to Mt Hagen, their mother would visit every fortnight.
“Mom continued as a primary school teacher into grades 7 and 8 in 2008, the same year dad was promoted to education adviser in Southern Highlands.”
When he was posted to Mendi in 2010, Faith and her two elder brothers were left to look after themselves in Mt Hagen. Faith was in Grade Nine at the Mt Hagen Park Secondary School.
When their mother passed away in 2011, the three relied solely on their dad.
“I was going through rough times and I started missing the love, care and warmth of my dear mother. I started drinking and going out with friends.
“My father sent me to Tari Secondary School to cut me off from my friends.”
In 2014, she attended Pangia Secondary while staying with her mother’s sister Polly. In 2015, she joined the University of Technology (Unitech) to take up a property valuation and management course.”
Faith thanks her aunts Diane, Rachel, Nancy and Polly for supporting her.
She however ended up in a relationship which got her pregnant in 2016. His parents looked after the child.

Loyal with her mother Faith at the University of Technology graduation in Lae, Morobe.-Nationalpic by Malikai Balandu

Her partner was abusive.
“One night, he bashed me until I ran out of breath with eyes all shut, my hair was falling off my head with dead blood and he threw me in a vehicle and locked me in the vehicle for almost three weeks.”
Faith later discovered that she was pregnant again. She withdrew from school, went to her village where she gave birth.
“It was really hard and painful as the father of my child was having affairs with other women. But it did not discourage me from moving forward.”
Faith wanted to continue her studies but lacked financial support. She decided to come to Port Moresby where she met another man who took her to his family.
“I was having a better life. We were happy and I gave him a baby girl, Loyal. In 2020, I insisted on going back to school. He sent me to do my third and fourth year. But he also started playing around behind my back.”
She left him.
So after seven years, she finally got her Bachelor in Property Valuation and Management degree.
“I would like to help orphans, give them a home and education. Help the needy fight against domestic violence.”
Her advice to girls is to never give up.
“No one should make judgments. Forgiving, letting go and moving forward is the only way out when there’s no hope. God has a plan for all of us. So never give up. Never say die.”

Forester Nakikus gets a degree

Nakikus Gwaso with daughter Delainea after his graduation at Unitech in Lae. – Picture Supplied.

NAKIKUS Gwaso’s dream of becoming a forester began in 2018.
After completing secondary school at Grace Memorial, he joined the forestry department in Bulolo, Morobe.
He had a child Delainea at university and promised himself not to fail her.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry degree at the University of Technology.
“Dad was a librarian at Unitech’s forestry campus in Bulolo where I grew up with my two sisters. I used to see students from all over the country coming to study there. So I decided to be a forester too.”
“Forestry is a part of me. In my childhood days we used to play around in the campus. We follow forestry students into the bush. It was my life.”
He dedicates the degree to his parents who had supported him in his education.
He thought they would miss his graduation when they had to fly to Port Moresby for his father to have an eye operation.’
But fortunately they made it back in time to watch him receive his degree.
“Mum was taking dad to Pom for the eye operation. I was sad because I would graduate without them. But I was thankful that they flew in the day before my graduation.”
Nakikus is currently working with the Lae Builders Company.