By JOEL HAMARI
ROBIN Momi is a self-taught carpenter.
He learnt the trade while working with people skilled in carpentry.
Robin’s parents are from Dawa in Kaintiba, in the interior of Gulf close to the border with Morobe.
Robin, 29, did not complete his primary school education. He left school in 2005 while in Grade Five at the Wild Life Primary School in Port Moresby.
He was 14 then. He succumbed to peer pressure and quickly got involved in substance abuse, living on the street with his peers committing petty crimes.
Looking back now, they were three years of his life wasted on useless and unproductive – and illegal – activities. He did not care about the future and where his life was heading to then.
Things changed in 2008 when a friend offered him a job as a handyman with a company. He accepted the offer.
Around that time too, he met his future wife Lillie.
Robin worked for the company for eight months. He quit for personal reason. So back to the street and the aimless life he had been trying to get out of.
In 2010, his friend came to the rescue again, arranging a job for Robin with a construction firm. He worked alongside a carpenter every day.
His interest in carpentry began to grow. He watched his supervisor and began to learn the tricks of the trade.
When he felt comfortable with his carpentry skills, he ventured out alone to build homes – mostly standard ones for his clients.
Later that year, he was offered a contract by a construction firm to become a construction supervisor. His carpentry skill was finally being recognised. His team built homes around Port Moresby. He supervised a team of carpenters, electricians, brick-layers, welders and handymen building houses around Port Moresby.
It was a challenge but he enjoyed thoroughly what he was doing.
His wife gave birth to their first child in 2013. He was glad that he was earning enough to support his family.
In 2015, he resigned from the company and decided to build homes by himself, after noticing the demand in the building and construction market.
He knew the basics and techniques of what must be done, according to what the home owner wants, the cost, and the materials to order.
“ My carpentry skill is a gift from God. My achievement is a blessing from God.”
“It is like a jigsaw puzzle. You have to fit everything in piece by piece to complete your task. The greatest challenge is getting your measurements right and knowing how and when to use the right tool.”
Over the past five years, Robin had built 10 standard (four-bedroom to 12-bedroom homes).
Right now, he is working on extending and repairing a house at Taurama Valley in Port Moresby.
Robin has two children – seven-year-old Neville and six-month-old Wendy. They live at the ATS settlement in Moresby North-East.
He wants to provide them a good life, a good education and a stable family for their upbringing. The last thing he wants is for them to follow the path he foolishly chose as a teenager.
“My carpentry skill is a gift from God. My achievement is a blessing from God.”
Robin is grateful that God had helped him to change his ways and choose a better path. It’s never too late to change.