Sandman Station surviving in big city


YOU can be excused if you mistake his name for a job title, but Station Director, 30, is now used to seeing the raised eyebrows, wry smiles and surprised looks when people hear it for the first time.
“My name shocks everyone when they first hear it. But that’s my birth name.”
Station, from Yambu village in Wabag, Enga, left school in Grade Six because he was not getting the “support” he needed.
“I did not have a proper education. I left school because I could not support myself as I was living on my own.”
So to earn a living, he began collecting sand from the drains around Gordon in Port Moresby, selling bags of sand for K25 each. He stations himself with his bags of sand under the line of trees opposite the Gordon police station.
Station left his Yambu village in 2002 for Port Moresby in search of a better life, and to get away from the tribal fights and sorcery-related issues in his village.
He stayed with relatives for some time, which he realised was different from being brought up by one’s own parents.
“So I decide to live on my own. I joined the boys in the street which I call home.”
Station was 23 when he enrolled in Grade Three at the Wardstrip Primary School in Port Moresby.
“Because of my age, many people stare at me when I walk to school with my class mates who are smaller than me. I was 23 doing Grade Three. But to me it did not matter because my aim was to learn how to read and write. That’s all. People make fun of me but I accept it.”
His aim was to get at least a Grade Eight certificate and be able to read and write, but it didn’t work out the way he wanted, mainly because of the lack of family support.
“So in Grade Six, I told my teacher that I was leaving as I could not cater for my needs. The teacher felt sad for me.”
He joined the group of boys involved in cleaning the areas around Gordon.
“When I left school, I became connected to the street boys. We became brothers, sharing food, money, clothes. I learned to survive in the city. Gordon is my hideout. I hang out with the boys, selling stuff given to us by Chinese businessmen. This is life for me.”
Station, after noticing the amount of sand in the drains around Gordon, decided to collect it into 25kg bags, charging K25 a bag.
“I left the boys and started to work on my own. It’s beside the road which is easy for me. The sand business has been helping me big time, my main source of income. I now make money every day.”
Station has his regular customers who he sometimes give discounts to.
“To me, K25 is enough. The sand is free. All I have to do is to collect the sand and fill it in bags. To those who want sand, I am (stationed) in Gordon. I give discount where possible.”
Station is happy that he has a steady and reliable source of income to support him in the big bustling city.
In a world where only the fittest will survive, Station has successfully adjusted to a new environment.
“The income I get I use to buy food and clothes. So I am happy.”