By LORRAINE JIMAL
F IRST Constable Nancy Apa wants to show women that they can be as good, and achieve the same standards, as men.
“If the men can do 50 pushups (during police training), I can do the same too. There is no difference between men and women.”
Nancy, 31, from Kambu village in the Kerowagi district of Chimbu, is the second eldest in a family of six girls and a boy. She was born on July 1, 1990 to Apa Waiye and Elly Apa who are subsistence farmers.
She wanted to be a nurse but things did not turn out right for her. So she joined the police force as a recruit in 2011.
“From a civilian background, going into a disciplined force was new. I was not ready and did not expect it to happen that fast.”
Nancy thought long and hard about what she was about to do before entering the Bomana police training college.
She thought about news of police brutality and what a career in the constabulary would mean for her. She was nervous and afraid.
“I was afraid as I got into the police vehicle bound for the police training college. I was told by the officers that as soon as we entered the main gate, we should leave our civilian life behind.”
It was not as easy as she expected. Some of the things she could do outside were banned there.
She spent six months at the Bomana Training College with other recruits where her conduct, attitude and performance were closely and consistently monitored.
In the end, Nancy came out with flying colours, receiving the top award in physical training.
She was appointed a guidance officer in 2012, monitoring and assisting new recruits, and submitting reports on them to her superiors.
She wanted to impress and assist especially female recruits.
“I want to be there so they will not
“ We are trained to be leaders. We speak out, we make decisions. If I can do it, anyone else can.”
feel discouraged but motivated to do what they want to do.”
Nancy teaches physical training, organises sports programmes for staff, and helps out on cadet training.
She had attended Kambu Primary School before Kerowagi Secondary for grades 9 to 12.
She was supposed to attend the Lutheran Nursing College in Madang in 2011 but shelved that plan because of financial issues.
Her next option was to become a police officer. And she endured the tough training, where women recruits were expected to achieve the same standards and fitness level as men.
It was an invaluable lesson she learnt at the college: that a woman can achieve what a man can if she puts her mind to it. And there should be mutual respect too.
Her advice to women and girls who feel suppressed or treated as inferior to men in their communities is to hold their heads high.
Her police training has instilled in her self-confidence, self-respect, and a positive mental attitude. And she invites doubters to join the police force training to see for themselves.
Nancy is married and has a six-year-old son. She plans to pursue further studies at university while working.
She sees her future in the constabulary as promising.
“When I was a civilian, I lacked confidence and courage to talk openly, to stand up for myself. But when I came here, they trained me to be strong, to make decisions confidently, and to conduct myself with grace.
“We have been trained to be leaders. We speak out, we make decisions. If I can do it, anyone else can.”