By ENAMYRA ANI, UPNG journalism student
FATHER-of-five Stanley Mark, 35, believes it is never too late in life to further one’s education.
“The only time education stops is when you die. Whether you are young, middle-aged or old, don’t give up. Go to school and fulfil your dreams.”
Stanley has therefore left his wife Tapea and their five children behind at Gahuku village in Goroka to come and pursue a degree programme at the University of PNG in Port Moresby.
He only completed Grade 12 at the Mesauka Secondary School in Goroka last year. In fact, Stanley was the only student from that school to be accepted for the Linguistic and Modern Language programme at UPNG.
He completed Grade 9 and Grade 10 at the Asaroka Lutheran High School in 2003 and 2004. He completed Grade 12 at the Aiyura National High School in 2006.
After he could not get into any tertiary institution, went back to the village and got married to Tapea. They have five children – Francis, now 12, Pamo, 7, Rhoda, 5, Gani, 3 and Kuku, 2.
After 12 years of living in the village, Stanley realised that the only solution to his problems was to have a good education.
He had five children to look after and he was struggling to make ends meet.
“I had children and it was really hard looking for food for them and going to school and working for the school at the same time.”
He earned some money after school in the afternoon by going to the Goroka market and collecting market fees.
“From that money, I bought K10 rice and take it home.”
He felt guilty doing it because it was wrong.
“I tried to find other ways to provide for my family. So I re-enrolled at school. In 2018, I decided to re-enroll at Mesauka Secondary near my village.”
He helped the school by doing casual work. The school helped him by paying his fees.
“ Feeling shy will not take you anywhere in life, and not give you anything”.
“My school fee was covered by the school itself because I do any work they instruct me to do anytime. I helped them.”
Now at UPNG, he aims to study hard and to retain his scholarship until he graduates.
“I want to finish school, get a good job and provide for my family. I know how it feels like to live and struggle in the village. So I want to study hard and take my education to the next level in big institutions.”
Leaving his family behind in the village is hard but he knows he is doing something that will benefit them later. Being away from his loved ones motivates him to be successful. He wants to stay focused and achieve what he came to Port Moresby for.
His wife Tapea and their five children are the reason Stanley went back to school, to provide a good future for them.
He no longer feels shy about sharing the same classroom with people very much younger than him.
“Feeling shy will not take you anywhere in life, and will not give you anything”.
Stanley is determined to make his mark on the academic field – especially for his family back in Goroka.