It was already past 8 am, Wednesday 6th of September 2017, exactly 10 days before Independence Day, EMTV Online’s Elizah Palme walk from Gordons market to Telikom Rumana paid off well after a good wrestle with PMV bus-hoppers as usual at ATS Settlement.
Armed with a Nikon camera, he decided to walk to our office instead of the usual norm of hopping on another PMV bus to arrive at Telikom Rumana where he works.
The walk paid off well as he turned a corner on a street behind the Chinese Embassy when someone walking ahead caught his attention. With a camera on hand, the thoughts of capturing this special person got him rushing up to catch up with her so he can take a better shot.
According to Palme, she was on her way as if her mind was locked on the destination, a half-filled grocery bag hung on her head with an almost old bilum (Papua New Guinean hand-weaved woollen bags) slantingly carried to her left with her right-hand full with handicrafts.
Once close by, Palme noticed that she is an old woman in her sixties or seventies. “While the thoughts of my mother walking the streets to make ends meet overwhelmed me, I quietly followed the old woman down the road leading to Papua New Guinea’s National Parliament,” Palme recalled.
Opportunity avails itself as the old woman found a spot near a bus-stop, laying her load down on the concrete footpath to catch a breath as she takes out a betel nut, mustard and a can of lime. She gave a beautiful smile agreeing in letting EMTV Online take a picture of her as greetings proceeded to conversations.
“Lolo, L-o-l-o” she spelt her name proceeding to also spell her late husband’s name. “Nem blo papa em, Akure; A-k-u-r-e na mi blo Gulf”. (My husband’s name is Akure and I am from Gulf province).
Thanks to experience, she skillfully makes the handicrafts and sells them for prices ranging from K5 – k10. “I make them all. I make them myself and sell them on the streets”.
Her products included headbands, hand-bands, necklaces and knitted-feathers for traditional decorations which she made using feathers from roosters and duck, nylon strings. Leaving her former job as a maid years ago, she is now a full-time craftsmaker.
“When I was young, I used to work for wages, I used to work as a Haus Meri (maid),” She told EMTV Online.
According to Akure, major events like Hiri-Moale Festivals and Independence Celebrations enhance her chances of selling most of her products. Contributing to Independence celebrations, Akure also seizes the opportunity to earn money for her survival in the city.
Akure left her home province to come to Port Moresby in 1982 after her late husband who was a Nursing Officer passed away. She is now, one of the women who is actively involved in the handicrafts industry in PNG’s busiest city, Port Moresby.