Where are you from and where do you live now?
I live in Mt. Hagen, which is the primary base in MAF’s program here in Papua New Guinea (PNG). When I joined MAF I moved to Mount Hagen. I am actually from the southwestern corner of the country which, if you look at a map of PNG, is where the border of Indonesia and Australia meet with PNG. It is a lowlands area and is not as cool as it is here in the Highlands; it is hot most of the year. The vegetation where I am from is like the vegetation in Northern Australia if you’ve seen that. It’s a savanna sort of area where we don’t have a big forest and mountains, just grasslands and scattered trees.
Do you mind telling me a bit about your family?
I am married and my wife and I have two kids. My son is 14 years old and my daughter is 10.
What is your role with MAF?
My role with MAF is the Ground Operations Training Coordinator. I train staff in MAF’s ground operations network in Mt. Hagen and around the whole country. This role requires me to make sure our ground operations staff are trained and certified to carry out ground operations tasks; preparing manifests, safely loading passengers, and loading aircraft with cargo to be dispersed and received. I make sure our internal MAF requirements and the local regulator, CASA’s, requirements are met. I also do what we refer to as Regulatory Compliance Training, which goes outside of the ground operations department. Toward the end of the year, every two years, I teach safety management systems to the whole organisation. I keep records of all the trainings.
What do you enjoy most about your role and what is most challenging?
I most enjoy training. My original purpose in trying to be with MAF was actually to become a pilot. When I didn’t eventually achieve that, I applied for a training role. Training is satisfying to me because we are all playing different roles in making sure the ministry of MAF, showing God’s love through aviation and technology, happens. We send out aircraft to rural communities needing much-needed supplies and services. I play the role of training people to make sure we are safe and efficient in what we are doing. Collectively, we have a mission that is reaching out to people. It is very satisfying to me to be a part of this.
In regards to what I find difficult, the world is evolving and we have to keep our staff right on top of training. So, as new things come in, like changes in technology, we have to stay on top of training our staff. I find this part more demanding than difficult.
When did you join MAF and why?
I joined MAF in 2006. My dad used to be a school teacher in one of the remote locations where I come from. In those years, we watched this little MAF plane come around and bring in much-needed goods and supplies. This caused my interest in joining MAF to grow and I decided from a very little age to join MAF. I thought that serving through MAF would, perhaps, really give me the value in life. Eventually, when I finished schooling and other things, I applied to MAF, and here I am.
What does MAF mean to you?
To me, MAF’s mission statement is perhaps one of the best in the mission field; showing God’s love through aviation and technology. It would be devastating for the communities if MAF stopped serving in PNG because people would find it very hard to get basic services and products. I serve with MAF because I have seen both physical and spiritual changes in the lives of people. I think MAF is as important in PNG, and in various other parts of the world, as many of the other big organisations that are bringing services here. I would say that MAF really is a lifeline to the people here in PNG by providing air services. It is a wonderful thing to be within this organisation and be a part of providing an essential service.
Can you tell me a bit about what you’ve done with education offline servers in Western Province?
It’s called RACHEL; Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning. It is an offline server, created by an NGO called World Possible, with preloaded education content. You just take RACHEL to a remote community, switch it on, and it creates a network of its own which can be accessed by compatible devices. Then people can start learning. There’s no need for data since it’s an offline server. In 2017 I did a personal project to get some funding for a few RACHELs. I gave them to 3 different communities where I come from so they can use it to access information that can be helpful in transforming their lives.
How has Covid-19 affected you and your family?
Everybody has been affected by Covid-19 in one or two ways, but my family and I have not been affected so much. We are blessed with MAF because in other places you would lose your job and not be working. I think MAF’s decision, from the very top right down to the program here in PNG, is a good one. We have not been stood down from our work.
In Mt. Hagen, in terms of the virus, there are probably no reported cases at the moment. In terms of collateral damage from Covid-19, I would say my family and I have not been affected very much. However, there are some things we used to enjoy before Covid-19 which we can’t enjoy now.
What is something others might not know about you?
I find myself as a facilitator, not just within MAF, but with many different agencies and service providers. I’ve been involved with agencies like Aerial Health Patrol (AHP), the Rural Airstrip Agency (RAA), and other organisations. I try to facilitate development between these organizations so we can work together. This isn’t something MAF has asked me to do, I just found it of interest and thought I should be that little link between these agencies because of my experience of working with MAF over 12 years.
Do you have a favourite food?
I like eating pizza! There’s also cake and other good things, but pizza is my favourite food. Every time there’s pizza available at a meeting I’m probably the first one to go grab a piece!