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Meet Botex Pania from Pundia village in Mendi, Southern Highlands Province.
Apologies. He told me: “A mi no save long krismas bilong mi.” (I don’t know my age).
He is an entrepreneur for 15 years based at the Morata suburb in Port Moresby now selling art and craft ranging from baskets, bows and arrows, stone axes and bilums (string bags) to door decorations like the one he is holding in the picture.
This one is made from canes sourced from the jungles in Ialibu.
He has about 30 to sell and people who built or bought new homes are his customers.
Mr Pania who was a former labourer at the Doua Rubber Plantation outside Port Moresby along the Hiritano Highway says he sends money to his relatives back home in Mendi who buys these products and send to him through airfreight.
It takes a month to complete one of these door decorations and costs K100 in Port Moresby. This is a result of freight costs but back in Mendi it’s K50.
Living at Morata, Moresby northeast, he wakes up very early every moring and as early as 6.30am every day he is already out enterprising and selling.
When I invited him for tea he replied: “O sori mi no save dring ti.”( Sorry I don’t have tea).
He revealed other foods he doesn’t eat are lamb flaps, rice and pork.
He doesn’t chew betel nut, smoke nor drink alcohol.
He quit alcohol in 1981 after he was drunk and was about to go relieve himself when he tripped over a rock and fell front on, smashing his front teeth.
He said with a smile, when he’s got some money he buys fresh beef and chicken, cooks and eat.
Botex says he is healthy, the sun doesn’t wear him out during his walkabout to sell his art and craft.