Vegetable vendor proudly watches son get degree

A Southern Highlands woman broke down in tears when she saw her son receive his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology at UPNG’s 65th graduation in Port Moresby.

Ruth Yara, from the Ialibu-Pangia district, is the wife of pastor George Pipiki Yara, a pastor of an Independent Fundamental Baptist church who has been serving in the ministry for almost 27 years.

In 2011, the family moved from a Baptist Church in Pangia to Faith Way Baptist Church at Gerehu in Port Moresby.

City life proved to be quite a challenge, especially with the pastor earning less than K400 while five of their children are in school.

As life was getting tougher for the family, Ruth decided to sell vegetables at the Yumi Yet gate at Gerehu to support her children with bus fare and other basic needs that they may have.

Ruth used to wake up at dawn (around 5.30am) and go to the Boroko and Gordon’s markets to buy a bulk of fresh greens and vegetables.

She then brings them back to resell to the tenants of Yumi Yet Compound.

Rest is a luxury she cannot afford. Thankfully, her burden is somewhat alleviated when her two daughters return from school to help in the afternoons.

Ruth’s major concern was her eldest son, Wayne, who was a student at the University of PNG. His schooling needs had increased from just needing stationery like pencils and erasers to thousands of kina of school fee, printing fees for his assignments, bus fare and the list goes on.

She knew her son had his own challenges but she did what she could as a mother to allow him to pursue his dreams whilst holding her family together. And watching Wayne reach out to hold his degree was worth all the pain, sweat and tears they had endured.

After receiving his degree, Wayne said: “What I see in my entire education journey and daily living, I see the hands of the Lord overshadowed us and protected us every single day.

“For me to complete my tertiary education in a higher learning institution of PNG is a huge asset for my family because we came from nothing, therefore I dedicate my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology to my mom and dad.”

(Article and pictures by Albert Moses – final year UPNG Journalism student)

Albert Moses