*Recorded in ‘Tok Pisin’ translated by the Division for Local Level Government, Buka
My name is Bertha Eminoni. I have 5 Children and am just an ordinary housewife from the village. I completed Grade 6 at a Primary School and could not go further and so I enrolled at the College of Distance Education (CODE) at Buka and did Grades 7, 8 and 9. I did not do Grade 10 as I could not cope with family and study at the same time. I enrolled at a Secretarial School and got Certificate in Typing. I also did the course in Diploma in Public Administration after working with the Bougainville Administration 2001 to 2006.
I resigned and stayed home doing household work until the Bougainville Women’s Federation was established and I was elected as the President of the of the Torokina District Women’s Federation. I had marriage problem prior to my election. The problem was a blessing in disguise as it taught me to be strong and independent. I also learnt to be mature and look at issues as challenges in life. I am still the President of the Torokina District Women’s Federation for the last 4 years. I am grateful for the skills and knowledge I have gained during my school which has helped me to deal with issues as a President of a women’s organization. There are many challenges and problems of trying to effective run the organization. They concern lack of good communication and transport infrastructure in Torokina District. It’s very difficult to have access to information from other women’s organization in Bougainville. There is no access to information which can increase knowledge and empower women on development issues.
One of my achievements is that I have now organized the women to build a guesthouse in Torokina. We hope to have it completed in 2013 if the land issue is settled with the landowners. The Banoni Boboi Council of Elder in Torokina is discussing the issue of land acquisition with the landowners to have the project started.
One major difficulty for the women is the lack of resources such as office stationeries, computers and other materials to help set up an office in the District.
I also have to overcome bad personal habits as I get angry and lose my temper. I also have a bad drinking habit which I am trying to overcome. The responsibility as President of the District Women’s Federation has given me hope to overcome these shortfalls and mobilize the women. Though I drink alcohol, it does affect my family. I have grown up children attending high schools and colleges. My eldest son is enrolled at the Institute of Business Studies in Port Moresby and the other is at the Lae Polytech Institute. My 3rd child is at grade 10, the 4th is in grade 8 and the last is at the elementary school.
I am thinking of resigning this year from the position of President for the District Women’s Federation and involve in the Oil Palm project in Torokina. Thank you.