My name is Rachel Minsipi and I was born in Siwai. I went to Burai primary school where I did grades 1 -3. I did grades 4 and 5 at Tonnou Primary School and grade 6 at a different school. From there I went to high school in Buin where I was for three years. That school was purposely built as a leadership school for Papua New Guineans and Solomon Islanders. When I completed my schooling there, I graduated and I was the Dux. I was offered to go for welfare training but when I went home at Christmas my parents had arranged a marriage for me, so I was not able to get a job. I got married and moved to Rabaul with my husband. There I was working in the community hostel for a year before moving to Kimbe where my husband worked as an electrician. We stayed in Kimbe for 8 years before returning to Bougainville where my husband began work for Bougainville Enterprises where he had his own personal electrical contract.
In 1988, when the Crisis was starting we went back home to Siwai. There was a lot of fighting and bloodshed. In 1993, I came to Buka and have remained ever since. When I arrived in Buka, I reminded myself that I had skills, and I prayed, ‘God the skills that you gave me, they are still in my brain, I pray that you will help me get a job somewhere’.
I began work at a guesthouse, and I was the only lady working there. While I was working with them I saw that the work in the guesthouse was too much for one person to do. The owners then offered me a job to work for them instead for about four years.
Later, I made an application for a cleaning service contract. I applied to the LLG for this contract at the Division Office. Instead of giving me a contract they just employed me as their worker, where I am today.