Student by Day, Guard by Night

November Edition, 2017
Category: Collective


ROWING up in a small village called Dobel in Mt Hagen in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, a young boy named Samson dreamed of becoming a lawyer while watching his illiterate father Gabriel Wambe struggle with a court case.

“My parents are illiterate and they had a court case where I witnessed my dad struggle to pursue the matter himself and that motivated me to choose law to assist my dad,” said Samson Wambe in an interview.

However, for Samson, it was not just a hop, skip and a jump to law school.

Samson is the eldest in a family of 7; himself, a brother and 5 sisters.

Primary education finished in 2004 with a year 8 certificate from the Tega Primary School just walking distance from his home village.

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After year 12 exams, Samson wasn’t fortunate enough to make it to law school which he had applied for.

2009 saw him move to Port Moresby to upgrade his marks at the Institute of Matriculation at Gordons.

“I obtained a loan from BSP to pay my own school fees with help from my parents but in order to repay the loan I had to work a full 14 days night shift as a security guard and dog handler at Guard Dog”.

Besides repaying the loan, Samson had to help his family when they were displaced due to tribal warfare.

“My family were displaced sometime in April 2011 over a tribal fight that occurred in our village, Dobel. Now my family resides at Gumants, my mother’s place in Dei District”.

“Both of my parents are subsistence farmers and informal vendors; my mother sells jewellery at the market while my father is a street vendor”.

After completing his matriculation, Samson applied again to UPNG to study law and was finally accepted to continue toward his dream.

Getting his first job was not an exciting affair like most kids out of school however, because with his pay he was hit with very adult responsibilities straight off the bat; Samson had to think about a school fee loan, stationery and printing and bus fare apart from food and clothing.

“I was a boarding student but I lived off campus most of the time; duty calls”.

“If my parents were not displaced from their livelihood, I would not have been working as a guard in the first place; doing that job was the only solution for me to continue my schooling,” Samson said.

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Samson had little time to rest as he was a guard by night and a law student by day.

His staple food was a Snax Cracker biscuit and Tang juice, and Samson did assignments and school work in the Guard Houses of his posts while on duty.

We asked Samson how it felt being a security guard who are to be truly honest, people that most don’t think so much of, and watching those he guarded every day with their success who were already where he was working so hard to be.

He said; “yes there were times when I thought, you don’t know me yet and I will prove myself someday. And yes I did prove myself”.

As for his colleagues, there were many who understood and supported him, but still some that doubted and criticised. When finally admitted to The Bar, a lot of those of the latter group congratulated and offered apologies.

Samson is now the Legal Aid Clerk at the Legal Training Institute and wants to deliver justice to the poor.

Now that his dream has already been achieved, he has a new one; to develop a Papua New Guinean jurisprudence (legal system) that is relevant to our people and country because he says at the moment we use England’s precedents

He believes there is need to change this as our way of life is completely different to that of the first world.

His message to those whose hopes have been lost because of their circumstances is, “Life is simple, if you have a dream; have faith, believe in your dream, and work towards achieving it”.

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