The eldest of five siblings, Bartholomew is from Baimuru within Gulf, and was born and raised in Kapuna after his parents initially moved there to study and eventually settled there.
He was the first local to get employed at Kapuna Hospital full-time, in a managerial role, the young man has pioneered a lot of firsts.
In his younger schooling years, he was part of the first batch of the Kapuna Life School and later was part of the first batch of students from Gulf to be sponsored by TotalEnergies EP PNG Ltd (TotalEnergies) to attend Port Moresby Technical School (POM Tech) in National Certificate trade courses.
“At the time, they couldn’t make Kapuna Life School an official school since there were only five children but thanks to Barbara Calvert, we received uniforms and school materials which were shipped from New Zealand.”
Following a brief stint at Kikori Secondary and then Port Moresby Grammar School for high school, he moved across to Goroka Grammar in Eastern Highlands, to complete his grades 11 and 12 in 2015.
“It was a good boarding school, I was able to complete my grades 11 and 12 with a few of my good friends from Kapuna and then I got accepted into Pacific Adventist University (PAU), as an Australia Awards Scholarship recipient.”
He unfortunately had to withdraw 2 years into his Nursing degree at PAU, due to a combination of wrong choices influenced by bad company.
“After I pulled out from nursing, I went into this negative place in my head where I believed I had failed, and I felt there was no hope.
“My family also gave up on me because they told me I had taken for granted what I had been given.”
“When I was back at home, figuring out what to do, I happened to be in Kerema at the time the TotalEnergies’ Community Liaison Officers were conducting awareness and that’s how I heard about the scholarships being offered by TotalEnergies.”
He was accepted into the Machining and Fitting course in 2019 at POM Tech, as part of the selected scholarship recipients and vowed to make the most of the opportunity.
“I really wasn’t into technical trades because I personally had this heart of service, so I couldn’t connect being a machinist with that of being in a life of service, but I thought I should just give it a try since it was a really good opportunity for me.”
“I really wanted to be a nurse or a doctor, some day and really help people, I just had this heart to help and serve others.”
While at POM Tech, he involved himself with student groups like the Tertiary Students Christian Fellowship (TSCF), which led him down a better path and instilled within him strong leadership qualities.
In 2020, he became the TSCF president for the school.
“I started taking up leadership roles within that space, it really helped me in my spiritual walk, and I found good friends and started hanging out with them.”
Graduating in 2021 with a National Certificate 3 in Maintenance Fitting and Machining, he stayed on at POM Tech as the TSCF coordinator, before the team at Kapuna asked him to return home with a job offer.
He credits his time volunteering as a youth at the hospital, helping the former Projects Manager, Mr Colin Calvert and all other mentors, for helping him to build his experience and obtain different training certificates, to eventually become the Supplier and Logistics Manager.
Regarding educational opportunities for the people of Gulf Province, Bartholomew said that he sees that there are many opportunities for the young people of Gulf, however most villages do not have proper schools or communications systems.
“The people of Gulf province need to understand their place in their community but also to understand the level at which the province is at in terms of looking at it from a broader perspective.”
“For example, you could receive a scholarship to attend a tertiary institution like I did, but if your attitude is not right or your heart is not really in it, then you’re just wasting your time.”
“My best advice would be to live for others every day.
“Living for others means you have to know what you are and know what you can contribute – know your potential and goals and live towards them but also love yourself whilst you’re doing this.”