Five years ago, Esmie Sinapa started a small café in Popondetta Town promoting organic food.
She made the drastic change in her career after her doctor told her that her health was failing and that she had a year to live.
“I was the Secretary General of the Red Cross. I was overweight…125 kilograms. I had high blood pressure. Diabetic. The doctors told me I had 12 months to live.”
It triggered a life altering decision.
She resigned from her job, went back to her home town of Popondetta and started a business.
“When the doctor told me the news, I made an instantaneous decision to resign and come back home.”
Her business is attracting a new community of health conscious individuals looking to buy honey, PNG coffee, home cooked food and spices.
“In the first three weeks, no customers came and I said, what have I gotten myself into?”
And that was because the concept of an organic café was new.
Also, for many, the thought of going to a place to drink coffee or tea, and eat food you would normally eat at home, was highly unusual in the small town.
“Many people said, why can’t you sell chicken and chips? I said this place is about health and wellbeing. If you want to care for your body. This is the place.”
People slowly warmed to the concept. Esmie has found that there’s a growing number of health conscious Papua New Guineans who are flocking to her small café seeking the same things she is passionate about.
Her café is designed like a traditional hauswin complete with sago thatched roofs…
…plus the modern conveniences of ceiling fans and Power points.
She has a small collection of Papua New Guinean art and mats that she put on the walls. Her use of space, plants and art give the customer a sense of 21st century homeliness and tropical elegance.
“I found there is more to life. I live like a queen in this small place. It is simple yet elegant. The E-Café is a place you can come to be inspired and this province is rich with organic food. Everything you eat is organically grown.”