On the lands, of cannibals.
Papuas famous of their cannibalism, and fighting life stile. After fifteens as the missionaries arrived we know more about Baliem valley. Three balls culture, but still remote and unreachable part of the world. We flow fromJakarta, but on the airport we faced that we do not had seats, because did not confirmed our ticket which we had bought 2 days ago. It isAsia. Everything is possible, but Katrien made friendship with a boy working there so they corrected this “mistake” and other 2 people did not have place.
Arriving to Papua, many guides try to join us. She went to the capitol for a permission (arrange it for women is easier) while I was sleeping. As I woke up many black people standing around me. Accommodation is expensive, so finally we slept at a boy, who was working in the airport tower. The flights over booked so he had us to get a flight to Baliem valley. This is the only way to get to valley surrounded by3500 mhigh mountains, where the famous Papua warrior people lives. After 1954 as the first missionary arrived changed the system of the nomad aborigines life, and they were infected with civilisations and with goods which they did not needed for thousands of years but now it becomes necessity which the papuas had to paid big price. It is the time of the empire of money.
Wamena is the capitol of the valley and everything come from the sky, including bricks, cement, cars, missionaries. The town was built up from the sky, that is why Indonasia most expensive place isWest Papua. Knowing this we could thing everything is modern, but as a contrast my impression stepping out from the air-plain is: Quiet street, pedestrians and suddenly appear a small black necked Papua man with panis gourd, and keep his hand an arrow. I remembered the film “The gads become craze” In Wamena not too much of them, but in the mountains we can find them a lot.
Traditionally they wear in heir noise big bones, in their hair features, and in their neck are decorative shell necklace. Know these people hunting for tourists who want them to take pictures for money. After this money, they spend it for cigarettes, and cola. Luckily, it is not allowed alcohol in the valley.
In Wamena we could stay at the teachers family, in their small 2 rooms wooden house. Poor family eating empty rice, potato, or noodle. After sunset everything became quiet and dark, because their is no electricity, just for same rich people. I visited the local school. But suprisingly, the teachers and their students were dancing on the music. Teaching the english language is done with the same method, as inAsia. Repeating the teacher without the knowing the meaning. That is why on the examination after 3 years off learning they could not write down the names of the week.( mondaj tusday, yesterdey etc. ? )
After the Indonesian colonisation the Jawanishe business man, settled in the valley, to start the business so till know 1 shop in the end of the aborigines.
That is why I could not why Papuan folk music today is more popular the guitar music, which cassettes made in PNG orEurope. The Papua according to our idea are not a good businessman because still they have a strong community feeling. If they have a shop, they would give everything to their friends free, if they need, because there is an ancient rule. You are a good man have something and share it. So the leader the village has nothing “just” his words.
Arround Wamena we can used a mini bus to go not too far mountains around the valley. In the bus some naked Papua who carry his pig from the market. The pig very important in their society. You can buy land power and wife too.
The Papuas living from agriculture, potatoes and vegetables. Digging, with a stick in a group. The women sell their products on the market they come from surrounding villages walking barefoot 5-15 kmand carrying vegetables and her youngest baby in the net on their head. The income they spent for candle petroleum ,salt and sugar.
We tried find the mumy, but this idols not really anymore. We walked throw the marshy area /mud/ Balancing on the stakes and woods.
The Papuas are living in a small round-shaped grass wooded hut, inside a fireplace. In the mountain, they keep for the nights his pigs inside the hut. They were singing religious songs in the hut, until the fire is finish.
But the civilisation is coming: on foot. Frequently the people carrying 2 days in the mountains on the head a piece of metal roof.
Day after they coming back to the valley with a chicken. We did a couple of days in the mountain without seeing electricity from the top there is a bird view in front of the our eye creating clouds and the rain soon comes. The most warm moments for me when we meet papuas and they seeking on hand long and saying with full of wonder and love: aiiii.
In the small villages Katrin treat the wound of children so all village come to us for a help. Asking a medicine for their pains too. Very sad, that here is no medical help at all. Sleeping in the village is very exiting for them and people looking for an occasion to have a glance into our room.
I show a journal for the children and seeing a picture of a car they say: taxi. So they can not imagine that someone has a car for himself. In the morning from the small radio tuner, we can listen sizzle of ultra short wave program. Once a week there is an dani language program. This is the connection the outside world and of course a pray of Jesus.
Sunday joined a group people visiting a church, Pentecost, protestant, and church and one of mine “strongest” warship It was a real community feeling. The man where on the right and women on the left side and sometimes they feed their baby. Some of the Papuas were necked. They were singing with a guitar, sometimes crying deeply. Instead of money this people offered potatoes for the church.
The food very simple and usually tasteless they know the only spice the salt and chilli. Usually they eat sweet potatoes and boiled vegetables. The rice and the pig only for the special occasion.
It is very difficult from the tourist role bet if we can, they embark us with such a huge love, which is unforgettable. This is a small heavenly paradise, over3000 m. Sometimes around sunset in the opposite, hill a group of young child shouting war song and dancing in their hand with lance. I would stop the time. It is the warrior people’s peaceful moment.
In theWest Sideof the valley I saw as a group of the people cooking potatoes, They put the hot stones on the grass. Vegetable, potatoes, and the steam of the grass make soft the food. The nigh was clean, and the young people were singing and dreaming about freedom, in their hands guitar.
Is it good if someone more the tourist? Is it good someone ones to know more during the travel every one had to decide himself. I just share what I see and what I listened. Papuas give me a lot of trust love and they see hope in us hoping their situation will change The problem is the change they have to do, because I-am here today, months later. My duty is to carry to news about the situation and telling still here is a nation. How long:?
After the II. world war the eastern part of Papua became independent, betWest Papuatill 1962. was Dutch colony. After 1969. It became a colony ofIndonesiaafter “free” elections. Here is the world 2. Biggest cooper mine, at the word biggest gold land. Owned by anAmericanacompany, the guerrillas of free Papua movement try to fight in the mountain, jungle’s, for the independence. That is why so many military base and police post they charge a local people and treating them unfriendly. In Wamena there is a big board legalising this relation ship.
Usually not for the territory, the more for the hierarchy to show the neighbouring villages, who is stronger? So this war was well regulated and it continued until the first death. Then every village go back for a celebration or the funeral party, killing a pigs and eating good. After one week is the revans.
An other rule is interesting: not allowed to burn someone house bet to kidnap and kill someone’s wife is legal.
The pig is the beginning of the culture. The measure of richness and they can buy a land power and wife. If someone still it, it could be a reason for a war. If someone slept with someone’s wife, he could compensate with a pig.
Cannibalism. It existed only in the symbolic form. It was not a gastronomicall speciality, but more about to show the hierarchy of the tribes. They eat the kidnapped person symbolically just a piece. Showing he is not else jut a pig. And it was a good reason for a revans while the woman were working on the fields.
Someone lost his family member, it was a tradition to cut her fingers. It was forbidden today. But many old people have no finger. It is the families have many children.