On Papua I visited Wamena in the Baliem Valley in central Papua. There is no road connection to the Baliem Valley, everything is moved by air.
There is no alcohol served in the whole valley. Apparently the indigenous people can't handle alcohol well, many became alcoholics, so the government made the valley a dry valley.
On the first day we went on a six hour hike along the Baliem River. We encountered a Dani village where they had a community feast in preparation for building a church. They invited us to join them.
On the second day we visited local villages that still preserved their original way of living. The inhabitants of the valley are mostly from the Dani tribe. I visited the Obia village, where my tour organizer had arranged a pig feast.
They started with a mock battle. Apparently fighting between different groups used to be very common. The men and women then did a thanksgiving dance.
They slaughtered a pig by shooting it with an arrow, then prepared it and cooked it in a pit with stones heated in a fire. They included sweet potatoes and vegetables in the pit, and covered everything with banana leaves and grass. The cooking took about 2 hours.
Once the pig and other food was cooked, the pit was opened. The men and women ate separately. The men got most of the meat.
It was an interesting experience.
We then proceeded to the Sumpaima village, where the chief cares for a 250 year old mummy of an important ancestor.
Nearby is the Kontilola Cave with some stalagmite and stalactite formations.
After three nights in Wamena, I flew back to Jayapura in the north of Papua. I visited Pulau Ase, an island in the Sentani Lake, and the Anthropology Museum in Jayapura. The fish market in Jayapura was also quite interesting.
Baliem River. (1092k) Deforestation along the Baliem River. (1.6M) Huge landslide, caused by deforestation. (958k) Kontilola Cave. (696k)
Market in Wamena. (845k) Market in Wamena, selling penis gourds and carrying nets. (1215k) Selling tobacco in the market in Wamena. (859k) Women on a foot bridge over the Baliem River. They have the net sacks to carry stuff, hanging from their heads. (1082k) The bridge had been washed away almost a year ago, this makeshift bridge at least got motorcycles across. (1378k) Gardens along the Baliem River. (1.5M) Taking a break on the Baliem River. (1446k) My guide is distributing crackers to local kids. (1292k) Hiking trail along the Baliem River. (1476k) This was part of the trail that I hiked. It rained a lot while I was in Indonesia. (1.5M) Community feast in the Dani village. (1.6M) Community feast in the Dani village. (1207k) Man at the community feast. (1405k) Man in the Dani village. (1448k) Local kids in the Dani village. (1237k) local kids at the community feast. (1260k) Some of the kids at the community feast were messy eaters. (753k) My guide was singing religious songs at the community feast. (1409k) Christian church. (1226k) Entrance to the Obia village. The barrier is to keep animals inside. (889k) Obia village. (1409k) Grooming in the local village. (1078k) Inside the communal hose in the Dani village. (929k) The 250 year old mummy of an important ancestor. (984k) Village on Pulau Ase in Lake Sentani. (848k) Houses on Pulau Ase in Lake Sentani. (807k) House on Pulau Ase in Lake Sentani. (912k) House with vegetable and herb garden. (868k) Communal meeting house on Pulau Ase. (1076k) Grave in the village on Pulau Ase. (1340k) A compressed gas bottle serves as a gong to notify the village if necessary. (816k)
Pig Feast and Dance
Local Dani family. (1097k) It was the cutest kid around. (1186k) The warriors that did the mock battle. (1304k) Putting on war paint. (1466k) Getting ready for battle, with one warrior on the lookout tower. (995k) Lookout tower. (818k) Battling warriors. (906k) Battling warriors. (1358k) Battling warriors. (1432k) Indigenous warrior. (1264k) Indigenous warrior with traditional penis gourd. (1414k) Indigenous warrior with traditional penis gourd. Some of the men were much more elaborately decorated. (1484k) Close-up of a warrior. (856k) Dance to give thanks. (1.5M) Dance to give thanks. (1002k) Dancing women. (1023k) Dancing warrior. (963k) Dancing warrior. (1042k) Making fire by vigorously rubbing a string around a wooden log. (1327k) He has fire. (1.6M) Building the wood fire to heat the stones. (1.6M) Loading the wood fire with the stones that will cook the feast. (1235k) Getting ready to kill the pig. (1400k) Preparing the pig. (1.7M) They cut off one ear and the tail as a symbolic gift for the protecting spirits. (1227k) The pig is put on the fire to remove the hair, not to cook it. (1125k) Carving up the pig. (1.5M) The pit is started with a layer of grass. (1.7M) Lining the pit with leaves as a bed for the pig. (1.8M) Putting the hot stones in the pit. (1392k) Putting the hot stones in the pit. (1435k) Here comes the pig. (1.6M) The pit is being closed by covering it with grass. (1.6M) The pit is cooking. (1488k) The pit is opened, the cooling stones will be removed. (1.5M) The cooked pig is removed from the leaves. (1411k) Cooked sweet potatoes. (996k) The women and girls eating. (1450k) The men and boys eating. (1300k) The chief is carving up the pig with a piece of bamboo. (958k)