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DEAD PIG DIARY by John Carlile



A travel documentary to the jungle and landscape beauty of Papua by a father and a daughter. Books are available only in very limited edition. Collectors Edition is only 25 editions with real leather ...

A travel documentary to the jungle and landscape beauty of Papua by a father and a daughter. Books are available only in very limited edition. Collectors Edition is only 25 editions with real leather covers, while the Regular Edition is only 100 editions. Available direct from Info@AfterhoursGroup.com.



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DEAD PIG DIARY by John Carlile DEAD PIG DIARY by John Carlile Document Transcript

  • ‘The Moni Trail ’ so far... Wolambmbuta Tomosiga 2009 2007 KumbugetadiBugalaga Agisiga 2003 2006 2004 Pogapa Kobai 2005 Grasberg
  • Alex this is for you. I hope you enjoy it! , With my love, Dad Z6 7
  • PREFACEFor several years now, three friends, and experienced many things almost On our second day out of Tomosiga and kilometres, which is almost the size ofJohn Cutts, George Tahija and I have beyond belief. probably only four or five days from the Iraq. Because of its wild and difficultlived and trekked for one or two weeks finishing line in Bugalaga, I was hit by a terrain, only two million people live in It has all been worthwhile.each year with members of the Moni debilitating fever that left me helpless. Papua. That is less than one percent ofTribe in their traditional lands that John Cutts, a second-generation the population of Indonesia occupying Thanks to John and the Moni porterslie deep in the interior of Papua, the American missionary, has lived amongst over 20% of the country’s total land area. we were able to make our way back toremote easternmost frontier province the Moni for most of his life and with- Tomosiga and relative safety. For me, it From the snow capped peak of Puncakof Indonesia. out him, the treks would certainly not was a very humbling experience and a Jaya, via the equatorial Carstenz glacier have been possible. George Tahija isOur first trek back in 2003 from deep disappointment. through spectacular bare limestone karst an Indonesian businessman and aBugalaga to Pogapa was to be the start landscapes, down to rich rainforests longstanding friend and colleague with For most of the trip, in fact for all of itof a quest that we have called ‘The and lowland swamps, and finally to the a great interest in promoting Indonesia except the failed part, Alex was withMoni Trail.’ We have travelled on foot famous coral reefs of Raja Empat, the and sustaining its diverse natural envi- John and I. It was a great opportunityand sometimes on all fours along this landscape of Papua is truly wondrous. ronment to the benefit of its people. to experience the interior of Papua withroute around the tribal lands of the my daughter. That Alex was interested The Moni tribal lands lie in the remoteMoni people in a big circle, and in due Both are great travelling companions to come along and spend some quality mountainous interior of Papua which iscourse, fate permitting, we shall close and on the trail it is true to say that we time with the ‘old man’ was wonderful. the setting of ‘The Moni Trail’ and thisthe circle and end up back at the village have almost literally been to the ends Dead Pig Diary, that covers the periodof Bugalaga, where we first started. of the Earth together and in the process Papua is extraordinary. Stretching 1,200 April 15th–May 4th, 2009. have developed a strong bond with the kilometres from east to west it coversOver the past seven years, we have Moni environment and with each other. a land area of over 422,000 squarecovered around 80 percent of the Trail.Starting from Jakarta, this has taken Unfortunately, George was not alongabout 80 days. More than 100 hours on this trip in 2009, but my 20-year oldhave been spent in the air in a multitude daughter, Alex, was, and we planned toof aircraft and a variety of helicopters. complete the most rugged and remoteWe have trekked and climbed for about section of the Moni Trail from the village200 hours, equivalent to five official of Tomosiga, back to the village ofworking weeks (which for the record Bugalaga, and so complete the quest.don’t exist in Papua), and we have seen We—or more accurately, I—failed. 10 11 View slide
  • GettinGthereIt was the last stage of our journey. All in all, Jakarta is a good place toThe engines of the aircraft droned avoid. It is a vast sprawling city ofon and on, as we dozed in our seats perhaps 12 million people, pollutedon the overnight flight from Jakarta. and crowded, and has terrible trafficOutside, it was pitch black and we jams. For part of the year, the city iscould see nothing. Had we been able boiling hot and dry, and for the otherto see something, it would have been part it is wet and frequently flooded.jungle or sea, or one of the multitude Tourists, quite rightly, tend to bypassof over 17,000 islands that make up it for the delights of Bali.the tropical Indonesian archipelago. I still spend a lot of time in JakartaAlex, had wanted to see Papua, due to my work and have a flat there,and having recently finished school on the south side of the city. This isnow was her chance to do so at the where we headed after our long flightstart to her gap year or gap years. from the UK, and having spent a fewThe two of us had flown together days relaxing and getting preparedfrom our home in Jersey to Jakarta, we were ready to fly onwards.where I head up a small Australiangold exploration company.Earlier in our lives, Vivien, my wife,the three kids and I had spent nearlyten years living in Jakarta as a family.Alex, her younger brother James (whowas born in Jakarta) and her older sis-ter Kate had all gone to school there. 12
  • Wednesday, 15 April, JakartaThe day of departure was spentpacking, before taking the eveningflight from Jakarta on the Indonesiannational airline, Garuda. The flightfrom Jakarta in western Java to Papuaat the eastern extremity of Indonesiatakes around eight hours and isbroken by two stops: Makassar on theisland of Sulawesi, and the island ofBiak to the northwest of Papua. 14 15
  • Thursday, 16 April, Sentani John, a long time missionary, is one And so we spent most of the hottest biblical sense, before going off into of the few outsiders to speak the Moni part of the day at the local police the interior. It provides a fantasticJust before our journey ended, it language. The tribe, which today station to have our entry point to last meal before we change our diet togrew light as we approached Sentani, numbers around 25,000 people, live in the Moni land, Pogapa, added as an sweet potatoes and vegetables. Whenthe airport of Jayapura at 7 am. The the highlands in the interior of Papua, approved destination to our permits. we come back, the Manna Housetwo-hour time difference between which is just about as remote a place is also our first port of call for ourJakarta and Papua highlights the After a late lunch, we visited the to be found anywhere in the world. ‘first supper.’size of the country. John Cutts met ‘Sekolah Papua Harapan.’ Operated on Like me, John is in his mid-late 50s;us at the airport amidst the usual a voluntary basis by John and other Finally, after some late evening unlike me, he looks about 35. He mustPapuan hustle and bustle. Sentani is missionaries, it provides a place for packing we had a good, but very hot, be the fittest man I have ever knownnot exactly Heathrow: it was just like Moni children to come from their night’s sleep. due to working and trekking in thea shed beside the airstrip. Bags are villages to get an introduction to the interior. His hard regime has madethrown off the plane onto hand carts outside world. They learn reading, him very strong, not a body-builder’sand there is always a wild scramble muscle bound physique but just lean writing and arithmetic, and gain someas the passengers try to retrieve and without an ounce of fat. Lean, but experience of town life. Probably nonetheir belongings. definitely not mean. of them would ever have seen a car orJohn and Joy Cutts are based in a sealed road before. Inevitably, the Just the day before John and Joy hadSentani, which is about 15 kms from traditional village way of life will be been to Papua New Guinea to get aJayapura. Like many other Papuan opened up to the wider world so this new visa. The land border had beentowns, there is something of a ‘Wild experience of town life helps them closed due to political tensions. ByWest frontier’ atmosphere. General and their families to prepare. some miracle, their paperwork was instores, workshops that make pretty order, and the visa was obtained. After a brief late afternoon nap,well anything, board-built houses we went to our favourite spot inwith tin roofs and people and dogs We were also about to discover a prob-wandering around everywhere lem with our Surat Jalan (permits issued downtown Sentani, the Manna Houselooking busy and fierce at the same by the police to travel). Foreigners need Restaurant. It serves excellenttime. There are, as in many places in these permits if they intend wandering Chinese-style food, and we go thereIndonesia, lots of motorbikes as they off the beaten track in Indonesia and for what we call our ‘last supper,’are cheap and easy to use on the pot- there are some specific security con- although hopefully not in the strictlyholed roads. cerns in Papua due to separatist groups. 16 17
  • John and Joy Cutts outside their house in Sentani. Manna House Restaurant where we have our ‘last supper.’ iThe main street of Sentan ountain.perched below Cy clops M 18 19
  • Friday, 17 April (in Timika) breakfasts for the jungle meet their logistical organiser, Ian around Grasberg back in the 1980s, treks. All this Cherry very Watson. Ian showed us the biggest the current mine would probably notAt 9.40 am, we took the 50-minute efficiently had bagged up drill core shed I have ever seen, like have been created. Alex and I met withflight from Sentani on the north coast for us and delivered to an aircraft hangar, and we browsed Dave before the trip and we knew heto Timika on the south coast, and flew the airport. through maps and satellite photos of would be keeping a watchful eye onover the Moni lands in the middle of Freeport’s extensive exploration areas. our progress as he always did in casePapua. On arrival, we stored our bags We then hired a local of emergency. Thanks Dave.at the Missionary Aviation Fellowship Kijang taxi and dropped The exploration teams are covering(MAF) hangar in preparation for John and Joy in Kuala large and remote areas, and every day Then we returned to the hotel andMonday’s flight to Pogapa and Kencana for the shuttle vehicle to have to face huge challenges with swam in the tropical hotel pool. Tothen checked in at the Rimba Hotel Tembagapura where John was to logistics and diverse tribal groups finish the day we watched a film and(formerly a Sheraton) amidst many speak to a church group. The towns that have a very different perspective had an early dinner in a desertedbig military brass assembled for of Kuala Kencana in the lowlands on the world. It is not work for the hotel. No beer was on offer due toa conference. and Tembagapura in the highlands faint-hearted, but exploration is what local elections and the effect alcohol were built by the American Freeport makes mining companies. Were it not has on how Papuans express theirAround midday, we shopped at mining company to support their for the determination and persistence political opinions!Cherry’s store for supplies for the massive copper and gold mine in the of explorers such as Dave Potter, atrip to the interior. Cherry’s is like a We went to bed at around 10 p.m. and heart of Papua. The mining operation dear friend and fellow geologist, whogeneral store in a Wild West town, enjoyed a good night’s sleep. is one of the engineering wonders of led and championed explorationselling everything for the explorer. the world and the current GrasbergThe amiable Chinese lady who runs pit is at an elevation of over 4,000the store provided us with sacks of metres and perched just below therice, tins of biscuits and sugar, boxes Carstenz glacier.of instant Indonesian noodles, andmost importantly, John’s oatmeal, Alex and I then went to Freeport’swhich provides him with his power lowland exploration office, to 20
  • Explora tion Core Shed, Core, and Gr asberg Section 22 23
  • Saturday, 18 April, Timika if we were somewhere in the English the hotel restaurant, an offer we fessed it made her feel sick. That’s the home counties, but it bears repeating readily accepted. way the ‘cookie crumbles,’ but it was aWe got up at 9 a.m. My mobile phone that all these amenities were built by great evening.had died overnight, so I spent the The company was great, but the food Freeport to attract employees to livemorning in Timika getting it sorted was shocking. Alex had ‘white grease’ We went to bed with the alarm set for and work in this remote place. It ob-out. Alex stayed at the hotel relaxing chicken Teppanyaki which she put up 5 a.m. for the weigh-in at MAF and the viously works.by the pool… good for her. a good show of eating or at least push- flight to our final destination, the little After our meal, it was back to Ian’s ing around the plate, but later con- community of Pogapa.I found a Nokia shop, got a new compound for a surprise, but veryphone and got all the numbers trans- welcome, rum and coke nightcapferred. Yes, even in Timika, a placenot far from the middle of nowhere, and then back to the hotel to watch Desp ite bein g near the middle of now here, some more films before turning inthere is a mobile phone shop that around midnight. the Nokia phone shop gave grea t ser vice.provides great service. A good night’s sleep for me, but not The technicians wer e excellen t and the wholeBack at the hotel, after some moretough hours by the pool, we went to for Alex who wasn’t feeling well. job was a lot of fun and done in one hour. I hoped it wasn’t anything serious.the gym to loosen up and much toAlex’s delight, torrential rain started Sunday, 19 April, Timikato pelt down just as we were outsidegoing back to our room. We got up late and spent the day by the wonderful tropical pool. It’s aAfter a quick shower, we headed to hard life, all this jungle stuff!the golf club in Kuala Kencana withIan, but as there were many military John and Joy arrived from Tem-guards hanging around in the car bagapura mid-afternoon and Johnpark, we went to a nearby Chinese joined us at the pool, while Joy wiselyrestaurant instead. We were the only took a nap after their journey.customers, but the meal was good In the late afternoon, a friend fromand Ian was great company. Freeport, Joe Macpherson, invited usGolf clubs, hotels and restaurants to join him and his boss, Georgemake this part of the world sound as Macdonald, for an early dinner at 24
  • Monday, 20 April, Timika–Pogapa a high-pitched ‘Moni whistle’ from he is ready to leave. He isn’t yet ready The airstrips are generally constructed John at the reception desk, saying but I wonder if, having spent so much on ridges where flattish spaces can beAlex had a restless night, and when ‘let’s go.’ The Moni language is spo- time with the Monis, he ever will be? created, or wherever there are natu-she woke up she had a mild fever and ken by very few non-Monis, but John rally flat areas such as on the banks ofswollen glands in her neck. Fortunate- We eventually took off for Pogapa and Joy are able to change easily the larger river valleys. Minimumly, she is a fighter, and after two Pa- in the trusted Cessna 208 Caravan. between Moni, English, Bahasa and dimensions are only around 400 me-nadol tablets, we were up, showered, The 40-minute flight was thankfully ‘whistling.’ What a gift! tres long by as little as 20 metres wideand down to breakfast at 5.30 am. uneventful; the weather was fine and and the strips are generally steep, up At MAF, we checked in, with our Alex sat comfortably in the co-pilot’sAt the MAF hangar, a large, noisy, to an angle of 25 degrees. packs that weighed around 75 kg and seat. The scenery below was spec-and very agitated crowd was block- also took with us some 75 kg of relief tacular. We flew over mountains and Up slope, there is usually a jungle-ing the way to the building. A plane supplies for Pogapa, which would wiggled our way up many valleys and covered mountain, and down slope, ahad crashed the day before at the come in useful following the recent across narrow mountain passes. steep drop to a jungle-covered valley.village of Ilaga in the interior, kill- landslides that had devastated many Landing is uphill to slow the aircrafting all eight passengers and the two Without the network of jungle air- of the food gardens in the region. down, and take-off is downhill to aidpilots. People in the crowd wanted to strips that have been constructed over acceleration. The plane then hurtlesgo and recover the remains of their The food gardens are planted on hill- the past decades, many areas would over the edge, falling well into therelatives. Our flight was delayed so a sides, and bear some resemblance to still be inaccessible without weeks, or valley below before gathering enoughsmall group could fly to Ilaga to see, allotments in Britain, but at a very even months, of hard walking. speed to pick up altitude. For obviousbut not recover, the remains. MAF much steeper angle. As landslides had Everything gets in and out via these reasons, the weight load needs to bepolicy is not to fly human remains; destroyed their gardens, the people airstrips: medical and food supplies, carefully calculated and passengersif they did, sadly there would be so were now desperately hungry and fac- teachers, missionaries, equipment, need a strong stomach, but above all,much demand that other air traffic ing the task of replanting from scratch. government officers and the sick (if complete faith in the pilots.would grind to a halt. By now, the crowd at the airport was they are lucky enough to be able to get The more remote airstrips are builtSo, we went back to the Rimba ho- even more agitated and trying to get to a strip and get a seat). Even now, by the local tribes using only muscletel for a second breakfast and called more and more people onto the flight many villages are over a week’s walk power and very simple hand toolsAmy, John’s sister, in the US. Amy, to Ilaga. Many had not taken ‘no’ for from the nearest strip, and flights are which can take many years to com-too, has spent much of her life in an answer, and were warming up to infrequent and often aborted due to plete. At most, there is a very limitedPapua and knows the terrain well. She throw rocks at the building. We kept bad weather. window to get in and out before thereckoned the current leg of the trek well out of the line of fire. MAF is a non-profit missionary or- cloud mass builds up and the lightfrom Tomosiga to Bugalaga would be During the seemingly endless wait ganisation that services many remote planes can’t see to land.our greatest challenge so far. Com- for the flight, John encountered a tribal areas. It uses a variety of lighting from someone who had grown But we landed safely, on time, on the member of a rival church group that fixed-wing planes and helicopters.up here and like her brother was steep grass airstrip at Pogapa. was trying to have him thrown out of The skill and dedication of the pilotssuper fit, that was a worry! Indonesia. This ongoing saga worried who daily put their lives at risk to help Our real journey was about to begin.Joy suddenly jumped up and said John very much. Papua is his home others is extraordinary.John was impatiently calling us. I had and there is so much more he wants toheard nothing, but Joy could hear achieve with the Moni people before 26 27
  • ika Getting r eady to lea ve Tim r the in the Cessna Car a van foJohn, Joy and Alex enjoying theirsecond breakfast at the Rimba Hotel. flig ht to Pogapa. 28 29
  • Alex took the co-pilo t’ sea t for s the40-minu te flig ht from Timika to Pog ap a.The remo te and mo un tainous jun glescenery below was breathtaking andpr ovided a pr evi ew of the kind of ter rainwe were going to be cr ossing on foo t inthe next few days. 30 31
  • AIRSTRIPSThe jungle airstrips are remarkable.They are built by the local tribes peopleusing only basic hand tools. Constructionis a village affair involving everyone;men dig, women and children removethe dirt and those too old to workprovide moral support. Landslides frequently hamper the progress of work and 32 completion can take decades. 33
  • In TheInTerIorMonday, 20 April, Pogapa (continued) ing Homeyo landslide of August 1984. Three weeks after this forced move, Having done that and settled in, Alex John and Joy’s home had been de- Joy gave birth to another daughter, and I took off into the surroundingPogapa is at an elevation of 1,980 m. stroyed in the night and most of their Jenna. John then built a new house country and walked for an hour orI checked my Garmin GPS with the worldly belongings had been swept at Pogapa in only four months en- so to the nearby Government school.MAF instruments and all tallied. away. Joy was pregnant with the sec- tirely from local timber that he cut The air was cool and clear, the viewsIt pays to be careful in this part of ond child but they and their young himself. Not one to sit idly by, at the were spectacular and along the waythe world. daughter, Jaime, got out alive. They same time he also organized con- we met an old man quietly plant-The village has around 2,000 inhabit- had to move from Homeyo to Pogapa. struction of the Pogapa airstrip. ing coffee seedlings beside a shadedants who mostly live in small wooden It is a frightening tale of the power of stream. This was Alex’s first experi- The house is beautiful. It is built on ahuts that huddle around the sloping nature that shows how resilient the ence of the interior of Papua. grassy slope overlooking the lower partgrass airstrip or on the steep slope Cutts family are to have stayed here. of the airstrip. A balcony on stilts at the Alex was still not feeling well, so afterbelow the airstrip that runs some 300 In John’s words: “It is only our faith front of the house provides a place for an early supper of greens, rice andmetres down to the wild Kemabu in God and our sense of His purpose John to meet and discuss issues with chicken curry Alex went to bed. ForRiver. The people are predominantly for us that has kept us here.” the Pogapa villagers. The Cutts’ home this to hit her out here was a real testMonis who live a subsistance lifestyle Just imagine it being pitch dark, in is very much like a Swiss ski chalet. of character. I slept on Alex’s flooron a staple diet of sweet potatoes and the middle of nowhere, having no just to keep an eye on her, although Iyams. There is very little contact with John fixed the water supply to the communication with the outside am sure she didn’t need it.the outside world. house as the pipe bringing water world, with a young child to look after from the mountain had been cut by We both had a good night’s sleep inAs we were unloading our supplies, and suddenly your house slides away the locals, as often happens, so they the cool mountain setting under twoJohn told us the story of the devastat- in a torrential downpour! can get fresh water without walking blankets. to the Kemabu River. 34 35
  • We landed uphill on the grass airs tripat the village of Pogapa. On the right isPogapa Pone (Moni for mountain) coveredby some of the steep food gar dens thatpro vide the stap les of sweet pota toesand yams. On the lef t is the 300-meterslop e dow n to the wild Kemabu River. The Cessna departed and we had ar rived in the inter ior. 36 37
  • The wooden house with its sloping tin roof is like a ski chalet. Upstairs areJohn and Joy’ house sits on the slop e at s four bedrooms and athe base of Pog apa Pone abo ve the low er bathroom. Downstairsend of the airstr ip. John cut the timber is a kitchen with a wood burning stove,and built the house over 25 years ago a gear room and ain 1984 when their previous house in the living/dining room withvillage of Homeyo was des troyed in the a fireplace. I t canmiddle of the night by a landslide. be pretty cool in the evenings in Papua. 38 39
  • Tuesday, 21 April, Pogapa near John’s house where the five- Alex’s stay with Lois and Mary, had hindsight had we stayed a little longer year-old pupils were being taught been arranged by John, and she was in Pogapa for Alex to become betterJohn and I got up early and went to the mathematics and singing. going to help them in their various acclimatized she would undoubtedlymarket to buy vegetables and we also nursing activities while John and I have managed the trek successfully…managed to pick up a beautiful tradi- We then walked down to the Kemabu did our trek. But, when we arrived in and no doubt better than I did!tional net made from local bark string River for a wash. Well, what a walk! Papua, Alex had decided she wouldand coloured pink by native dye. One hour scrambling down, a brief My satellite phone was not working like to join us on our trek. wash, and then nearly two hours well, but eventually I got through toNets are string sacks that carry all climbing back up, with two hair- Sitting on the pig fence after the Ke- Vivien in Jersey and left a message toimportant possessions. They may be raising crossings of a swinging vine mabu ‘wash walk,’ Alex was starting to say we were both OK. I had hoped tosmall, equivalent in size to a super- bridge thrown in for good measure. have doubts. She was worried that if get news about Kate, who was aboutmarket carrier bag or larger, like a she had to do more than three times to have a baby, but this reassurancecement bag. They are carried by plac- On the way back, we stopped at a what we had just done, every day for would have to wait.ing the handle over the head with the pig fence for a rest and a chat. Alex’s a week, she wouldn’t make it.bag trailing down the back. A net will original plan had been to stay in a vil- We all had a good night’s sleep withnormally contain shells in a smaller lage called Tomosiga with two Cana- Back at the house, we talked through the alarm set for the inevitable pre-woven bag (currency), some tobacco dian missionary nurses, Lois Belsey Alex’s concerns with John and Joy dawn start.and leaves for cigarette papers, betel and her colleague Mary. and in the end Alex decided to sticknut (a mild narcotic), some cooked with her original plan of staying with Lois was a nurse and midwife fromyams, taro, or sweet potatoes (food), Lois and Mary in Tomosiga. It was Ontario, who had been living with theand even babies. And that is about it, obviously a tough but very mature Moni people for over 30 years, anda Moni is ready for the journey ahead. decision on Alex’s part. was fluent in their language. BeforeWhen we returned Alex was still in coming to Indonesia, she had worked Later on, towards the end of our timebed but feeling much better, so we in Vietnam, but had been forced to together in Papua, we did that veryvisited the small kindergarten school leave in 1975 at the end of the war. same walk without any problem, so in 40 41
  • MONI NETSEver yone has a net and some have several.The nets may be huge and car ry ever ythin gfrom firewood to food to babi es or they maybe smaller and car ry tobacco, traditionalshell money, betel nut and a packed lunch ’ of ‘cooked sweet pota to. Traditionally, they aremade locally from nati ve bark string butmodern, brig ht colo ured nylon versions arebecoming mor e common. 42 43
  • Alex looked very much at home owi th the kinderg ar ten children whwere very smar tly turned ou tin their blue uniforms. Thr ougho ut aour time in Papua Alex acted asmagnet to children. 44 45
  • A bridge across the Kemabu. These bridgesare of ten the only way to cross the fast-flowing rivers in the interior and they takea bit of getting used to. One has to walkdown towards the middle of the bridge andthen up again towards the far bank swayingall the way for good measure. 46 47
  • Af ter the walk do wn to the Kema bu,I t was a relief to be back in fr on t ofthe warm fir e in the living room of Johnand Joy’ ho use. Still no t feeling s well,Alex talked abou t her plans wi th Joy andaf ter a lot of discussion, she de cided tostay in Tomosiga ra ther than ac comp an yJohn and I on the tr ek. 48 49
  • Wednesday, 22 April, to Tomosiga hanging over the hills. As they say ters! The price was 200,000 Rupiah Moni Bible that had originally been in Papua: “What’s inside a cloud? A per day per person, equivalent to translated by John’s parents.Bad weather delayed our departure to mountain.” The flight time was only about 20 US dollars.Tomosiga until around 1 pm. Following a sermon by Pastor Simson, around 30 minutes, but the same dis- After dark, Lois and John held a some of the men in the congregationWaiting on the airstrip, we were tance would have taken up to a week church service in the little wooden stood and made speeches. They allwatched by a pair of young identical on foot. church. It started with beautiful Moni sounded positive, despite the harshtwins, not often seen in these parts. Lois and Mary met us on the partly chanting and people drifted into the tone of the Moni language, and manyUntil recently, one of the twins would completed airstrip at Tomosiga and church until it was filled with about of the dialogues included reference tohave been killed by being buried we went to their small compound 150 villagers. Alex sat on a low log John and his parents. The Cutts fam-alive, as the Monis believe that one of area. Lois was staying in a single pew surrounded by children and ily has long been a central part of lifethem is the devil disguising himself room hut and Alex would stay with women carrying babies in their nets. throughout much of the Moni area.as a child. Fortunately, for this pair of Mary in a two-room hut only a few She looked very comfortable. Mentwins the belief is changing, courtesy Looking at the congregation, the metres away. They shared a private and boys, wearing gourds, sat sepa-of teaching by the missionaries. thing that struck me was the intensity outdoor toilet, which was a real lux- rately from the women. The men had of the clear brown sparkling MoniOur wait on the airstrip also unfortu- ury. The little church compound was left their bows and arrows outside as eyes in the lantern light.nately drew the attention of a Java- very homey and like a village within a a sign of respect.nese policeman stationed in Pogapa. village. This would be Alex’s home for After singing, clapping and shakingHe questioned me at length about the next few days. hands, there were readings from theour reasons for being in Pogapa and Alex set up her room and after a mealwas obviously very suspicious about of fresh sweet potatoes and greens we M ONI E YESsomething. As foreigners, I think, he went down to the ‘nearby’ river for afelt we might have been journalists wash. That was another one of John’sthere on some secret mission. We ‘nearbys’ and after the climb back weweren’t of course, but he didn’t seem were dirtier and sweatier than whento trust our reason for being there we started.which was simply to experience theMoni life. In any event, he let us go Next on the agenda was to hire sixon our way. porters to accompany us. John reck- oned the trek would take five days,Our pilot, Gunther, eventually flew but the porters thought seven wasus to Tomosiga the long way round more likely. My bet was on the por-via Bugalaga, as bad weather was 50 51
  • We had a long wait on the airstripof Pogapa for the helicopter to arriveas the surrounding hills were coveredin cloud. Alex spent the time surroundedby women and children, including a pairof identical Moni twins, while I passedthe time explaining our presence to thelocal policeman. 52 53
  • Tomosig a P og ap a to tan ce ht fr om same dis o p ter flig bu t the The heli c min u tes, airs tr ip 30 ek. The took only to a w e d ou t c o uld take up e n w as he on foo t en tly be d w in g sig a had r ec take fixe a t Tomo o uld no t for the r ain s and c p r oblem by hea v y w as no t, b u t ther e air cr a f er ior. cop ter. to the in t MAF heli r ther in e m o vin g fu W e w er54 55
  • Lois and Mary surrounded by a crowd of villagersmet us on the airstrip at Tomosiga. Af ter a quick lunchof vegetables, Alex set up her room in the hut that shewould share with Mary in the little church compound.Then, we hired six porters for the trip that wouldstart the next day. 56 57
  • Thursday, 23 April, Tomosiga– and most of the afternoon was spent place by a string under the scrotum have been plenty of food, judging byKumbugetadi, 9 hours. climbing a ridiculously steep drain- and another around the waist. They the size of their very fat pigs! age filled with large boulders and vary greatly in size, from a few inchesAfter a rough night’s sleep on Finally, some villagers took pity on fallen trees. But every time I fell, a long on younger boys to over two feetthe floor of the Camat’s (a local Govt. us, and provided us with some greens Papuan hand grabbed me in a vice- long in grown men and they alwaysOfficer) building, our temporary and tapioca for a reasonable price, like grip before I could do any seri- point upwards. The upper opening ishome, John and I got up at dawn and and we were very relieved to have ous damage. filled with a ball of leaves so that thepacked up our gear. I called home, at least some real food to propel our contents remain a mystery.and finally got through to Vivien. While the terrain was rough, the team onward for the following day’sFantastic news! Kate had delivered weather was fine, and for most of All the men were sporting bows march to the next village of Dapiaga,her baby at 7 a.m. the day before: a the day we were sheltered from the and arrows and chewing betel nut a rugged day’s walk away to the west.boy, Jack, weighing in at an impres- fierce high-attitude sun by dense and the women were bare breasted, As the village chief, Hasabudi, sat insive 10 lb 4 oz. Everyone was OK, but rainforest canopy. wearing traditional string skirts and the village clearing watching us, hisat that size it must have been a bit of a surrounded by their many children. The dry conditions made the treach- son stroked his arm gently and lookedstruggle for Kate. Grandchild number There were lots and lots of wild looking erous trails a bit more navigable and lovingly up at his dad who held himtwo was alive and kicking! pigs everywhere, and the atmosphere the thundering rivers that needed in a protective hug.  was a little dark and foreboding.Auntie Alex was also thrilled at the to be crossed were less dangerous. The villagers could be so tender andnews and we talked for a while about The day’s march provided a good Our team was starving after the gru- yet at the same time think nothing ofKate, James, and Vivien. As Alex left chance to get to know our six Moni elling trek. We had some dried food, demanding such outrageous pricesfor the gardens with the women to porters who would stay with us all but when John asked the village chief for basic supplies. Still, a quid is a quidcollect vegetables, I gave her a huge the way to Bugalaga. Two of them about buying some food from their and sources of income are few and farhug and said goodbye. were women and every bit as tough gardens, we were told they could only between in a place like Kumbugetadi! as their husbands, and were certainly part with a bunch of bananas, and itIt felt strange leaving Alex in Tomo- expected to carry an equal load and would come at the whopping price The central part of the village wassiga, in the middle of Papua. I would work just as hard, if not harder. of 400,000 Rupiah, or about 40 US small and bare, no more than 30m xmiss her very much, but we were to dollars!  Those are prices that would 30m and the few surrounding hutsmeet again soon. We arrived at our first stop, Kumbuge- make you blink in a supermarket back were all made of local rough cut tadi, in the late afternoon after a gru-We finally hit the trail at 7.30 a.m. home, but absolutely unheard of out timber with palm frond roofs. There eling nine hours on the trail. The small here in the jungle! John is not one were only four huts in all: the men’sIt was a very long, tough day. Many village of less than 50 people was one to be speechless under most circum- hut, two family huts for wives andsteep inclines and declines, as al- of the most remote villages we had stances, but this floored him.  young children and the Ugai, orways seems to be the case on day visited so far. The men were wearing dance house, which was very muchone of any expedition. Flat ground ‘koteka,’ the traditional penis gourds It was clear we were not really wel- the centrepiece of the village.doesn’t exist in the interior of Papua that cover the penis and are held in come in the village but there must 58 59
  • the tr ail felt pr etty As alw ay s, the first day on ain, w ith the steep terr ro ug h as w e gr appled d sw in ging br idgesSociety is structured so that men That night, there was no dance andspent their nights around a fire in the we were allowed to sleep in the giant hungry le eches, full ri vers anmen’s house that they often share dance house on the trampoline floor,with some of their prized pigs. The well worn from the hundreds of feet for over nine ho urs.men tell stories late into the night that had danced for many nights inand sometimes through to dawn, past rituals. dozing off from time to time. The John and I camped in the dance roomwomen and children sleep separately and our porters slept in the kitchenin the family huts and deliver food to and kept the fire burning all night tothe men through the night to sustain provide protection from the spirits.their storytelling. John put up his mosquito net, but IThe Ugai is unusual in both con- didn’t bother. Malaria is common atstruction and use. It comprises a these altitudes and is by far the big-kitchen and a sleeping room with gest cause of death in this region, butearth floors by the entrance and the I felt lucky.focal large inner ‘dance room,’ with As we settled down, Chief Hasabudiits raised, bouncy floor made of walked into to our ‘bedroom,’ and see-young springy saplings. ing I had no mosquito net, shruggedPeople walk huge distances from and said: “No matter, the mosquitoessurrounding villages to visit this in Kumbugetadi always stay outside.”Ugai and often stay for several days. That night, he was proven right.At night, under the low light of a It rained most of the night andcouple of native bamboo torches, the Ugai roof leaked exactly abovethey sing and dance and jump up where we were sleeping. Weand down on the bouncy floor until moved, but not before our sleep-the small hours so the whole building ing bags were nicely moist.moves and shakes.At these ‘night dances’ boys and girlsmeet and greet each other, exchangegifts and, unseen in the dark by theirparents, set up liaisons and sexualencounters. This is the Moni versionof speed dating, and is one traditionalritual that does not sit comfortablywith the church. 60
  • The ‘Koteka ’ or penis gourd is grown locally and may come in various lengths and widths to suit all needs. Interestingly they always point upwar ds. Sometimes, a ball of leaves is stuffed in the top opening so that the conten ts which, apart from the obvious, may also include tobacco, traditional money and other valuable possessions, remain a myster y.62 63
  • The Villag e of Kumbug etadi is tin y. d I t is in the middle of no wher e an we pr obably the most remo te villag e re had visited so far. The atmosp he was dark and foreboding.64 65
  • The village chief, Hasabudi, tenderly held his youngson as he sat in the centre of the village watchingus as we arrived. He didn’t look too pleased tosee us, but nevertheless allowed us to sleep inthe ‘Ugai ’ (Dance House) which was very muchthe centerpiece of the tiny village. 66 67
  • Friday, 24 April, Kumbugetadi– Suddenly, my ‘wheels’ fell off. Kumbugetadi, 6½ hours I collapsed, shivering, dizzy, feverish We got up, damp but cheerful, at first and so weak that I could not stand. light, had breakfast, packed up our What on earth was going on? I had wet gear and set off at 7 am, feeling had malaria several times, but had fine and looking forward to the day. never experienced anything like this We set a good jungle pace that would in more years of jungle work than I get us to our goal by mid-afternoon.  care to remember. First was a one-hour descent that Five weeks previously, I had a bout of was so steep we had to use tree roots Dengue Fever and was hospitalised for steps and handholds. Leaches in Jakarta for several days. Maybe, I continued to pounce on us, as they hadn’t fully recovered. Whatever the had the day before, and sucked what reason was, my body just gave up. blood they could, until we discov- Should we try to press on or cancel ered them clinging to our arms, legs, the visit to the remote villages, and stomachs and where ever else they instead, figure out how to get a sick could grab a bite. Ripping them off man back to the village we had left left the spot itching and bleeding, that morning? helping the next batch of leeches to hone in on the scent of fresh blood. After a long and pretty emotional discussion with John, it was decidedWe rolled out our ma ts on the spr ingy At least, I suppose we served as part of the food chain. that we had to turn back and try tosap ling floor of the Ugai and apart from At the bottom of the descent, John reach Kumbugetadi. While it would have nothing tangible to offer it wasgetting wet under a leaky roo f we had , and I performed our morning ablu- tions before we crossed the main at least in the right direction towardsa reasonable and spr ingy night’ sleep s help. To keep going further into the river for the ascent on the other side. interior, further from help, could haveaf ter the firs t day’ gruellin g nine hours s It must have been over 300 metres put everyone at risk; not an accept- down and 300 metres back up again, able optionon the trail. probably about equivalent to down Of course, that was the only decision and up a couple of 40-storey build- ings—except there are no stairs in the circumstances, but I was furi- or handrails! ous, delirious and devastated all at the same time. In all likelihood, it felt like By mid-morning, we had covered I was giving up my only chance to some serious ground and were mid- complete the Moni Trail, and with only way up the next mountain to the sky. four days to go to the finishing line! 69
  • I staggered off into the forest to deal The reality was we either had to make I tried to clean myself up as best I dragged, they thought that anotherwith my feelings in private. From his the steep climb back to the ‘dark’ could in a stream and then rolled hunting party ahead of them hadexpression, it was clear that John village of Kumbugetadi or else sleep out my mat in the Ugai, and tried to killed a big pig in the forest andunderstood what was going on and out for the night. Sleeping out would sleep. The Ugai was dark and the high dragged it down to the river to cleanhe waited patiently on the track, chat- probably not have been fatal, as apart smoke-blackened ceiling kept it rea- it in preparation for cooking. Whenting with the porters. from snakes, there are few dangerous sonably cool. they found no pig entrails by the creatures in this part of the world, but river, they were puzzled and couldn’tAfter about fifteen minutes, having After a while, the room filled up with being under cover from the rain at figure out what had happened.gained some sort of control, what seemed like the whole village, night had many obvious advantages! Now, they had their answer.I returned to the group and apolo- led by Chief Hasabudi. Hasabudi I was the ‘dead pig.’gised for my awful performance. So once again, we set off at a means ‘Empty Power’ or ‘Powerless.’ crawl, across the river and up the A strange name was given to him byIt was time to turn back! mountain that at that point looked his parents to protect him from evilTogether, we set off in silence back insurmountable. spirits and the devil. Many Monis be-down the steep path to the river. The lieve that a horrible name will protect The return journey took over threeMoni porters were a lifesaver and their children from the devil. hours with many stops, sometimes I shall never forget Kumbugetadi,supported and held on to me all the every few metres. I certainly would The villagers were very concerned wild, remote and untouched, butway, but by the time we reached the not have made it at all, but for the about my survival and they sat and sadly, in my mind, it will always beriver, I was beaten. Moni hands that pushed and pulled chatted around me so that I would not the place that ‘may’ mark the end ofWhile John and some of the porters me along the slippery, winding, be alone. I felt very secure surround- the Moni trail, at least for me.watched over me, the others climbed vertical path. ed by tribesmen with their bows and What would happen next? That wasback into the forest with their bush arrows, bare-breasted women and The hours dragged by as I swayed like the 64-thousand dollar question. Weknives. When they returned, they many curious children, but rarely had a drunken sailor on a rough sea, but somehow had to try and make it backwere carrying stacks of large leaves I felt so ill and sick at heart. by late afternoon there were signs of to Tomosiga over the next few days,and ferns which they made up into a human habitation and it was with as there was little food in Kumbuge-bed on the riverbank. great relief that we finally inched tadi. How would the fever play out?As I lay there willing myself to re- our way into the village and made a I would have to be carried, so planscover so that maybe, just maybe, we beeline for the dance house… Home were made for six men from the vil-could turn around and head back sweet home! In the early evening, a travelling lage to carry this oversized ‘wild pig,’ atowards Bugalaga, John lifted my feet I knew that I would be told ‘I told Moni hunting party arrived in the vil- task they performed often. A stretcherfrom the river and placed them on you so’, going to Papua so soon after lage. They had walked along the same would be made and four men woulda rock out of the water. I will always dengue, but I had done this kind of path as us and when they learned carry while two men caught theirremember that gentle gesture. thing for much of my working life what had happened, they looked at breath, and then they would rotate.No luck with the mind over body as a geologist and wasn’t worried. me and roared with laughter: As fortune would have it, it rained allstuff and after two hours on the side Trips like this are not to be given up ‘So that is the dead pig!’ night long and the fever developedof the river, the shaking and vomit- lightly, and nor is an opportunity to They explained excitedly that when further. Not a highlight of my careering started. complete the Moni Trail. Still, we live they had seen the damage to the and night is always the worst time, and learn, regardless of the advanced paths, where I had fallen and been when fevers generally spike. age we reach! 70 71
  • The ‘Dead Pig ’ passed out on a bedof leaves by the river. Af ter a We went straight back to the Ugai to restcoup le of hours, we had no choice and hope for a recovery. Chief Hasabudibut to continue the struggle towards and the villagers stayed close to keep anKumbugetadi if we wer e to arri ve eye on things.before dark. Soon a hunting party arrived and joined us 72 in the Ugai. 73
  • Saturday, 25 April, Kumbugetadi– It was a staggering sum of money in ing betel nut and watching intently. eat your rectum), to Aga ndola sigigaWolambimbuta, 6 hours these remote parts of the jungle, and Why was he here? pa nua (I will eat your sore red rec- when John told me of the ‘generous’ tum). If the greetings go that far youIt was a great relief to see some early Ignoring Hasabudi, we greeted the offer, I bolted, or more accurately know you are really good friends!light. As I was still a mess, we decided gathered villagers in the traditional rolled, off the stretcher as John toldto stay in Kumbugetadi for another Moni way. It is difficult to compare ‘I will eat the chief that we would somehowday, but eventually concluded that it your breast,’ let alone the more make it without his help, even if we The Moni ‘handshake’ is not like ours.would be better to try to push on intimate Moni greetings with ‘The slept out in the jungle.  It is performed by crocking the indexback towards Tomosiga in case things weather is quite chilly today’ in an finger and putting it firmly betweengot worse. A hush fell over the village as we English village, or with ‘G’day you old the crocked index finger and second set off like a troop of ants, with the bastard’ in a small Australian town.We went for the plan that six people finger of the person being greeted. meanest-looking, most muscular por- Lots of room for misunderstanding aswould carry me tied onto a simple Both participants squeeze hard, and ter, Lukius, given the job of being my cultures mix and certainly after livingstretcher made from two poles and simultaneously pull their fingers minder and main source of strength with the Moni, the words ‘Hello, howsome rice sacks. When the stretch- away, producing a loud clicking and propulsion. After an interest- are you?’ and a cursory handshake willer was built, I tested it for size. A tight noise, similar to the sound we make ing start to the day we were lurching now forever seem rather mundane.fit, and I would have to keep my legs by clicking the thumb and second along the trail by 8 a.m.and head well tucked in and hold on finger together. As we were making our polite ‘eat mypretty tightly. After around four hours and many breast’ greetings, Hasabudi shouted This is repeated many times while collapses later, with a lot of pushing loudly to John. I didn’t understandMy bottom had just touched the slapping ones chest with the other and dragging, we came to a small a word, but it sounded bad. In anystretcher when Chief Hasabudi, who hand and saying ‘Amakane.’ Amak- ridge-top village. With five huts, it event, I didn’t have much fight lefthad been watching the proceedings, ane does not mean ‘hello’ or even was not unlike Kumbugetadi and once in me, so we would just have to faceapproached us. He demanded one ‘how are you’ as one might expect. again there was much betel nut chew- whatever was coming.million Rupiah per man for carrying It means: ‘Eat my breast,’ and is the ing, many gourds, bows and arrows,the stretcher to the next village, and ‘least intimate’ of all the vivid Moni To my great relief, Hasabudi broke bare breasts and pigs everywhere.that was less than half of the way to greetings. With increasing familiarity into a big red betel nut smile, spat anTomosiga. In total, he wanted six mil- Chief Hasabudi, the ‘six-million-Ru- the greetings become more colourful. impressive red betel nut spray thatlion Rupiah or around 600 US dollars. piah man’ had taken a different path The familiarity scale moving swiftly must have travelled a couple of me- and arrived before us, and he now on through: Aga ba nua (I will eat tres and said he had just come alongGood timing and Hasabudi had cer- squatted on the edge of the grassy vil- your faeces); Aga ndolapa nua (I will to check that we were alright and hetainly picked up the smell of a com- lage with his bow and arrows, chew-mercial opportunity. 74 75
  • didn’t want us to be angry with him. enough but, as he explained, to helpWhat a diplomat! cure her, the villagers had slashed her open many times around her kidneysWith the best smiles we could man- using their bamboo knives to let theage we assured him that we were ‘bad blood’ out. Our companion wasnot angry with him, although from in no doubt at all that having hadmy viewpoint I am not sure that was ‘proper’ medical treatment she wouldentirely true. Nevertheless, it was a now be fine.relief and we rested and chatted for awhile and then pushed on. We had heard of many cases similar to this on our travels. Generally, theBy early afternoon, after many more husband is not punished in any waybone-wrenching ups and downs, or even regarded as having donewe arrived at Wolambimbuta, a very anything wrong. By Moni tradition, abeautiful and safe village of a few wife, who has been bought and paidhuts and a little church set around for by pigs, shells or whatever, is hera central grassy area. The village husband’s possession and he can dowas all but deserted as everyone had with her as he pleases.gone to Tomosiga for a pig feast. Thevillage was surrounded by rich gar- Our new friend was himself travellingdens and we ate very well on papaya, with two of his wives, his sister andsabi (Moni asparagus) and jambu (an several of his children.Indonesian fruit). We had a reasonable night’s sleepSitting outside the church where we on the wooden church pews. Fortu-would sleep, an old man with a bird’s nately, we had draped our tarpaulinbeak through his nose and a very im- over the entire building in case ofpressive gourd came and sat with us. rain, which of course did come. This was not like rain in England; it wasHe explained that in the hilltop vil- made, I laid on i t When the stretcher was torrential and deafening, and felt likelage we had passed through earlier, a n came the six million the entire annual rainfall of England ready to be carr ied. Theman had beaten his wife so badly that had fallen on the little church in for tha t plan!he had nearly killed her. She was leftbarely conscious, badly bruised and one night. Rupiah pr ice tag. So much set of f on foot wi thwith internal injuries and bleeding. We had no choice bu t toThe beating would have been bad the task of dr ag gin g Lukius Igapa being given 76 me along the tr ail.
  • Lukius provided much neededsupport all along the way.Without his help who knows whatwould have happened.He certainly saved my bacon,or maybe even saved me frombecoming bacon. 78 79
  • This Moni gentleman hadcertainly mastered the artof creating a harmoniousfamily unit. He was travellingwith his two wives, severalchildren and his sister as wellas his bow and arrows just incase of problems. 80 81
  • With great relief we reached the colourful , village of Wolambimbuta af ter a challenging six hours lurching along the trail. We covered the little wooden church with our tarpaulin in case of rain. The low wooden pews that we slept on were quite a contrast to the dance floor of82 the Ugai in Kumbugetadi.83
  • Sunday, 26 April, Wolambimbuta– After four hours, we came to the vine crowd was gathered to welcome us. If a Moni mother has lost a baby boyTomosiga, 8 hours bridge we had crossed just a few days Many of the villagers were weeping to sickness, she may dress her next earlier but we were now going the in sympathy and handshakes, hugs baby boy in girl’s clothes to fool theIt was Sunday and John preached in other way. We rested beneath the and intimate greetings were plentiful. devil into thinking the child is a girl.a brief service in the church before bridge and panned for gold using the Finally, we were safe. She believes it was the devil that hadwe left the village at around 8.30 a.m. lid of one of our cooking pots. killed her child as the devil seems toThankfully, I was stable, but the fever Lois, Mary and Alex were in their hut kill only baby boys.made my joints ache and moving Gold is found in this river, but we eating a late lunch so after a briefabout was a painful task. didn’t manage to get any. No surprise ‘hello’ we went up the airstrip to get Protecting their children from the as the water was fast flowing and not set up in the Camat’s building where devil is a common Moni theme and‘Meze’ was the obvious solution so a good trap for gold. That being said, we would again stay. Then, it was we had come across many examplesthe porters climbed into a nearby alluvial gold is found in abundance back to the girls’ hut for some sweet of how this is done. Tradition hascreek and returned with large bunch- in many rivers in the area and we had potatoes and greens and a catch-up. it that a horrible name prevents thees of the stuff. come across many active river allu- devil from killing children, as he As it got dark, Lois put on a biblical‘Meze’ is a huge Papuan stinging vial workings in previous years. doesn’t like bad names. Examples of film in the little church and Alex andnettle. When the leaves are rubbed names we encountered are: Wogo ba We then climbed up a ridge for an I sat outside chatting under a tree.on the skin the pain is excruciating sama (Pig shit girl), or Uga tawa bo hour or so, pulling ourselves up by It was so good to see Alex and herand brings up ugly welts and blisters. (Tree without fruit) and of course our roots and vines, and then dropped vivaciousness helped me to recoverBut, after a few agonising minutes, friend, Chief Hasabudi (Powerless), in into the stream that would take us to my spirits. I am very lucky to have thethe pain subsides, taking with it the Kumbugetadi. the base of the airstrip at Tomosiga. family I do; Alex on hand and Katedeeper internal pain or fever. I had and James, at this moment, in Jersey In some extreme cases, babies areused ‘meze’ many times before on our We cut in and out of the forest many with Vivien. not given a name at all until they aretreks and it certainly beats Ibuprofen times to skirt around waterfalls. The several years old. If the devil can’tor Panadol, hands down. rainforest provided welcome relief A Moni woman joined us, carrying call the children by name, he can’t from the fast-flowing water. Being her baby in a net, and when I askedHaving rubbed meze leaves pretty kill them. The best chance of survival swept downstream was to be avoided if the baby was a boy or a girl Alexmuch all over, my skin was well and in these parts is to be a girl with no if at all possible. laughed as she pointed to the sabo, atruely blistered, but my fever had sub- name at all. traditional grass skirt that the childsided and I was able to move relative- At the base of the airstrip, we had a was wearing. Obviously, the child wasly free of pain. bath before the final climb to Tomo- a girl, or was she? siga and relative safety. Word of ourSo we set off in a meze-fuelled haze. ordeal had reached Tomosiga and a 84 85
  • The journey fr om Wolambimbu ta back to Tomosiga took ar oundMeze, the gian t potentPapuan nettle pain killer, eig ht ho urs, partly thr ough themakes all the differen ce forest and partly in rivers.to feverish joints. 86 87
  • Monday, 27 April, Tomosiga be killed by Henok. The pigs were tied for some Moni speeches about noth- such is the challenge of combining to a small tree ready to be shot by an ing in particular. Comments came traditional ways with those of theWhen we got up at dawn John called arrow to the heart, if all went well. If back from all directions and it was church and no harm to have a betGunther, the helicopter pilot, to make the arrow hit a lung or the intestines, like a huge family meal with all the each way I suppose!arrangements for him to take us to death would come more slowly with a usual arguments and differencesPogapa with the girls, which would A church service followed the feast. lot of squealing and spraying of blood of opinion.save us 5 hard days of walking. For the first hour, Alex and I pre- as we had seen elsewhere. When everyone had eaten their fill it ferred to chat under our tree. Alex hadThat done, it was time to thank and These pigs were killed quickly and was the turn of the dogs and the live enjoyed being in Tomosiga, but shepay our porters who had done such thrown on to a fire to burn off the fur. pigs to clean up whatever scraps they would like to have been more physi-a fantastic job of taking care of us. While the cooking rocks were being could find. cally active. This would come in theThey were Henok Purzau, Puna heated the pigs were butchered and next few days on the trek we plannedPurzau (his wife), Openial Magalepa, The orphaned son of Pastor Lukas the base layers of leaves and vegeta- to the Zombandoga. Alex had fitted inDepimus Purzau, Pianus Purzau, Mar- sat with us. Sadly, the Pastor and his bles were placed in the cooking pit. very well in the remote village set-tianus Purzau (a child), Lukius Igapa, wife had both died the previous year ting, as she does anywhere, and waswho had looked after me, and Zoke- When the rocks were hot enough, when a mystery fever killed around like a magnet to the many childrenrina Igapa (his wife). they were wrapped in banana leaves 25 people in Tomosiga. Ba Mala was who always surrounded her. and placed in the cooking pit using only five years old and had the tell-When payments had been made and giant wooden tongs. Then the dead tale orange hair from malnutrition, a As I made my way back to our hut, Iplans for the next trip discussed, Alex pigs went in along with more vegeta- swollen belly full of worms, and the bumped into an old man I had firstarrived at our hut saying the women bles and the pit was closed over with typical ‘green candle’ nose. met three years ago in the tiny villagehad left extra early for the gardens to banana leaves and weighed down of Agisiga. He had laughed so muchcollect vegetables for the celebration Ba Mala means ‘Shit arrow,’ and is with more hot rocks. Ninety minutes at our archery competition in Agisigapig feast. She had missed the chance another example of a horrible name later, the pit was opened, steamed when my arrows flew out sidewaysto go with them as she normally did, given to a child to protect him from pork and vegetables retrieved, and and nearly hit him. He now laughedso we asked Henok to guide us down the devil. the feast started. some more as he recounted the storyto the river, so we could walk into the Lukas and his wife had lost several to his companions on the airstrip.jungle to explore. The villagers ate in groups, men male children and had chosen this together, and women and children Moni bows and arrows are a work ofWhen we returned to the village, prep- name to protect little Ba Mala. John separately. With the whole village art. The bows are made from eitherarations for the pig feast were well was disappointed that Pastor Lukas gathered, it was a good opportunity black palm (bondomo) or red palmunderway. Three small pigs were to had followed this pagan custom, but 88 89
  • (akakele) and the string is made fromcane. When not in use, it is not strungin order to preserve the elasticity ofthe 6-foot bow.The arrow shafts are made of bambooand the heads are interchangeable.There are four main types of arrowheads. Those for hunting birds have a‘fan head’ to increase the chance of ahit’; those for hunting pigs are ‘ellipti-cal’ so that the pig bleeds out; thosethat are used in tribal wars are long,hard and sharp for maximum distance,accuracy and penetrating power; andthose used to hunt marsupials havebarbs so that the marsupial cannot pullthe arrow out with its ‘hands.’ The crew of porters who got usUsing a bow and arrow requires a back to Tomosiga in one piece.lot of strength and skill, as our poorshowing in Agisiga had demonstrated.From about 25 metres we had triedto hit a stationary banana stump, theheight of a man, using accurate wararrows. The locals found the targetmany times, John did so once butGeorge and I failed miserably. We weremore of a danger to the spectatorsthan we were to the banana stump.With a good night’s sleep, myrecovery continued. A mother and child from Tomosiga. 90
  • This w as the firs t pig feas t tha tseen. A f ter a pr Alex had ayer of thanks,pigs w er e cleanl the three y killed by Henokbo w and pig arr using his ows.This is a vi vid ri tu al and no t one fovegetarians or fa r in t-hear ted mea t ea ters.
  • The hair is burned of f the deadpigs in a fir e and then theyar e gu tted and bu tchered onbanana lea ves in pr ep ar ationfor cooking in the pit. 96 97
  • cookin g rocksUsing giant wooden ton gs, the hot be wr app ed inar e mo ved to the cookin g pit to in the pit withbanana lea ves before being placed s. The pit is thenthe lay ers of pork and veg etable hot rocks andclosed over with more lea ves andthe cookin g begins. 98 99
  • Ea tin g is the most import an t part and it is done in gr oups. The men ea t together and women and children ea t separa tely. There is a lot of discussion thr oughou t the meal. e p it is op ened n ho u r and half th ,A f ter abo u t a d vegetables m ed w ild p ig, anto r eveal s tea tely delicio us and, t juices. Absolusoaked in mea ganic’ to boo t.o f co urse, ‘or 100 101
  • The feast contin ues for about anhour. Nothin g goes to waste and anylef tovers are wrapp ed in bananaleaves to be taken home for later.Alex made friends with some of theTomosiga residents but didn’t seem tohave much luck in cheer ing them upjudging by their fierce expressions. 102 103
  • This was the second time I had met this Making Moni bows and arrows takes agentleman with the bear d, hat and knife. lot of skill and patience. This bow is beingThe first time was in Agisiga at our archery ‘sanded down’ using rough local leaves.competition when I near ly hit him with an The arrows are each designed for aarro w. Fortuna tely, he saw the funn y side! 104 specific victim. 105
  • in the case of pregnant women, the * Heart problems, diabetes, kidneyTuesday, 28 April, Tomosiga–Pogapa It was a 45-minute steep descent, but limited nutrients go to the baby and problems and cancer are rare, as the path was dry so we had no prob-We were up before dawn, and a call the mother often becomes malnour- there is little meat, oil, or processed lems. After resting by the vine bridgeto Gunther revealed that they were ished. food in the diet. The lifestyle differs as people crossed with huge loads instill trying to repair the helicopter. A completely from that in the West their nets, we did the washing and * Babies are breast-fed for two tofurther call led to another call within and there is no obesity at all. were watched by three young girls three years. Children are only givenan hour and I wondered if we would who kindly gave us some wing beans solid food when they ask for it, and * Goitre is declining due to the usefly today at all. But, it wouldn’t matter to eat. They seemed surprised to see then it is first chewed by the mother of iodised salt and cretinism is alsoif we didn’t, we were safe. a gray haired and bearded old man so the child doesn’t choke. A Moni on the decline, as mothers are nowA delayed chopper meant plenty of washing clothes. child may therefore walk and talk generally getting sufficient iodine.time for a relaxed visit to the toilet before eating solid food. After the climb back to Pogapa we * The Moni appear to have around anear our house. In I went, shorts off, hung out the washing. That was the * There are no dairy products at all in 20-year-lower-life expectancy thangot positioned above the drop, squat- same climb that had led to Alex’s the Moni diet. Milk is regarded as in the West. 60 is regarded as oldted as best I could and suddenly I was decision not to go on the trek. Now obnoxious to the Moni, and in any and to reach 70 is to be very old.surrounded by a swarm of bees and she was able to do it without a sec- event they have no animals capablea herd of very big black biting ants. I After the discussion with Lois, we all ond thought. of producing milk in any meaning-got out as fast as possible, bitten but got together to eat and for some rea- ful way.not stung, and thankfully without At the house, Lois told me about a son, we were overcome by uncontrol-slipping into the pit below. So much number of medical issues that are * The main practical needs of the lable laughing fits that went on andfor a relaxed session on the loo with fundamental to the Moni. Moni are: clean usable water; clean on. It was lovely, and was perhaps athe local Tomosiga Times. closed toilets; and smoke-free sleep- sign of relief. * The three main causes of death ing places.The helicopter showed up at around amongst the Moni are: malaria, both As the day came to an end, a call to11 am. The loads were already organ- falciparum and vivax, as mosqui- * Infant mortality is high, possibly Vivien and Kate revealed that all wasised and as soon as Gunther landed, toes breed in pig pools; pneumonia, up to or even over 50% and has the fine after Jack’s birth, although Katethe six of us climbed in and we from inhaling smoke in the huts same causes as adult death with had a bit of the post baby blues.were off. The weather and visibility and exposure to the elements; and added problems from the birthing We all had a great night’s sleep!were superb. diarrhea, from dirty drinking water. process which is often carried out alone outside in a garden plot.On arrival in Pogapa, we went to * Malnutrition is common and theJohn’s house and after drying and orange coloured hair results from a * Tuberculosis and sexually-transmit-folding our black parachute tarpaulin lack of protein that could be fixed by ted diseases such as HIV are on thefor the next trip, Alex and I collected eating more wing beans, soya and rise due to increased mixing withup everyone’s very dirty clothes and peanuts. The big extended stomachs lowlanders and trips by the Moni towalked down to the Kemabu, to do are due to roundworms. the outside world. The increasingthe washing. incidence of HIV is a great concern * The traditional diet of greens and and thought to be reaching a criti- sweet potato is generally good, but cal point. 106 107
  • The Tomosiga toilet. Lots of fresh air, good jungle views and lots of wildlife.108 109
  • When Gunther thefinally arrived in ter,repaired helicop Having said our goodbyes, particularly to our porters who we had depended kedw e w ere all pac on so heavily, we somehow all managed go.up and ready to to fit into the helicopter for the return trip to Pogapa. 110 111
  • Wednesday 29 April, Pogapa–Kobai, I had done the walk to Kobai before age the locals to decide which of two that our porters came running up the5½ hours and the track was good, but steep. proposed airstrips should be built. hill to see what was going on. Maybe Firstly down to the Kemabu, then a Secondly, he needed to check which they thought that the white folksAfter a breakfast of mouldy (as we steep and very hot climb up a grassy families had lost their gardens in the were killing one another?had been travelling with them for ridge, before lots of ups and downs recent landslides so that relief foodmany days) but very delicious toasted We moved our sleeping mats to the under the cool forest canopy. Finally, and supplies could be given to them,bagels, John, Alex and I set off for the centre of the room, put all baggage on to the Salemama airstrip just be- and thirdly he aimed to initiate set-village of Kobai in the Zombandoga. and food well away from us to cre- low Kobai which had recently been ting up a kindergarten in Kobai. ate a perimeter, so we could see anyIt is a stunningly beautiful area, with partly destroyed by a landslide. The Zombandoga supports around cockroaches coming and as an ad-steep hills and gardens on the slopes, We arrived in Kobai at 2 pm, set up 2,000–3,000 people or about 10% of ditional defence we put rice sacksand good tracks to walk along. That our gear in the church at the top of the Moni population. Beautiful, tall under our mats to prevent the littlewas bliss for us, as where we had come the village and headed out for a wash Casuarina trees are everywhere. The beasts from coming up the cracksfrom, there were few trails of any sort. in Herman’s compound. bark and trunks are used for building between the floorboards.As we walked away from Pogapa, houses and the leaves are nitrogen- Many of the huts in Kobai now had It was not a good night’s sleep.everyone sang ‘Happy Birthday.’ I had fixing and enrich the soil. In the late a chimney, which they didn’t onforgotten it was my birthday, but what afternoon Alex, John and I sat for my previous visit in 2005. A hole ina great start to the first day of being ages looking down the Zombandoga the roof is covered by a raised piece54, almost an old man for a Moni! valley discussing these things. of tin, cloth, or palm leaves to drawOn the way to Kobai, we met Herman smoke and stop the rain getting in. After supper of sweet potato, taro andTipegau walking towards Pogapa. These chimneys greatly reduce the greens followed by some of Joy’s deli-Herman had trekked with us previ- amount of smoke in the huts and cious and fermented sweet rolls, weously from Pogapa to Grasberg and hopefully will reduce the amount of went to bed on the church floor.earlier that year he had gone part pneumonia and respiratory disorders. Suddenly, we were surrounded byof the way up the great mountain The weather was beautiful. Under hundreds of huge shiny brown cock-of Puncak Jaya with George and his the clear blue skies and cooled by a roaches. John noticed them first,party. Puncak Jaya is one of the seven light breeze, we just hung around the tipped us off, and the three of us wentpeaks of the world. Herman turned village. John’s visit had three pur- on a killing spree using our sandalsaround and walked with us to keep poses. Firstly, he wanted to encour- and boots. This made so much noiseus company. 112 113
  • The trek from Pogapa to Kobai star ted with a steep climb dow n to the Kemabu and then a long hot exposed climb up into the shelter of the rain forest.114 115
  • Amazingly, ther ewere tw o airstripsunder constr uctionat the same timenear the village ofKobai. The independentminded villagerscould not agree on one location so had op ted for tw o. John aimed to resolve which one would go ahead. 116 117
  • Many Monis suffer from respiratory Kobai is very beau tiful and fertile withproblems partly as a result of the weather man y producti ve food gardens. Duringbut also due to sleeping in smoky huts. our stay ther e, we ate plen tiful fres hNow many of the huts have chimneys which vegetables that would certainly fetch ahopefully will help reduce the problems. 118 good price in Cheq uers supermarket. 119
  • John with his bow and arro ws, is accompanied by the local Pastors and surr ounded by potential of pupils as he says a pray er at the prop osed site the new kindergarten school in Kobai.Thursday, 30 April, Kobai–Pogapa develop and promote Pogapa coffee,3 hours 45 minutes which has a very low acid content and had recently been chosen by aJohn held a village meeting in the team of international experts as theirmorning to discuss his three points. preferred coffee.Moni people have very strong anddifferent opinions on pretty much A keen exponent of sustainable de-everything, so John had quite a man- velopment projects, Robert is a mineagement task ahead. of information on growing things in the highlands of Papua. The issue isWe left Kobai by mid morning af- not growing the produce, but find-ter visiting the site of the proposed ing a regular and reasonably pricednew kindergarten. The return walk means of exporting the products totook only 3 hours 45 minutes and the wider world.we arrived in Pogapa at 2 pm. Goodweather and a dry track gave us a The funny thing is that Robert hasgood pace. We took a cool bath in a a flat right next door to mine inlimestone waterfall below the Pogapa Jakarta, but we only met in Pogapa!airstrip. Wonderful! Now, I often visit Robert for a cup of Pogapa coffee.Robert Capstick, a 60-somethingEnglish agronomist working with John lit the log fire in his living roomMineserve, Freeport’s exploration and everyone sat around talkinggroup, was at John’s house. Robert’s before going to bed around 8 p.m.objective is to develop sustainable A fantastic night’s sleep!commercial agricultural projects forthe local communities. In Pogapa,among other things, he is helping to 120
  • Friday, 1 May, Pogapa After lunch of some more mouldy but still very delicious toasted bagels, We were up at 6 am. Lois and Mary Alex and I walked to the village of left on the Cessna for their home base Ingenenga on the trail to Mapa. We in the village of Hitadipa. We were took our time and the round trip took sorry to see them go and would miss around three hours. their company and particularly Lois’s loud and infectious laugh. In the evening, we sorted and packed soya bean, maize, long green bean, Alex and I sorted our gear, packed spinach, carrots and cabbage seeds rucksacks ready for the homeward for distribution to the 50 families who trip and then took more dirty clothes had lost their gardens in the recent to the limestone waterfall to do the landslides. Three months of rain in washing and have a bath. these highland areas had caused so We were joined by Ison, Belina’s much devastation and left many fam- younger brother. Belina is a local ilies starving. Now they faced starting Pogapa girl who looks after John and their gardens again from scratch. Joy’s house. Ison spoke Bahasa so The seed sorting and packing went we could communicate quite well. on well into the night. A good He carried the net with our washing night’s sleep. and stayed with us. A hair wash in Betadine shampoo helped get rid of dandruff and bugs. hingAlex and I bathed and did our was ter fallin this beautiful cool str eam wa tracktha t flows from limestone on thebelo w the upp er end of the Pog apa forairs trip. We of tem had compan y our domestic chores. 123
  • Robert Capstick and his assistant sort seeds on the porch of John’ house. s In the evening the seeds were counted and packed for distribution to families who had lost their food gardens in recent landslides.124 125
  • Saturday, 2 May, Pogapa is wet, salt-infused vines that can be eaten in their raw state, or dried for We got up at 6 a.m. and went to the ease of transport. They are delicious village market. The market happens with sweet potatoes. three times a week and all types of lo- cal produce are on sale. Dried bundles of these vines are put in a fire until all the plant material is Salt from the village of Wandai, about burned off, leaving only grey chunks 20 km to the northwest, also makes its of salt. These chunks are then col- way to market. In the western world, lected, pounded up, mixed with water we take salt for granted to the point and put into cylindrical holes in the where we often limit our intake to pre- ground that are lined with leaves. vent heart and blood pressure prob- When the cylinders of salt have ‘set,’ lems. Not so in the Moni lands, where they are again dried over a fire to salt is a rare and precious commodity. produce the final product: blocks of In times past, people would walk for brown to gray salt. as long as one month from far away In 2003, a two-inch block of salt to reach the salt well at Wandai. fetched 50,000 Rupiah (5 US dollars). A salt-water spring derives its This is a high price in Wandai, and salt by dissolution as it percolatesThe Pogapa market where although probably comparable in ab- through limestone and sediments. solute monetary value to what we pay The spring water is channeled intoall sorts of local produce in a supermarket for salt, the product a pool around 1 metre deep and 30 in the Moni lands is so much more metres in diameter created by a damfrom Pogapa and surrounding scarce. built by the local people. At the market, Alex tried some saltvillages are on sale three The process of obtaining salt starts when bundles of porous vines are and ‘buah merah.’ The salt was fine but the buah merah she didn’t liketimes a week. placed in the pool and left for up to a week to soak up the salt from the and spat it out, much to the amuse- ment of the watching crowd. spring water. The simplest product 127
  • Buah Merah (known as ‘daci’ locally) permission of the Kepala Desa or vil-means red (merah) fruit (buah). It is a lage head. Fair enough, so we went tohuge fruit, bigger than a watermelon, his house only to be told by his wifeand grows well in Papua. It is very nu- that he was in Timika.tritious, and the oil extracted from it Unable to visit the airstrip, we re-fetches a high price as it is reputed to turned to Pogapa. The round trip tookcure everything, from cancer to corns. about four hours and we were pleasedA group of women were waiting at to get back to the friendly haventhe house to sell us some nets and of Pogapa.bracelets, and after some lengthy We were completely knackered afternegotiating, we bought two small- the trip to Bilai and were fast asleepish nets at 80,000 Rupiah each, some by 8 pm.shell money for 10,000 Rupiah, a hatfor 75,000 Rupiah and two braceletsat 10,000 Rupiah each. w ell at Wandai.Mid-morning, Alex and I left to walk Salt fr om the salt e w onderful to Salt in fused vines arto Bilai, the Catholic village across the of salt add a ri chKemabu that we had so often lookedout on from Pogapa. It was a steep chew on and blocks ra ther bland sw eetwalk down to yet another vine bridge, taste to otherw ise po ta toes and yams.a hairy crossing as the bridge was inpoor repair, and then a steep climb up help to pr even tto the village. Bo th, of co urse, also .There were not many people around goitr e and cr etinismand as we climbed to where the newairstrip was under construction, wewere firmly told by an old woman thatwe couldn’t go any further without 128 129
  • Alex in white at the Pogapa market, watched by two local women who were amused to see her try the ‘buah merah.’ They were even more amused when she spat it out. Alex’ red mouth made herlook s as if she had been chewing betel nut and really got into the swing of things.130 131
  • e on the wayWe cr ossed this vine br idg Belai across theto the Ca tholic villag e of d then cr ossed i tKemabu fr om Pogapa an the other br idg eag ain on the way back as s br oken.we had planned to use wa 132 133
  • Sunday, 3 May, PogapaThe Sunday church service startedaround 9.30 a.m. and lasted almostuntil noon as the lengthy sermonswere given in both Moni and Bahasa.After a quick lunch, John distributedthe badly needed relief seed suppliesand hoes and spades to plant them. One Pastor gave the sermon in the Moni language and then the other translatedAlex and I walked to the base of theairstrip and met an old man and his it into Bahasa, the Indonesian nationalwife who were to travel with us to language it took a long time. ;Timika. We then walked to the Gov- This was followed by the lesson in Moniernment school we had visited on ourfirst day in Pogapa and on the way met and singing by the kindergarten children.two women who sold us a bunch ofgourds; small, medium, large and verylarge, to cover all possibilities.In the evening, Alex and I attemptedto cook supper but needed a lot ofhelp from Belina, as neither of us aredomestically gifted. 134
  • On Sunday af ternoon, it was time to distribu tethe much-needed seeds and tools that wouldbe used to rep lant the man y gar dens that hadbeen des troy ed by the devasta ting landslides. To finish the day Alex and Belina cooked supper. 136 137
  • GettinG Back 138 139
  • Monday, 4 May, the school, was ejected without much Tuesday, 5 May, Sentani–Jakarta But, we had to get back to normal. Af-Pogapa–Timika–Sentani ceremony and was given to one of the ter a workout at the local gym, that we We left Sentani at 8 a.m. after saying Moni airport porters as a live tip. didn’t really need, we went to a localThe interior part of the trip was over a sad goodbye to John and Joy in the restaurant, the Gourmet Garage, for aand we left Pogapa at around 8 a.m. Joy and the Moni kids from the school little airport lounge. We would miss drink and a meal.for the flight to Timika. were waiting for us at the airport in them very much. Sentani. It was a happy and tearful As Alex and I sat at the bar, we wereAlex and I went to see Ian Watson We arrived in Jakarta at 1:15 p.m. The reunion for one proud set of parents asked ‘what would you like to drink?’while John sorted out various stuff in trip was over and now the inevitable (minus rabbit). We looked long and hard at eachTimika and after a quick lunch at the reverse culture shock began, starting other……………Freeport base camp we went on to the The rest of the day was spent sorting with the appalling Jakarta traffic.airport to start our journey home. gear for the return to Jakarta. Should we have a beer, or should At my apartment in South Jakarta we not?At Timika airport, we checked in with We passed on our ‘first supper’ at the we unpacked our gear and gave ourthe Moni couple we had met on the Manna House and ate at home instead smoky washing to Ibu Sumiyati. WePogapa airstrip. They were on their so we could make the most of our last then sat for a while, stunned by ourway to Sentani to see their daughter, evening together. civilized surroundings. What a con-who was at the Sekolah Papua Harap- trast to where we had been!an (Papua Hope School). This wastheir first trip to Timika and they werevery apprehensive out of their ownfamiliar environment.As we helped them check in, one oftheir bags started to move around.When the guy at the check-in desknoticed this, he put his hand in thebag to see what was moving. Hesquealed and yanked out a terrifiedrabbit, whose teeth were embeddedin his hand. The rabbit, a present to 140 141
  • Back to Jakarta, back to the traffic, back to #112 Griya Prapanca, and back to the start of reverse culture shock. The trip was now really over. so much in PapuaWe had experi en ced had come tow ith John and Joy and .regard them as family g goodby e at theI t w as very sad sayinairp or t in Sentani. very much.We w ould miss them 142 143
  • Alex Carlile John Cutts John CarlileThe Free Spirit The Missionary The Geologist 144 145
  • tsAcknowledgemenI would like to thank Lans Brahmantyo,Rully Jatmiko, Chandra Rahmatillah, CelvieToramaya, Marryana Sutaryo and Bima Nurinand all the team at Afterhours Books.Also, thanks to John and Joy Cutts for makingthe trip possible.Most of all, thanks to Alex for coming along. 146 147
  • Dead Pig DiaryCopyright © 2010 John Carlile.All rights reserved. No part of this bookmay be reproduced in any form or by anyelectronic or mechanical means includinginformation storage and retrieval systemswithout permission in writing from thepublisher, except by a reviewer, who mayquote brief passages in a review.Designed by Afterhours BooksJl. Merpati 45, Jakarta 12870, Indonesia+62 (21) 8306819, info@afterhoursgroup.comFirst Edition.Digitally printed in IndonesiaPhotos & TextJohn CarlileCreative DirectorLans BrahmantyoCreative ManagerCelvie ToramayaGraphic DesignersRully JatmikoChandra RahmatillahMarryana SutaryoIllustratorsBima NurinDonald BasonDesign OperatorsMohammad NasrullahProductionReza InovaniSuparmanISBN978-602-97507-4-4 The Moni Trail remains an unfinished quest... 149
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  • Papua is extraordinary. Stretching 1,200 kilometresfrom east to west it covers a land area of over 422,000square kilometres, which is almost the size of Iraq.For several years now, three friends, John Cutts,George Tahija and I have lived and trekked for one ortwo weeks each year with members of the Moni Tribedeep in the interior of Papua, the remote eastermostfrontier province of Indonesia.Both are great travelling companions and on the trailit is true to say that we have almost literally been tothe ends of the Earth together. Unfortunately, Georgewas not along on this trip in 2009, but my 20-year olddaughter Alex was and we planned to complete themost rugged and remote section of the Moni Trail.For most of the trip, Alex was with John and I. It was agreat opportunity to experience the interior of Papuawith my daughter. That Alex was interested to comealong and spend some quality time with the old manwas wonderful.It has all been worth while…—John Carlilewww.afterhoursgroup.com 152