Rabu, 28 Desember 2011

“HOME SWEET HOME” (in Papua: 1968-1969)

“O- Sinim, hule-o, hule- o, who-a—wo . . . = “There is smoke on the settlement of Sinim” it means, somebody lives or is staying at Sinim.” (The first rhyme of Heageima Dani folk song)

During my Field research in Anthropology among the Heage Dani Tribe*, at the Baliem Gorge in Papua, I settled on a hill, the highest settlement in the valley, called Sinim in a big “Honay”: (a)n-O-uma-‘my home ‘ *1968-1969

It overlooked the whole Heage valley, from down the river Heage ( less than 2000 m above sea level) and all the way up to the ”Tom Molopug”- Nassau Mountain Range-Pegunungan Sudirman,more than 4300 m above sea level.

The house had been built using local materials and tools in the traditional way by the “Dani Heageima” people with their own architecture (design) following their culture values and custom. Based on my advice and supervision, it was built a bit larger and higher (inside diameter 8 m, and more than 8 m high), about twice than their average “honay”- men’s house-diameter 4.5 m and 3.5 m high.
(photo building "honay' by Prof.Karl Heider)

The round shaped wall is made from rough wooden planks ( chopped with a stone ax, wedged and split open with a hard-wooden stick), tied in its place using lianas, roots or rattan. The doomed thatched roof was constructed from sticks tied together then covered with grass.

(Photo Felling Tree and splitting wood by: Prof.Karl Heider)

I’ve designed a small double roof on top of the doomed roof, so that the smoke could easily escape outside. We used hardwood pegs as nails to fasten the doors, windows, table, chairs and other home- made furniture; At the center above the fire place, I’ve designed a pyramid shaped wooden cap, to catch the smoke and build a funnel-( tube made of dried bark of a tree), attached to it all the way to the top, for smoke escape.

The laundry lines were made of rattan vines, tied on wooden poles

My “lesoma”- kitchen, and a round thatched roof bathroom were built separated from the main building.

The “Asilimo”- courtyard, was wide and flat to hold more than one hundred people. At one side of the “asilimo” was a forest on level ground, the rest were steep ravines encircling the courtyard.

To speed up the construction of this house I’ve used modern tools like a Steel Bow-Saw and a drill (borrowed from my nearest neighbor and friend: Myron Bromley, a missionary-linguist, who lives in Tangma, another valley half a day’s walk from Sinim towards Wamena.

Last week I met and talk to Yuli Asipalek – one of the Papua student just graduated from “Institut Ilmu Pemerintahan Dalam Negeri” in Jakarta, fortunately she is the grand- daughter of “Meiyum Helukwa “-my “anak piara”- adopted son, in Heageima, 42 years ago. Yuli told me, that my house in Sinim is gone now, but its Asilimo the largest flat and highest Court yard in the Valley is still used nowadays for public gathering place, festivals, or soccer field.

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