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Saibai

Marukara 3 September 2014: A Dangerous Adventure with Indonesian Illegal Traders

The coastal region in the southern Papua New Guinea near the Indonesian border is notorious for the illegal cross-border trading activity. Indonesian traders often cross the sea border from Merauke in the west and venture to Papua New Guinean villages to do their unlawful business. This is a very dangerous journey, due to attacks from the pirates and possibility being caught by joint PNG—Australian border patrol. I could sense the over-cautious attitude in Herman—a Marind trader from Merauke, whom I saw one boat of three passengers floating on the sea near the Buzi village. Marind is a Papuan native tribe inhabiting Merauke, a big city and its surrounding regions at the Indonesian side of the border. Thus, as a dark-skinned and curly-haired Melanesian, Herman did not look any different from the PNG villagers in this area. It was Sisi who disclosed Herman’s Indonesian identity to me. Herman’s boat was heading from west to east, making a short stop in Buzi as he was to meet someone here. At that time, Sisi was about to cross the sea to Australia (Boigu island, only six kilometers away across Buzi), so she walked to the water and talked to Herman. “There is one [...]

May 19, 2015 // 6 Comments

Buzi 2 September 2014: Not As Paradise As It Seems

Being in such isolated place like Tais, I was totally at the mercy of my host. I could go nowhere without approval from Sisi the Tais woman who brought me here. I had been staying in Tais for more than a week. I wanted to see more places. I wanted to go to Mari, the neighboring village four hours away by walking where Sisi used to live. But she did not allow me, saying that people there would kill me. I wanted our group to depart earlier to Daru, so we could stop in Buzi or Sigabadaru, border villages face to face with Australian islands of Boigu and Saibai. Sisi also did not allow me, saying that the villages were full of raskol (rascals). “But Sisi, how can be raskol there? These are just little villages, everybody knows everybody,” protested me. “No, no. You markai are just foreigner, you never understand,” said Sisi, “These people are jealous people. They will kill you.” Tais, she said, was different from other villages nearby. Tais is so small, the people have abundant food, the church is strong; there is no drinking habit among the people, the village is always peaceful. But I was [...]

May 12, 2015 // 2 Comments

Daru 23 Agustus 2014: Nenek Moyangku Orang Pelaut

Menembus badai dan gelombang (AGUSTINUS WIBOWO) Nenek moyangku orang pelaut Gemar mengarung luas samudra Menerjang ombak tiada takut Menempuh badai sudah biasa Sisi Wainetti, Marcella, dan saya meringkuk dan berpelukan erat. “Jesus! Jesus!” Sisi mulai berteriak sekencang-kencangnya, seolah teriakan itu akan mendatangkan keajaiban kuasa dari langit untuk menyelamatkan kami. Marcella dan saya menimpali dengan teriakan yang sama dan sama kerasnya. Dinghy, perahu motor cepat yang kami tumpangi ini, terombang-ambing amukan ombak. Dinghy menghentak, kami para penumpang yang duduk berhimpitan terloncat. Pantat saya menghantam bilah kayu yang menjadi alas duduk, punggung saya seperti ditinju bertubi-tubi dan sakitnya merambat sampai ke tengkuk. Satu gulungan ombak yang lebih tinggi daripada manusia itu menerjang. Sisi berteriak, “Issaiah, cepat lakukan sesuatu! Kita akan tenggelam!” Terlambat. Ombak itu menghantam kami, menampar wajah saya dan semua dari enam penumpang di atas perahu kecil ini. Air sudah setinggi mata kaki di dasar perahu. Kami basah kuyup sekujur tubuh, buru-buru mengambil gelas plastik dan timba karet dan sepon untuk membuang air keluar perahu. Saya memeluk erat kamera yang sudah dibungkus plastik di balik jaket saya. Satu gelombang lagi menghantam perahu kami. “Oh, Jesus!” Sisi berteriak lagi. Saya mengenal Sisi baru dua hari lalu. Dia adalah putri angkat dari bidan [...]

January 20, 2015 // 12 Comments