Excerpts from ‘Pagan Tribes of Borneo’

Excerpts from The Pagan Tribes of Borneo by Hose, Charles, 1863-1929; McDougall, William, 1871-1938; Haddon, Alfred C. (Alfred Cort), 1855-1940

 

Raja White & Wise

“It is true that they are very unlike…the older philosophers, whose every action proceeded from a nice and logical calculation of the algebraic sum of pleasures and pains to be derived from alternative lines of conduct; but we ourselves are equally unlike that purely mythical personage. The Kayan or the Iban often acts impulsively in way which by no means conduce to further his best interests or deeper purposes; but so do we also. He often reaches conclusion by processes that cannot be logically justified; but so do we also. He often holds, and upon successive occasions acts upon, beliefs that are logically inconsistent with one another; but so do we also.” ~The White Raja of Sarawak

The Punan: First Contact

One of us (C.H.) had lived in the Baram district six years before succeeding in seeing a single Punan. The history of this first meeting with Punans may serve to illustrate their timidity, caution, and good feeling. On making a long hunting trip on the slopes of Mount Dulit, he took with him a Sebop who was familiar with Punans and their language. For some days no trace of them was seen; but one morning freshly made footprints were observed round about the camp. The following night a cleft stick was set up at some twenty paces from the camp with a large cake of tobacco in the cleft, and on the stick a mark was carved which would be understood by the Punans as implying that they were at liberty to take the tobacco. This is a method of opening communications and trade with them well known to the Klemantans. In the morning the tobacco had disappeared, and fresh foot prints showed that its disappearance was due to human agency. The following night this procedure was repeated, and in the course of the day Punan shouts were heard, coming from a distance of some hundreds of yards. The interpreter was sent out with instructions to parley and, if possible, to persuade the Punans to come into camp. Presently he returned with two shy but curious strangers, who squatted at some distance and were gradually encouraged to come into camp. After staying a few minutes and accepting presents of tobacco and cloth, they made off. On the following day they returned with eight male companions, bringing a monkey, a hornbill, and a rare bird, all killed with their poisoned darts; and they enquired how much rubber they should bring in return for the tobacco. They were told that no return was expected, but, understanding that animals of all sorts were being collected, they attached themselves to the party, lent their unmatched skill to adding to the collections, and brought in many rare specimens that now repose safely in the Natural History Museum of South Kensington.

Pregnancy & Superstition

The belief that [a] child will resemble in some degree the things which arrest the glance of his mother while she carries him is unquestioningly held and acted upon; hence the expectant woman seeks to avoid seeing all disagreeable and uncanny objects, more especially the Mais and the long-nosed monkey…she must not tie knots, she must not thrust her hand into any narrow hole to pull anything out. The taboos of the latter class are observed by the husband even more strictly, if possible, than by the wife.

The Giant fell & became a Compass

“Listen to my words. I am about to die. My brains are sago, my liver is tobacco. Where my head falls there the people will have much knowledge, where my feet lie will be the ignorant ones.” Then, his legs being cut through, he fell with a mighty crash, his head falling towards the sea, his feet pointing up river. (“This accounts for the fact that white men and Chinese know so many things, while the people of Borneo are ignorant” said our informant; but this was probably his own comment.) The Miris, of whom a thousand were killed by the fall of USAI, have beautiful hair, because his head fell in their district; but the other people have only such hair as grew on USAI’S limbs.

To ‘Run Amok’

The Dayak believe in a variety of demons whom cause madness in varying degrees. There are “amok” demons who cause tantrums, suicide, lunacy. They sometimes come from the swamp and are immortal characters whom throw themselves into mortal bodies.

Cross-Dressers

A peculiar and infrequent variety of Sea Dayak MANANG (medicine man) are the MANANG BALI. They are men who adopt and continuously wear woman’s dress and behave in all the ways like women, except that they avoid as far as possible taking any part in the domestic labor. They claim to have been told in dreams to adopt this mode of life; they are employed for the same purpose as the more ordinary MANANGS and they practice similar methods.

Disobedience = Devolution

A Kayan woman left her daughter to harvest rice, warning her not to eat any while left alone. Of course her daughter goes ahead and eats the rice and immediately sprouts hair all over her body. The girl is transformed into a DOK (MACACUS NEMESTRINUS), banished to the forest, and is forbidden to eat anything except that which is planted by humans.

NOTE: The Bible story of Eve eating the forbidden apple presupposes that we are no longer in Eden – and can never return (thanks, Eve!). The Kayan story above posits the same, but threatens banishment to Eden if we are disobedient. The Kayan story teaches discipline (waiting and not eating rice before its cooked) while Genesis teaches people that they are inherently disobedient.

Sweet Nothings before Death

Before killing pigs, Kenyahs will offer their animals an explanation and assure that they will not be eaten – because they are friends.

Muslim Pigs

In keeping with their own beliefs, Kayans figure that Muslims must refrain from eating pork because their ancestors are reincarnated as pigs.

Headhunting – from Ancient Egypt?

Headhunting may have also originated from the ritual sacrifice of slaves at the funerals of their masters, accounts of which seem almost Egyptian. At a certain point they thought that perhaps beheading is too violent a death for a slave, and might send the slaves to a different afterlife than their masters; from a certain point on the slaves were spared this fate. From a certain point on only the heads of enemies were to be taken, and slaves were shown mercy – being tied down to their masters tombs and left to die of exposure. Nowadays they may still use pigs and chickens.

Avoid the Right Bank

The left banks of rivers are said to belong to the tribes of Borneo; the right banks of rivers to settlers. Before someone dies, DAYONG (Dayak priests) warn them: “Avoid the right bank.”

The Soul: Both Fixed & Meandering

Kayans vaguely distinguish two souls – on the one hand the ghost-soul or shade, which in dreams wanders afar, on the other hand the vital principle. It would seem that so long as this vital spark remains in the body the ghost-soul may return to it; but that, when death is complete, this vital spark also departs, and then the ghost-soul will return no more.

“Ma’am your Body is Right This Way!” -Medicine Man

If he decides that the soul or BLUA of the patient has left his body, and has made some part of the journey towards the abode of departed souls, his task is to fall into a trance and to send his own soul to overtake that of his patient and to persuade it to return.

Newborn, Death, Death, Newborn…

Sea Dayaks sometimes go farther…They place the new-born child in a small boat and allow it to float down the river, and standing upon the bank call upon all the evil spirits to take the child at once, if they mean to take it, in order that the parents may be spared the greater bereavement of losing it some years later. If, after floating some distance down stream, the child is found unhurt, it is carried home, the parents feeling some confidence that it will be “spared” to grow up.

Roots Reach for the Sky

Some assert that they [Gods] dwell in the skies, but others regard them as dwelling below the surface of the earth. The former opinion is in harmony with the practice of erecting a tree before the house with its branches buried in the ground and the root upturned…forming a ladder or path of communication with the superior powers.

Symptoms of Death: Body Odor & Heavy Limbs

After burial, Sea Dayaks sometimes fix a tube of bamboo leading from just above the eyes of the corpse to the surface of the ground; they will address the dead man with their lips to the orifice of the tube, and will drop into it food and drink and silver coins.

The Rule Book of Tattoos for Dayak Women

A woman endeavors to have her tattoo finished before she becomes pregnant, as it is considered immodest to be tattooed after she has become a mother. If a woman has a severe illness after any portion of her body has been tattooed, the work is not continued for some little time; moreover, according to Nieuwenhuis (9, p. 453), a woman cannot be tattooed during seed time nor if a dead person is lying unburied in the house, since it is LALI (forbidden) to let blood at such times; bad dreams, such as a dream of floods, foretelling much blood-letting, will also interrupt the work. A tattooed woman may not eat the flesh of the monitor lizard or of the scaly manis and her husband also is included in the taboo until the pair have a male and a female child. If they have a daughter only they may not eat the flesh of the monitor until their child has been tattooed; if they have a son only they cannot eat the monitor until they become grandparents. Should a girl have brothers, but no sister, some of her tattoo lines must not be joined together, but if she has brothers and sisters, or sisters only, all the lines can be joined.

Beads-Cum-Tattoos: Stay your Meandering Soul!

In trade with China the Dayak first acquired beads; the LUKUT beads was said to keep the soul in the body, and was tied around the wrists of sick people. The LUKUT has since become a tattoo, again adorning the wrist, to keep the soul inside of the body.

Ruthlessness

Such parties of Sea Dayaks have been known to accept the hospitality of unsuspecting and inoffensive Klemantans, and to outrage every law of decency by taking the heads of old men, women, and children during the absence of their natural defenders.

Hooked on Tree Crystals: Camphor

Camphor is formed in the crevices of the sterns of old trees of the species DRYOBALANOPS AROMATICA, when the heart is decayed leaving a central hollow. The tree is cut down, the stem split up, and the crystalline scales of pure camphor are shaken out on mats. It is then made up in little bundles and wrapped in palm leaves…they [the camphor seekers] confine themselves to the use of a peculiar language which seems to be a conventional perversion of the Punan speech.

Women as Rice: Harvest Me

[…] the festival begins with the preparation of the seed grain for the following season. This is mixed with a small quantity of the seed grain of the foregoing seasons which has been carefully preserved for this purpose in a special basket. The basket contains grains of PADI from good harvests of many previous years. This is supposed to have been done from the earliest times of PADI planting, so that the basket contains some of the original stock of seed, or at least the virtue of it leavening the whole. This basket is never emptied, but a pinch of the old PADI is mixed in with the new, and then a handful of the mixture added to the old stock…preserving continuity generation after generation with the original seed PADI of mythical origin(74)…the woman calls on the soul of the PADI to cause the seed to be fruitful and grow vigorously, and to favor her own fertility. For the whole festival is a celebration or cult of the principle of fertility and vitality – that of the women no less than that of the PADI.[48]

Family Hope Program (PKH) translated from Bahasa Indonesia.

PKH OUTREACH IN PROBLEM AREAS OF PAPUA REGENCY & WEST PAPUA: SUMMARIZED STUDY

Regarding the outreach of the Family Hope Program (PKH) entering into problematic areas in Papua and West Papua, this study details how and where the expansion of PKH can take place – especially concerning unstable areas. This study also aims to suggest how best to govern PKH in the aforementioned areas, study local livelihoods, analyze the stakeholders, identify imbalances, while improving basic services, education, and healthcare in these areas.

Methodology

The methodologies employed are both qualitative and quantitative. So while qualitative uses interview techniques, observation, focus groups, Rapid Rural Assestment, quantitative uses questionnaires handed out to 277 villages in Oksibil Regency – focused on infrastructure, education, and healthcare. Samples from respondants were chosen for purposive sampling, where the respondant lives in contact with the issues surrounding PKH – specific issues or general issues of public concern. Respondants interviewed were from nine regencies, and there were 102 females and 173 males. The 265 questionnairres that were returned filled out by the heads of villages in Pegunungan Bintang regency were all filled out by males. In Jayapura we interviewed participants of PKH, six males and 27 women, while in Manokwari we communicated with six male and seven female respondents. Total respondents numbered 586 participants.

Those interviewed were: male and female villagers, tribal chiefs, community figures, regents, members of DPRD (parliament), regional secretaries, community development, social services, healthcare services, educational services, the village empowerment agency, the female empowerment agency, the religious offices, the central bureau of statistics, police, civilian registries, health clinics, elementary-, Muslim Madrasah-, Junior High- Schools, Vocational School of Internal Affairs, and foundations (YPPK, Yapis), parents, community health center patients, mothers who are also market vendors, and motorcycle taxi drivers. And aside from all of them, PKH’s supporters, members of KSM (representing especially poor families) in Jayapura, Mimika Regency, Jayapura city, and Manokwari, were also contacted.

 

This study is supported by the Director of Social Management and Community Welfare (BAPPENAS), SPP-GIZ Indonesia, and the Institution of Global Concern.

 

The project began in the beginning of May 2016 with a meeting with assorted parties and analytical readings of related literature, then forming the questionnaire sent from BAPPENAS and TNP2K. BAPPENAS helped read the associated educational and healthcare data, being the source for the study, and followed along in field studies to Raja Ampat regency – and a participant from SPP-GIZ went to Jayawijaya regency. These field studies took place from 20 May until 10 June 2016.

Regencies in focus met the following criteria: located in Papua and West Papua, and in the following, contrasting geographies- mountains, islands, and coastlines, and regencies catagorizable as very problematic, problematic, easy to access, safe, and whether or not there was another venture in the same regency interested in working together. While it was planned to focus on six regencies, three sub-regencies from Nabire regency were added due to easy access, being only four hours from Nabire, and with only a 1-1.5 hour distance from regency-to-regency.

Regency Reason chosen
Kaimana West Papua Province, parent regency, chosen for their concept of coastal and island area services, having 425 islands, and ease of accessibility (excepting a few islands); there is also LSM Conservation International working to empower communities and conservation efforts here.
Raja Ampat West Papua Province, a sub-regency, ocean access (expensive, however), infrastructure joining 610 islands, an environmentally protected tourist area, and the Indonesia Mengajar (volunteer teachers in rural areas) from the ministry of education.
Jayawijaya Papua Province, remainder of parent regency, mountainous, fairly easy access, plenty of educational foundations. Presence of UNICEF and UNDP focused on health and system of government.
Tolikara Papua Province, parent regency, mountanous, fairly easy access, previously visited by Kemensos – though safety is still an issue. There is a superior health care program in place by the government.
Pegunungan Bintang Papua Province, parent regency, mountainous, encumbereded access to many districts, fairly safe, there is Indonesia Mengajar, Nusantara Sehat, and various educational foundations.
Nabire Papua Province, parent regency, lowlands and coastal concepts, easy access – excepting two mountainous districts, many educational foundations, communities of migrants and locals; Australian partnership working for healthcare services.
Deiyai (additional) Papua Province, parent regency, mountain and lake concepts, missionary school, encumbereded secondary access, Clinton Foundation working with a health center.
Dogiyai(additional) Papua Province, parent regency, mountainous / highlands concept, missionary school, encumbereded secondary access, and the presence of Clinton Foundation
Paniai (additional) Papua Province, parent regency, mountainous highlands concept, encumbereded secondary access, presence of Clinton Foundation, Global Fund

The accumulated results were discussed with UPPKH, Papua Province, and a few important findings were discussed with LSM and journalists whom had been there. Findings in regards to demography became a study on systematic governance in nine regencies, a study of imbalances in access to healthcare and education, and joined to aid the initiation of PKH – as well to recommend nine regencies to be visited by Kemensos and BAPPENAS.

RESULTS

  1. Community Demography

The amount of residents, male or female, native locals, and religions, in the nine regencies, has been sorted within the below table with data from the Central Bureau of Statistics and Dukcapil of each regency.

Regional Table, Population, Tribe and Religion

Regency Males Females Total Tribal Origins Religious Majority in descending order
Kaimana (Dukcapil, 2016) 31,723 28,292 60,015 Buruway, Irarutu, Bahang, Mairasi, Koiwai, Semini, Karas, Kamrau, Uruangmiri, in separate villages Protestant, Muslim, Catholic
Raja Ampat (BPS, 2014) 21.303 24,007 45,310 Moi, Biak Tribe, Numfor, Besek) , Amer (seven clans) Protestant, Muslim, Catholic
Jayawijaya (BPS, 2014) 103,482 100.630 204,112 Dani Lembah, in the center of the city there is Mukoko Tribe. Tribes are either Wita or Waya Catholic, Protestant, Muslim
Tolikara (BPS, 2015) 163,477 133,433 296,871 West Dani

 

Protestant GIDI, Protestant, Catholic, and Muslim
Pegunungan Bintang

(BPS 2015)

37607 33090 60,697 Ngalum, Mek, Tepelepki, Murop, Arimbon, Ketengban/Kupel Catholic, Protestant, Muslim
Nabire

Sumber: BPS, 2015

73,185 64,951 137,776 Wate, Mee, Protestant, Muslim, Catholic
Deiyai (BPS, 2013) 39,644 37,225 76,869 Mee Catholic, Protestant, Muslim
Dogiyai (BPS, 2015) 45.907 46.283 92.190 Mee Catholic, Protestant, Muslim
Paniai (BPS, 2014) 83.603 77.171 161,324 Mee and Moni Catholic, Protestant, Muslim

Source: BPS of each regency, 2013,2014,2015 and interview results, May and June 2016

The amount of residents from the study area varied from around 45,310 people in Raja Ampat regency, and up to 296,871 people in Tolikara regency. It needs to be underlined that each tribe have different customs (adat). In Raja Ampat and Dogiyai there were more females. In all regencies the majority were locals native to the area – except in Nabire, comprised of half native locals and half newcomers.

Livelihoods

Livelihoods of native locals to the area vary: in the Raja Ampat archipelago of 610 islands only 35 are inhabited; there are 107 coastal villages, most of them fishing villages, catching shrimp, crabs, and growing coconut trees and nutmeg. And as the area is famous for its resorts, a few locals work in hotels, lodges, and homestays. A few also grow rice in Salawati district and Missol – where residents also cultivate the most coconuts. A few more have been employed as civil servants.

In Kaimana there are 425 islands and only seven are occupied. While most are inland, villages can also be found on the coast or beach. The main livelihoods in Kaimana are fishing, sago-, sweet potato-, casava- farming, and producing copra from coconuts. The people of Kaimana are also cattle-, pig-, and chicken- farmers. Around 10% of them are government employees.

In Tolikara regency, highland farmers plant tuber, vegetables, bananas, papayas, gather coconuts, farm pigs, hunt, and craft meshes to catch forest rats. Some sell areca nut (pinang), though none have their own stalls (kios). Newcomers occupy most stalls selling household items and various other products, however. A majority of the people of Jayawijaya are valley farmers, planting more than 74 varieties of tuber, and taro – having been a foodsource for thousands of years – in manmade trenches. These taro-full trenches are also used for irrigation of farms, storing water for the dry season, diverting floods away from farms in the rain season, and as fish farms. Some fish the river of Baliem and employ meshes to catch cuscus and other animals. They will also farm pigs, sell stone axes, and make woodcarvings for tourists.

Livelihoods in the Bintang mountains are similar: planting tuber, taro, coffee, peanuts, vegetables, avocados, passionfruit, eggplant, bananas, and papaya. Artisans of Iwur craft simple bags and farm pigs. The people of Paniai, Deiyai, and Dogiyai, while also farming tuber, vegetables, and farming pigs, also fish and catch shrimp in the lakes of Tigi and Paniai. Deiyai produces onion leaves, carrots, spinach, and squash.

In Nabire, the mileau is mixed – with some selling areca nut, vegetables, fruits, while others fish the coasts. Others still are hunters, construction workers, or build roads. And while some transmigrants sow rice others pick oranges and other fruits – or farm cattle and catfish. Nabire is the marketplace for noken bags made of commercial yarn or yarn spun with the stems of wild orchids.

Of the total population, all who have become government employees, teachers, employees, department heads, leaders, members of DPRD, are locals – as are nearly all district heads, holders of bachelor’s degrees. Others have become police or military – including pilots (there are two pilots from Peg Bintang in AMA), and doctors. Throughout all regencies, most newcomers are Bugis, from Makasar or Java, working as sellers (or hawkers), renting out cars and motorcycles. Others are from the Toraja-, Batak- tribes, working as teachers, government employees, midwives, and orderlies. Other newcomers are from around Papua, working as teachers, employees, and members of DPRD.

A Look at other Ventures and Stakeholders in the Area

There are a few reasons why PKH is interested in an analysis of other programs – and stakeholders – in the area. Primarily, PKH coordinators could work together with stakeholders to support poor families – recipients of PKH, but especially those without – so as to organize alternative social assistance from the local government and LSM – in a manner that will prevent jealousy that could fuel a conflict. Secondarily, to know who needs to be lobbied and for what – so that PKH can move forward, including support and flow of funds, but also to further synergize the programs.

Drawing from impressions from a few nooks of the nine regencies, and according to all parties, the local regent holds the most authority. A regent can change or prevent people from choosing a contractor for a certain project. Some even hyperbolize regents as ‘Lord God on Earth’ as the wellbeing of communities hinge on their intentions. Regents can affect positive changes to the quality of services – or affect ruin. When in Raja Ampat a regent said to SKPD: “Health and education must be free” – the SKPD could only try to consummate the regents’ wishes by whatever means were available. In Tolikara, when a regent expressed desire for pregnant women and newborns to have better food, a 1000-day program was created to feed better food to pregnant women and children less than two years of age.

In the eyes of ordinary people religious figures, chiefs, district heads, and village heads also have much influence. District heads who usually hold bachelor’s degrees and villager heads, some of whom did not graduate public school, both handle accounts and have much influence in decision-making, so long as they have the villagers’ respect. Influential too are merchants who can suggest a reasonable price, with reasonable gains, at which to sell goods.

Aside from these people, influential stakeholders are those overseeing domestic flights; without their favors it may be impossible to import or export anything. Foreign missionaries can no longer be found in any of the regencies. In Nabire regency their educational foundations continue to play an important role, however, running small schools throughout a few villages on the coasts and in land. Headmasters and teachers have much influence over the quality of education. Aside from leaders, however, the Central Highlands Care Forum (Forum Peduli Pegununan Tengah), which includes Jayawijaya and Wamena, has notable influence in local communities.

In the Pegunungan Bintang regency tribal chiefs are almost as influential and respected as they have always been; in Wamena and Tolikara, however, the chiefs reffered to by Karl Heider (1974) as ‘the Big Man’ are now much smaller – in effect. New parties emerging in the mind of the commons are the district heads, as they distribute funds, and village heads, as they distribute subsidized rice. Churches have also become influential in relation to education. Especially in Tolikara the GIDI Church holds much sway. Interestingly, in Raja Ampat, the chairpeople of the cadre of the integrated healthservices post (ketua kader posyandu) are mostly women, making one of them a very influential person in the village. Thereby as well the chairpeople of the Womens Group / PW-Protestant, and Catholic Womens group, are also important. In Kaimana and Raja Ampat, local figures deal with terrotorial conflicts. Few LSM employees are acting in the regencies visited. Conservation International propels conservation efforts and social welfare efforts in Kaimana regency, working together with churches. Bamuskam (training for deliberative assemblies) in Kaimana and Raja Ampat holds much influence as they involve customary figures and religious figures too. Ulama Muslims in Jayawijaya, Tolikara, and Nabire, all play important roles in preventing conflict.

In Wamena one will find UNICEF, UNDP, and World Vision International, as well as Kinerja-USAID. Global Fund works in Nabire, Dogiyai, Deyiai, and Paniai. Clinton Foundation works with the health clinics and held health and resilience training in Dogiyai, Deyiai, and Paniai, in 2015. The Islamic Education Foundation (YAPIS), Catholic School Education Foundation (YPPK) Adventist Education Foundation (YPA), The Injili Kingmi Church Schooling and Educational Foundation (YPPGI), have all contributed to building schools in the cities, in the interiors, and on the coasts. These foundations have been officiated by UU Otsus Papua. They are also important in that they can syngerize with PKH due to their scope, extending to districts and remote villages. Australian Partnership provided health and resilience training for Health Services, sending them to Australia and are seen as being useful by the staff at Healthcare Services Nabire (Dinas Kesehatan Nabire).

Classifications of Social Welfare

Classifications of welfare – when looking at the rich, middle-class, and poor – are fundamentally different depending on the state of the economy, but the culture too. This understanding is important to organizers of UPPKH and their supporters, because they will be the ones visiting the villages and carrying along the criteria for poverty, which may contrast with the local understanding. An understanding of these classifications, for villagers, could bring some clarity – for example, why only poor women with certain conditions receive aid from PKH.

The traditional classifications of the welfare (or wellbeing) of the Mee tribe in the mountainous regency of Paniai, Dogiyai, and Deiyai, fall in three catagories: tonawi being those with the most pigs (20-40 animals); first level teki-teki being those with few pigs; and second level teki-teki being those without pigs, whom sell freshwater fish and manage only to harvest a little. The latter includes those without pigs, widows, children, and those with unproductive farms, known as databage, or unsuccessful. These classifications are dynamic and can still be used today. If a contractor gets the go-ahead from the regent for a large project, this could rise them into tonawi class. Regents, regional secretaries, chairpeople of DPRD, and vice regents are first level teki-teki. In the second level of the teki-teki classification are merchants or hawkers. Databage also describes villagers in the lowest income bracket, or whose farms fail to produce crops.

In Nabire those with the best standard of life have a steady harvest, or product, high capacity – or merchants with many stores. Otherwise, there are those with a steady harvest yielding but only a subsistence income, those with an uncertain harvest, and those without a harvest – usually widows or young children. Those with the worst standard of life are widows with HIV/AIDS who are still having to provide for their children.

In Kaimana, those considered impoverished are unemployed and do not have a steady source of income – such as fishermen, farmers, motorcycle taxi drivers, and becak transport drivers. Those considered sederhana, or living a very simple life: group one employees who have small businesses. Those considered rich are generally businesspeople, or proprietors of larger operations. So all who make a living as fishermen and farmers are considered impoverished, because of indicator 14, as a classification of welfare, which looks at whether or not they have electricity, water, and other basic services. In this catagory are some who have descended from kings of the past, but now hold no influence. Training for deliberative assemblies (Bamuskam) is influential because they incorporate figures of local custom and religion.

For the people of Oksibil, so far as welfare is considered, everyone is recognized as sederhana (simply living). The poorest are unsuccessful farmers, hawkers, employees. The wealthiest are the regents and large-scale contractors. Their classifications have the greatest effect on their childrens’ education and whether they are schooled at a foundation or an actual school. For transmigrants in Nabire, the worst off are those depending entirely on the harvest season, while the rich are those with businesses, largescale stalls, transportation services, and construction services.

The poorest are residents of villages without access to transportation who need to buy their way in and out, or for healthcare, for example. An anecdoyte from the district of Nabire, to access villages as far away as Dipa and Menou requires chartering a plane for Rp 90 – 120 million one way. Therein lies the struggle: if residents of these two districts, where there are many villages, have health problems, how can they get help? Thereby what is the fate of villagers in more remote areas of different regencies? If residents were to fall sick there would be no help for them, because there are no trained doctors willing to stay in health centers there. By the same token, information and access to education is also encumbereded – demarcating these as the poorest of the poor.

Effect of Village Funds

Village funds from APBN are expected to help villagers reduce poverty, support basic services, healthcare, and education. However, carelessly distributing funds to villagers unprepared to deal with a sudden influx often convinces villagers that they need no longer work in the fields. A little funding and some villagers will lose their initiative to work together with the community and advance themselves and their careers.

In Jayawijaya regency, village funds were Rp 800 million to a billion for each village, beginning last yearthe same in Tolikara regency. Distributors of these village funds earmark them for the creation of roads, health centers, training, and comparative studies. Even before dispersal of the funds, boys and men began to discuss ideas, politics, and craft proposals, while the women tended to the farms. These became unkempt with high grasses as women usually only plant in allotments around the settlements, but not in the further expanses. This soon began to affect the villages’ food supply.

Each and every village in Raja Ampat could be gifted as much as Rp 700-800 million, while in Kaimana, 800 million or even 1 billion Rupiah. There are even places that have received up to Rp 1.9 billion, such as Tanggaromi Village in Kaimana District – though the village has only 78 families and 284 people. 2.1 billion Rupiah was once earmarked for subsidized rice in Raja Ampat; each village set aside 23 million Rupiah. One family could carry home seven sacks of rice @ 50 kg to last three months. It was given to each villager (including the wealthier and foreigners working abroad). And since the rice was plentiful, seldom did the workers till the tuber; and though they still had rice at home, each family came for more when it was time to collect it.

In Raja Ampat regency there is a coach of village RPJM, though most of them stay in the regencies’ capitals or Sorong; there is also one in South Waigeo District where affiliates created RPJM without consulting locals – and most of them were transmigrants or newcomers. In Teluk Mayalibit District the transparency of the village budget is proving effective; whoever asks is allowed to check the reports of those utilizing the budget at the village office.

In the village of Nabire, funds are Rp 295 to 310 for ADD, this year being the second they have received the funds. The village’s funds are used to develop physical infrastructure (public services), support the villagers, the businesses of the village leaders, and also build the local economy. The fund’s influence on the coastal and beach areas has resulted in a commercial fisheries, while in the mountains villagers remain hoping that the money will be spread amongst them.

In all regencies public opinion is the same: they all know that locals are quick to become mata duitan – or blinded by money. When villagers worked together on public projects in the past, they worked cooperatively, and for free; but these days they receive money. And the same goes for efforts to clean up villages. This hard truth – of villagers being blinded by money – will make PKH’s job difficult, especially for organizing social events and meetings. It will make it difficult to build, since it pushes aside opportunities to innovate, initiate, and alter this sternly independent culture.

Systematic Governance

Importance of Systematic Governance

The system of governance is important in so far as it facilitates healthcare, education, and carries out programs to completion. For example, what happens if the village healthcare center does not receive funds – for six months? What would be the fate of schools that depend entirely on supply teachers with minimal wages – if they do not receive money for a few months? How can you punish a teacher’s skipping out of school – even for a few years? These are real-world problems from the nine regencies in this study based on complaints from the headmasters and teachers, students, the public, doctors, and nurses.

It would be hard to find an example of proper governance in Papua these days, though there are a few well-aligned practices and officials, like the regional secretary of Nabire, whom rarely leave their duties behind. The anomaly of teachers – and even headmasters – skipping school for months, however, can be witnessed often (ACDP, 2014). Not such an anomaly actually, as it has happened in all nine regencies, and especially frequently in the remote villages in the interiors. Most village heads and district heads own buildings from which they rent out rooms in their regency’s capitals; meanwhile regents buy up properties in the nation’s capital – or even Australia – and their fellow community members are fully aware of this. In fact, most leaders seldom stay in their own regencies, districts, or villages – this is already a given. Most of them will only visit the place they are presiding over when there are visiting officials arriving from Jakarta – after which they will leave together with their guests. We have verified this with journalists and LSM, religious figures, and figures of importance in the communities.

Importance of Accuracy

To know if a regency will be a candidate to accept PKH, accuracy of data is crucial, so that the PKH program can measure and estimate how much change can be fostered within six years. It can be said that, regarding this dependency of data, accuracy depends on the context. Regarding population data, BPS data juxtaposed with civil registration and healthcare statistics, all varies. The range of variation can be significant. There are a few regencies, like Kaimana, where locals keep the data intact, working together with third party officials and trying to integrate with the regency, including multidimensional analysis of poverty. This is a notable best practice.

Below is a summary of findings from nine regencies as a portrait of systematic governance from places visited in which enough data was gained.

Portrait of systematic governance in nine villages, visited (May-June 2016)

Kabupaten Data
Kaimana Intact data, including CD, were easily gained. The regent, vice regent, regional secretary – none were present at the time of visitation. APBD is still a national secret, but can be found in LKPJ. Social services unresponsive.
Raja Ampat As for quality data, APBD could not be obtained; Bappeda staffers were playing dominos during office hours.
Jayawijaya Insufficient. Data not easily gained – apart from through Bappeda. Softcopies could be obtained. Offices are empty from noon onwards. APBD is considered a secret document.
Tolikara Insufficient. Nobody in the town offices. The office of Bappeda was empty even on Monday; RPJM data was accessed at through healthcare services. Educational services comprised two employees. The heads of all local services stay in dorms in Tolikara, going to Wamena or Jayapura on Fridays, returning Monday – many only visit Tolikara when there are important officials coming to town. The regent and vice regent are seldom ever here. The regional secretary has recently been switched. The head of healthcare services is enthusiastic, though the current BPS seems only to guard the office. The social services office has been burnt down.
Pegunungan Bintang No information from all services, hospital, or clinic, because the head of services in PLT, excepting the Civil Registration Office (Kantor Catatan Sipil). The Bappeda gave over the APBD without question and allowed it to be copy. Social services were hardworking. Healthcare-, education-, and social- services were mostly open between 10 AM and 1 PM.
Nabire Data was accessible from all instances. Offices opened at 8 AM and the regional secretary arrived at 8 AM. The secretary made a memo for finances to be given to APBD, but financial officials said it was confidential. Social services would have provided data if it weren’t private.
Deiyai Data for health services was with the head of services, whom had just been switched. On Thursday most government employees go home to Nabire.
Dogiyai Data on the reportage from the health clinic was gathered. The village office is open until 12, also the health clinic. Most employees stay in Nabire.
Paniai Data is available and can be accessed quickly. The regent’s office is quiet from noon on although it was Thursday. The health clinic was the same, though doctors and orderlies live nearby, and all villagers are aware of this. Sick people are welcomed at the doctor’s house.

Gender Analysis

An analysis of gender reviewing the position of women in decision-making processes is very important to the PKH program. The analysis reflects the value of female involvement, as professed by local governments, and especially regarding decision-making processes important to women, and how women issues can be supported and funded – in a patrilineal community, and as reported by communities in nine regencies.

Females in leadership roles, whether SKPD or DPRD, are few but do exist. It is not for certain, however, that when they have become members of DPRD they will be able to carry forwards the voice of the people – and namely of women. If they succeed in doing so, their main hope is that the deaths of women, babies, and toddlers, receive significant attention from the APBD.

In Kaimana regency there are six female members amongst 30 members of DPRD chosen by the people. This makes Kaimana the regency with the most female representation in the DPRD – within our study, that is. Furthermore, in Raja Ampat regency there are four female members of the DPRD, amongst 30 members, and it is the same in Jayawijaya regency. In Pengunangan Bintang and Paniai there is only one female council member on a board of 20, and no female village heads. In Dogiyai, the head of the DPRD is a female, presiding over 20 male DPRD members. Deiyai has two women members on the DPRD council.

As for SKPD leaders, women are much so minorities; in Pegunungan Bintang there are only five, in Nabire three, Deiyai two, Piniai two, Dogiyai three, Tolikara two, Jayawijaya three, Kaimana four, and in Raja Ampat three SKPD are being led by women – out of 20-30 SKPD.

On average there is one female district head in a regency, except Tolikara where there are two female district heads within 46 districts. Some regencies are without a female village head at all, while at most there are two female village heads within one regency. This reflects how undervalued females are, and that they may be seen as incapable – both publically and by the local government.

Cases of domestic abuse reach police in Jayawijaya, Tolikara, Pengunungan Bintang, Nabire, Kaimanan, and Raja Ampat, and likely occur in other regencies too. As for issues amongst juveniles, there are also reports of children huffing glue and pedophilia.

Conflicts and Criminality

Important conflicts can be anticipated so that they can be dealt with early. A measure of conflict and safety could become an indicator – of whether or not PKH should enter into these areas.

Regency Type of conflict
Kaimana There was a demonstration due to a few family ID cards (KKS) that were considered erroneous. Newcomers from various tribes, wealthier families, and employees, received family ID cards (KK), while impoverished families and native tribes did not. The protest went down without incident.

There was also a conflict, at the time of an election, between the supporters of candidates for regent.

Communal conflicts often happen when land is sold without consulting others.

Raja Ampat Mostly safe. There was a local conflict with a mining company. A local man was sent in as the head of the law division. There were two mining companies paying and arming the locals, and fighting began amongst the people. The problem was resolved civilly with a gift of household goods for Hari Raya Idul Fitri (the last day of Ramadan) without violence.

 

Conflict regarding communal land: happens between families when one party sells land without consulting the others. Publically these are sorted out with help from local figures. There are also conflicts because of road construction passing through communal land and the sacred places of local tribes. As in other cases, these conflicts could be avoided by first consulting the people of these communal territories.

 

Conflicts also arise when one social group receives assistance, though jealousy alone seldom causes large-scale problems between communities. There has never been a conflict between native locals and newcomers or transmigrants nor a religious-based conflict.

 

Criminality: there are often thefts of motorcycle helmets, light fighting, and reports of people drunk in public.

Jayawijaya In 2000 there was a bloody conflict due to antipathy towards newcomers, due to norms of acceptable behavior, sentiments expressed, and the newcomers attitudes towards the people of Dani. Tens of transmigrants suffered violent deaths. Territorial conflict often happens, though it is rarely violent.
Tolikara A merchant’s stall built near a small Mosque was burnt down, as was the social services building; locals were unsatisfied with funds they had received being less than in other regions. Roads were blocked each week. BPMPK offices were sealed off as locals perceived BPMPK as being unaccountable for the dispersal of village funds due to poor reportage. There was also an intense conflict between groups supporting John Tabo or Usman Wanimbo, resulting in the torching of the social services and Karubaga district offices.
Pegunungan Bintang The police station was burned down when resident Suku Ngalum, who was healthy when the police arrested him, was then discovered dead; this was an act of revenge on part of the people.
Nabire There was a small conflict when Oyehe market was ordered moved to a new location.
Paniai A police officer and a member of the OPM were shot.

Telecommunications/Signal

Service, via the local Telkomsel provider, is available in nine regencies. Especially in Raja Ampat, aside from the regency’s capital, Telkomsel service is also available in Saonek and Saporkren (South Waigeo district) and Misool district. In Pengunungan Bintang, aside from Oksibil, signal can be found in Iwur district, Pepera, Serambakon, and in the city of Nabira nearly at every location.

Access to Financial Institutions

Bank Papua and BRI branches can be found in all nine regional capitals. Salaries are usually paid through Bank Papua. In Raja Ampat, there are eight branches of Bank Papua in the district of the capital city. Bank Mandiri can only be found in Nabire, Raja Ampat, Kaimana, and Wamena, while in Tolikara there is only Bank Papua.

Post offices can only be found in Wamena, Kaimana, Raja Ampat, Nabire, and Paniai, while in Pengunungan Bintang, Deiyai, and Dogiyai, there are none.

Access for remotest and most isolated Districts / Villages: what are the Policies?

Below this are listed the remotest districts, most without basic health clinics nor basic educational service, except in the district of Yamor in Kaimana and Jayawijaya. The problem is that doctors and medical staff, as well as teachers, never stay long – because the high cost of living in these areas, what with the cost of transportation to the nearest cities being expensive, as well. Thereby these are problems that need to be prioritized – as they are the foundations of a village.

Longest Trips for each Regency

Kabupaten Transportation Access
Kaimana Yamor District is the remotest possible location in this study. With boat and motor it would take 12 hours, followed by a trip across a lake for one hour, and a two-hour truck ride. The journey can also be made from Nabire, over land. The cost would be around Rp. 17,500,000 (return). There is one health center, two clinics, one maternity clinic, one police station, five midwives, and 12 orderlies.
Raja Ampat The most distant location would be the Ayau islands at around six hours with a speed boat from Waisai, and at a cost of Rp. 20,000,000. There is one health clinic, two maternity clinics, one midwife, three orderlies. There is still one village without any health clinic whatsoever.
Wamena All can be accessed with car or motorcycle; the furthest village is only three hours away. The road is paved but there are many potholes.
Tolikara Kanggime district is near enough for access using car or motorcycle. Douw district is the furthest – at around 200 km, requiring air travel. The districts are spread apart, very far from one another; hence, each district has a field demarcated as the airport. However, there are no flights from these districts to the regional capitals, but rather travellers must go to the parent regional capital first – to Wamena first, and then transfer.
Pegunungan Bintang The remotest districts are near Utara Yetfa, Murinop, and Teraplu, requiring a trip to Jayapura, and then a flight from Sentani to Oksibil – costing more than two million Rupiah. To charter a plane to Eipomek would cost Rp 19 million, one-way.
Nabire Menau and Dipa districts are the remotest in Nabire – chartering a helicopter is required, and at a cost of 90 – 120 million, return. For a trip of two days or more these costs double.
Deiyai Kapi Raya is a three to four day hike; Bowo district is a 12-hour hike.
Dogiyai South Sukokai is the remotest area here – either a six-day hike or an expensive trip in a chartered plane. West Apua District can be reached by plane – or a four-or-five day hike.
Paniai Dunadana District requires chartering a helicopter for Rp 120 million (return), and to reach Siriwo Atas and Bayebiru, another Rp 120 million and another trip by helicopter.

Access to Social Security Cards and Formal ID’s

Publically speaking, e KTP (national ID) cards, BPJS cards, Papua Health Cards, Indonesia Health Cards, and other cards such as Indonesia Pintar have been distributed to all villages in the nine regencies. Of course there are still challenges to be faced, however.

In Raja Ampat there were 42.508 recipients of Indonesian Health Cards / KIS Jamkesmas, and in the same area 1789 KIS (national health) cards, while there is no information regarding Indonesia Pintar cards. In Raja Ampat they can already create electronic KTP (national identity) cards, needing only one day to process, meanwhile 39% of the people do not have one. The Director General of Education and Civil Registration (Dukcapil) is working to make these services available in other districts so that villagers from afar can get identification while renewing their family card, for example.

In Kaimana Regency there are 4648 Family Safety/KKS cards distributed by post to all districts. Most villagers received them. National Health Cards (KIS) are 46,223, and in Jamkesda 2,791. However there are still 409 people who have yet to receive these cards.

In Tolikara regency, the process of creating a KTP (national ID) is smooth enough, not even requiring a Family Card (Kartu Keluarga). In Wamena, BPJS cards are stored in Yiwika village; the capital city of Kurulu District does not know how to use them, what they are for, or whose names to write on them. Meanwhile, in Oksibil, one can make an e KTP (national ID), however it must then be signed by a permanent Head of Services (Kepala Dinas), and unfortunately the Head of Services that is there now is only temporary. This has been the ongoing problem for half a year. The Director General of Education and Civil Registration (Dukcapil) usually visits the district with the district head and village head to record the registrations, then bring them back to be officiated and printed off. The district head or village head will deliver the information if they are going to Oksibil. They must also make good records of their daily tasks, claiming responsibility for receiving and delivering these various cards to the people. We met with a man in Kawor District with four cards, but because his village was without school or library, they were useless and he wondered just what they were for.

In Nabire Regency, recipients of National Health Cards (KIS) numbered 5.843 people, and Family Health Cards (KKS) 14.121, per Family Card (KK), delivered through the local postal system. Deiyai Regency has yet to receive National Health Cards (KIS); Family Health Cards (KKS) have already come, but these have yet to reach all districts – through the Post Office in Nabire. All residents have received Papua Health Cards, but not yet KIP, nor community BPJS cards – even for government employees.

 Success Stories, Best Practices, Shortcomings of Essential Services

Success in Construction

Roadwork and warehouse or barn construction nearly always goes off without many faults. In Dogiyagi Regency, Deiyai, and Paniai, one can follow the road for four to six hours – conditions are decent. In Oksibil Regency there are many roads; twenty years ago there were none – apart from those connecting districts to regional offices, which were in good condition despite the offices’ being entirely empty most of the time.

BOS Funds from PUSAT (Central) very helpful

Headmasters and teachers either from Public-, Junior High-, National Vocational-, Swasta- Shools explain that BOS funding coming from PUSAT have been very helpful – especially because the funds were arranged directly to the schools’ accounts. Coming as well from a caliber swasta school: ‘Our schools would be closed without funds from BOS central, because we cannot get by on the SPP (payments) of schoolchildren whose parents are struggling farmers.’ This is helpful when special autonomy does not ensure that funds from other areas will be delivered with efficiency.

National ID’s (KTP), Local Health Insurance (Jamkesmas), National Health (KIS), and Kartu Indonesia Pintar (KIP) already distributed

Aside from a myradium of shortcomings, from all regencies visited, identity cards such as e KTP had reached even the people of the interiors. Local Health Insurance and most National Health cards had already reached the backwaters of Papua and West Papua!

National Education Services free in certain Areas but not province-wide; Health Services free in all Respects

Educational services in a variety of places, at least for national schools, are free in nine regencies – however in provincial capitals of Manokwari Regency and Jayapura city basic education is hard to achieve – even in national schools. At least healthcare services are free across the board!

Best Practices

[The following is an initiative that the district will arrange]

Tolikara: 1000 Days to a better Life – and Visitations with HIV/AIDS Patients

So that all children can be raised without malnourishment, in Tolikara there is the 1000 Day Life Program that sees pregnant women and children healthy food every afternoon and brings provisions in the evening – paid for by health services; just enough for 43 pregnant women and new mothers, budgeted from local funds. Some speculate that the program may foster a dependency on free services; perhaps even escalating the problem that will exist after the 1000-day program has finished. Aside from this, Tolikara has a visitations program for patients with HIV/AIDS to assist in providing medicine and psychological counseling – as families are mostly unable to accept them; this although all HIV/AIDS patients really require is the support of their families.

Kaimana: Educational & Healthcare Services that are truly free – through a Third-Party

Schooling starts from from SD (Public) up until SMA/SMK (Secondary), and in national schools and swasta schools. In every district there is a hostel / dormitory of sorts where village children can stay, making it easier for them to reach SMP (Junior High). Tuition, accommodation, and subsistence is provided free of charge. Students in the hostel are also given uniforms, study books, and writing utensils. In Kaimana City there are two hostels, one for boys and another for girls, for all of the students from outside of the Kaimana district schooling in the regional capital.

Those in the Family Planning Posts have become the spine of healthcare services for women and children in the villages, working together with midwives and orderlies. They are paid an honorary wage of Rp 150,000 each month, every six months. To further the reach of health checks for pregnant women, healthcare workers in small villages (midwives/orderlies) are given an incentive of Rp 150.000 each month for each pregnant woman assisted from conception to delivery.

Healthcare workers are sure to check pregnant women for HIV on their first meeting. This helps to minimize the chance of HIV spreading mother-to-child. And as well to check for children with TB of the lungs, workers are given an extra Rp 100.000 each month to ensure they follow through with routine treatment for six months.

Kaimana works together with a third party to compile and record basic data and check villagers, through a third party, to ensure quality results – especially as relates to health and education. The results of this systemized reportage has been favourable.

Nabire: streamlined Management of the HIV/AIDS Emergency through Councilors and Advisors to the Public through local Posts and mass Text Messages

Nabire regency has the second highest rate of HIV/AIDS following Mimika Regency. For this reason people of other regencies come to Nabire to get checked. Clinics are located near to regency borders, and are managing well – not just thanks to the doctors but also the patients whom are able to control the spread of the virus through changing their habit patterns. Patients treated in the clinic go on to become instructors, opening businesses, and leading group counseling, offering help and advise from place-to-place. This perks the curiosity of new patients – realizing that AIDS can be controlled and treated, and encourages people to get checked.

On Saturdays, these local instructors send out reminders to all sufferers to always wear a condom and routinely take prescribed medicine.

Paniai: Fingerprint Attendance to minimize unexplained Absences of Clinic Orderlies

The clinic in Enarotali has put in place a system of clocking that uses fingerprints, recording orderlies’ comings-and-goings to maximize the efficiency of service. This measure, to deal with abscentiesm and employees leaving early, was first proven effective on government employees. Health Services are assimilating this method to keep employees in the clinics for longer periods of time.

Raja Ampat: Partnerships with Shamanic Midwives, honorary Orderlies from APBD, Natural School Education through LSM

Integrated health clinics are active in all villages and have a minimum of five employees (cadre). These employees receive an honorary wage, through APBD, of as much as Rp 300.000/month, every three months. They are the backbone of health services in the villages, helping midwives and orderlies to look after mothers, babies, and toddlers. Shamanic midwives do training as well and are also empowered to help midwives, as partners. Each village has two shamanic midwives trained and receiving honors from APBD and the employees of integrated health clinics.

From 2016/2017, basic policies will be taught for free to the public at all levels, starting from Public School and through Junior High. Regents will also dispurse basic policies regarding health, free for all residents of Raja Ampat, starting in 2016. Classes in student dorms (hostels) have already been arranged, though only for a few districts, and not evenly throughout all territories. LSM Belantara teaches PAUD in natural school, in which the basic curriculum teaches using natural materials at hand. Classes are only held for a few days each week.

Service Imbalances

Health

  • Not all districts/regions have health clinics (all regencies)
  • Only a few health clinics have doctors (nearly all regencies)
  • Healthcare budget not a priority (in three regencies within the APBD)
  • The healthcare movement is uneven and mostly based in cities (all regencies)
  • There are no specializing midwives for the health of mothers and children (all regencies except Paniai, Raja Ampat, and Nabire)
  • There are no homes for healthcare workers (in all regencies except Kaimana and Raja Ampat)
  • Cost of living is expensive and not all essential goods are available (the islands in Nabire, the district of of Menou, and the remote area of Dipa, rice is Rp. 50,000 per kilo)
  • Transportation to health clinics is expensive (in all regencies)
  • Shamanic midwives are untrained (in all regencies except Kaimana)
  • Villages within a district are too widespread, some requiring two days of travel, at expensive prices (all regencies)
  • Family planning clinics only operate centralized in regency capitals (in most regencies) as they are not organized and the movement has not yet materialized.
  • There is no system to provide enough vaccines (Pegunungan Bintang)
  • The head of services does not carry out monitoring (Pegunungan Bintang, Deyiai, Doiyai)
  • The supply of TBC reagents are inadequate (Pegunungan Bintang)
  • SDM personnel for healthcare services in most villages are nonexistent (in nearly all regencies)
  • Counseling is very limited (in most regencies)
  • Distribution of healthcare staff is limited to regency capitals (in nearly all regencies)
  • There is no system of reward and punishment (in most regencies)

Outcomes: high Rate of maternal & toddler Mortality

Shortcomings of Educational Services

  • There are still many villages without Public Schools (SD) (most regencies)
  • Many drop out of school for many reasons: High Schools are in the district capitals, they cannot afford to pay for lodging (everywhere but Kaimana)
  • Headmasters and teachers often absent without sanctions (all regencies)
  • Funds from BOS Daerah do not always come through, including wages for part-time / honorary teachers (all regencies)
  • The Head of Educational- and Health- Services under qualified (Pegunungan Bintang, Deiyai)
  • There is often only one or two teachers to teach all classes (most regencies)
  • Junior High is in the regency’s capital and most school children cannot commute because of distance, expense, and dorms are full (all regencies)
  • Honorary / substitute teachers’ salaries delayed up to half a year (Dogiyai, Pegunungan Bintang)
  • Female students leave school due to pregnancy in Public-, Junior-, and High- School (nearly all regencies)
  • Teachers are not teaching but still receiving salaries (most regencies)
Results from 265 Questionnaires to Village Heads in the Regency of Oksibil (May 2016):

Mortality of toddlers from 2015 to 20 May 2016: 569

Maternal mortalities from 2015 until 20 May 2016: 230

Villages without healthcare workers: 112

Districts/regencies without proper health workers: 9

Villages without teachers: 32

Villages in East Kiwirok District in which children walk 2-3 hours to Public School: 9

Appraisals: why Areas Qualify for the PKH Program

Basic considerations regarding regencies that can directly enter PKH at any time (with tiered socialization activities, repeated)

  1. Kaimana, Raja Ampat, Nabire, and Paniai

 

Why Raja Ampat Qualifies

PKH can be undertaken in Waisai District, the capital city of Raja Ampat Regency. Made of four areas and with healthcare facilities (RSUD, healthcare clinic, supporting clinic, family planning clinic) and educational services (PAUD, SD, SMP, SMA/SMK) functional and intact. Access to these healthcare and educational services is easy, overland (averaging 30 minutes to any which one, using transportation). Public transportation: motorcycle taxis, minibuses, Damri buses, and school buses for students. Post offices are available and there are banks (Bank Papua, Bank Mandiri, BRI) can be easily accessed. Communications are available (cellphone or telephone) and internet access is possible.

Why Kaimana Qualifies

The PKH program can soon be implemented in two areas and four villages in Kaimana District, the capital of Kaimana Regency in the area of Kaimana City, the area of Trikora, Krooy, Coa, Tanggaromi, and Marsi villages. These six locations are the easiest to access by land – at most an hour away by car.

In each area and village there are PAUD and Public Schools. There are four Junior Highschools in the area of Kaimana City, two Junior Highschools in Trikora, and one each in Kroy and Coa – easily accessed from Tanggararomi village and Marsi village. There is a Senior Highschool and a Vocational Highschool in Kaimana City, which can be easily accessed through other villages, each with separate student dorms for boys and girls. There is also RSUD, a health clinic, and supporting clinic, which are also easily accessed. The travelling clinic comes through each moth along with localized community healthcare initiatives (Posyandu) through each village.

The post office and Bank of Papua branch in the city of Kaimana is also easily accessed – from all six areas / aforementioned villages. Cellphone services can only be accessed in Kaimana city, Trikora, Krooy, and Coa. Internet access is at its moderate best in Kalimana and Krooy cities.

Why the City of Nabire and the District of West Nabire Qualify

Nabire could become the target location for PKH’s outreach – due adequate access to educational services and progressing health services. There are two hospitals and a few maternity clinics, expanding immunization by 90%, and qualified health workers in the clinics. There are many educational foundations with schools here. Javanese transmigrants are many, actively partaking in integrated health services (posyandu) in the village offices and clinics quite routinely. Nabire is leading the way and setting the example for Dogiyai and Deiyai regencies, and as such its handling of HIV/AIDS is necessarily examplary – patients are thoroughly examined, given an assortment of medicine, and checked for HIV/AIDS. The service has been called warm and humane.

  1. Could receive PKH – with records: Jayawijaya, Paniai, and Pegunungan Bintang

Why Jayawijaya Qualifies

The regency of Jayawijaya is a parent regency, and therefore has been offering health services for many years. UNICEF has long been active in the area, helping with healthcare issues and Kinerja USAID, operating within educational services. There is also World Vision International, focusing on maternal and child healthcare, and who have been active for more than ten years in this area.

  1. Records for local governments: ensure that the integrated health services posts are running, making sure healthcare data – especially regarding AKI, AKB, and AKABA – stay accurate. Secure routine, operational funds for clinics. Accurate, supporting data is also necessary for impoverished families receiving aid.

Why Paniai Regency Qualifies
PKH could extend its reach to Paniai Regency’s capital, Enarotali, namely because the head of healthcare services has been recognized by the head of clinics as being very helpful in supporting the establishment of healthcare. The Head of Services is a tribal native (Mee) with a developed understanding of culture, work, and with an S3 education in the field of community healthcare. RSUD in Paniai is type C and has five specialists, including midwives, surgeons, optometrists, anesthesia, and childcare. This hospital has been around since the colonial era and Dutch occupation; as a result of the facilities, doctors and specialists have remained in Enarotali. The communities of Deiyai and Doiyai have been accepted as part of Paniai Regency so they too can receive medicine in a timely manner.

In the commons, integrated healthcare services posts (posyandu) are running well in Enarotali and there are enough schools, foundations, and national schools too.

Local Government Records

Safety has to be guaranteed before the program can enter into and assist the communities through socialization.

Why Pegunungan Bintang Qualifies

The regency is not without its challenges – due to lack of access to healthcare and education. Integrated healthcare services posts are operating around the city; there is a Kemenkes program in a far-off district, whom could become partners. There is also an Indonesia Mengajar (volunteer teachers of Indonesia) program that could be of assistance, and foundations offering quality schooling in the city. There are dormitories (asrama) for Junior-, Vocational-, High Schools – segregating boys and girls.

Reportage for Pegunungan Bintang

  • The Head of Educational and Healthcare Services requires a professional in the field
  • Healthcare Professionals needs to start monitoring the clinics to aid their progress
  • Public School teachers need to be trained to take down data
  • Public and High Schools require additional classrooms
  • The National High School needs to be moved to an accessible location immediately
  • A budget needs to be made for a gate around the National Public School as many items have been reported missing
  • The area needs more than just infrastructure
  • Clean water is required for the RSUD (hospital) – not only rain water
  • Specialists are required for midwifery – and not like those in Paniai Regency
  • The heads of the hospital and UGD need to confirm the expertise of their employees
  • The hospital does not have the equipment to do a full blood check
  1. Only under specific Conditions could PKH enter Tolikara, Dogiyai, and Daiyai

Tolikara: Healthcare services are required in the city area, not only the head of services. There needs to be a mechanism preventing headmasters and teachers from being late – a system of reward and punishment to deal with these scenarios. The same measures need to be applied to healthcare services running integrated healthcare posts (posyandu) with punctuality – not only women supporting the 1000 day program. Aspects of local governance that needs to be fixed includes employee performance, and data management; criteria for impoverished families also needs to be agreed upon. Important as well is that the safety factor is considered and prioritized.

Dogiyai: Inner-city healthcare posts (posyandu) need to be cleared as operational and monitored as well; healthcare services should store data on the health of women and children. There should be training ongoing for village health workers – also for clinic workers, ensuring that their operational costs are covered.

Deiyai: The schools here need reliable support from BOS Daerah; Rp 700,000 is too small a monthly salary for honorary / substitute teachers. As for healthcare, healthcare posts need to verified as operational, and data needs to be properly sorted to prevent it disappearing in the hands of former officials.

PROCESS OF GOVERNANCE & PKH

Importance of Punctuality in Data Validation

There needs to be enough time – around two weeks to one month – to validate the data of PKH’s recipients. Validation should be undertaken alongside and amongst the recipients of PKH, social services, district agents (aparat), and village agents – to minimize the possibility of conflicts if the data from the recipients of PKH is not valid. A few regents have suggested using data from the citizen registry (Dukcapil) or from Social Services to crosscheck and compare. Nabire Regency has validated that, using integrated data for other central programs and requiring six months to process, about 90% of all collected data is inaccurate. In Manokwari and Jayapura this is the about the same. 89% of data is inaccurate.

Importance of Comprehension through truthful, real Socialization!

Socialization is very important everywhere, especially in Papua, so that communities can reach an understanding. From experiences of Papua, it is commonplace for a small misunderstanding amongst the people to create a greater loss. The Social Services Office in Tolikara Regency was burnt down for a perceived inaccuracy in how they had been distributing aid to the locals. Affiliates in Jayapura and Manokwari must keep their fingers steadily on the pulse of communities – as a little bit of rage can result in small disasters.

Socialization for Papua and West Papua needs to be multitier, involving community figures, and repeated again and again, using an assortment of media. In Oksibil, literate villagers enjoy billboards that employ Papuan words; in most other places, people enjoy listening to radios. Socialization in places of worship is – based on experience – more likely to hit the mark, likely because many parties can come together in the same place and attendance is free.

Multitier socialization means socialization that can be kicked off through lobbying the regent, DPRD chairperson, and regional secretary, and also with a few SKPD and district heads. On the village level religious figures and community figures need to be involved as the people are used to having them deliver information to them with certain, more understandable customs. Each meeting needs to be long enough to allow for discussion, questions and answers. The people of Papua are egalitarian; they will not agree on something without a complete understanding of it.

Casual-Repetitive Socialization 

On the recommendation of a few parties, any socialization undertaken should necessarily be casual, encouraging the community to step forwards with questions. It should not only be in the village hall but also in less official settings.

The program needs to be explained in detail, because a sense of fairness is of great importance, aided by PKH recipients from elsewhere giving testimony. Questions that should be answered include: Why a focus on women? Why must one qualify? The people of Papua are weary and critical and will not endorse something they do not understand, hence the need for question-and-answer sessions. Most will want to know why the program is mostly concerned with females, what are the requirements – and this will need to be explained again and again. The program will need to be marketed in the same way that products are advertised, en masse.

Socialization via Media and Religious Figures

RRI, TV Papua, could be used to foster discussion about PKH. Working with religious figures, however, would be better and more effective still, because they have the communities’ trust. Fostering trust is integral as the people here are used to hearing hollow promises.

Affiliates

Criteria – to Further the Track Record

Drawing on information compiled from all regencies, it is best if affiliates are local – except in Nabire, where the population in the city is very diverse. Program affiliates should have both communication skills and a strong work ethic. Affiliates should not be selected based on a single qualification, especially considering that our track record can only be moved forward by reputable individuals of a community. A few parties have proposed creating a local committee so that affiliates are not only managed by Kemensos alone, but are also the responsibilities of local stakeholders.

Local Criteria and Gender Considerations

The following will detail criteria for local people ensuring program affiliates are integrated with the community so that no time is wasted in gaining their trust in and around their places of work. Drawing on the experiences of Unit UPPKH in Jayapura, affiliates coming from the city found it hard to socialize and understand those in the lowest category of welfare (Keluarga Sangat Miskin), living in impoverished villages. Doctors of Paniai Regency suggest that females should be doing the research in the field – instead of males. They stated that female health workers in the villages were harder working and more persevering than males. It could be better still, however, if both genders were represented. Especially considering that supporters of a male affiliate overpowered those of a female in an area of conflict in Manokwari.

Educational Criteria

Affiliates of the PKH Program should have undergraduate degrees – especially seeing as there are so many unemployed scholars in the regencies’ capitals and elsewhere. Aside from reducing unemployment, their backgrounds could only be beneficial to the program. However, scholars with aspirations to become government employees may need to quit for training – at a loss to the program. Other parties say that scholars will be reluctant to visit small villages to empower the locals as they have other expectations and their language could be too complex for the locals to understand. Others suggest looking at their motivations carefully. Graduates of Junior High may have the dedication and commitment necessary. Therefore affiliates could have completed Junior High, or they could be undergraduates, so long as they have experience, or are passionate about, working with communities – or have somehow aided communities. UPPKH Provinsi suggests integrating these individuals wholly rather than considering them mere affiliates. If properly budgeted, these individuals could be monitored so as to make them more accountable for their actions in the field. Up until now they have only assisted the program, never being considered decision-makers, even though they are the ones dealing with the consequences of bad decision-making, on the ground. As for other suggestions, employment must be guaranteed for one year. If cut short for any reason, affiliates will be paid the remainder, equating one year’s salary, in total. This to encourage those involved to choose carefully and not to quit before the year is up.

Recruitment Methods

A few parties speak against online recruitment, because in Papua and West Papua signal can be unstable even in the cities. Recruitment cannot be rushed; and perhaps it would be best to go through radio in select areas. The hiring team could be from a local committee, non-KKN graduates. They could consist of Social Welfare, Bappeda, community figures, LSM, either female or male. This would ensure that the team would experience the consequences of their choices.

Value of Practitioners and Seniority

To increase the capacity of the affiliates in Papua and West Papua there should be more practitioners, capable of explaining PKH and answering critical questions, fostering cooperation, and sharing best practices from other areas. They should have access to materials concerning how to manage an event, and what is important to the lowest classification of welfare (Keluarga Sangat Miskin). They should know what to do if a district were to refuse the program (suspending all efforts and giving the locals time to think, for example). To start with, training could be every three months, and then less and less often. There should also be a senior affiliate to help others less reputable amongst locals.

Payment System

Payments should be made through Bank Papua and Bank BRI instead of through the post office since there are more Bank Papua branches than post offices. As for public post offices there is only one in the regency’s capital, while in mountainous regencies there are none (Tolikara, Pegunungan Bintang, Deiyai, Dogiyai) – but there are Bank Papua branches and BRI.

Maximizing Assistance and Remuneration for Affiliates

In order to increase aid to Papua, the higher cost of living on the island needs to be considered – as it is incomparable to that of Java Island. In Pegunungan Bintang rice costs Rp 50,000 per kilogram, and children’s shoes are around Rp 300,000, before the cost of transportation from the village to the bank – for example. On a scale of one to four, Nabire, Manokwari, and Jayapura would stand at 1, while Raja Ampat and Kaimana would stand at 2, due to the cost of transportation, island-to-island. As for mountainous / highland regencies with road or trail access, like Dogiyai, Deyiai, and Paniai, these would stand at level 3. While in Jayawijaya, Pegunungan Bintang, and Tolikara, as rice and gas and household needs to be brought over by aircraft, the level would be 4 (wherein the higher number suggests a higher cost of living).

The above scale directly affects the remuneration of PKH affiliates. In Manokwari and Jayapura, Rp 4 million is a fair wage – excluding transportation – because a trip to Ormu in the Jayapura regency could be more than 1 million, return – perhaps the same in Nabire. However doctors, teachers in the Indonesia Mengajar program, and healthcare services of Nusantara Sehat, consider Rp 5 million excluding transportation to be adequate (including Jayawijaya Regency and Tolikara Regency). For Raja Ampat and Kaimana Regencies, in and around the cities, Rp 2,2 million is adequate – before transportation required – because the main expense is transportation. What’s more, going island-to-island. And ideally there should only be one affiliate on one island.

Number of Affiliates

It is the variation and level of challenge in the field – and terrain – from place to place that necessitates the differentiating of cities and interiors; in the interiors it is very challenging to reach 250 KSM (very poor families) affiliated with the program. And as the urban and rural fields differ, living conditions also vary. For this reason KSM should also be shown the cities and the interiors, understanding possible difficulties in the field.

Importance of Synergy between Regent and Local Coordinators

Being a regency coordinator for Papua and West Papua at least requires the skill to synergize and focus on reducing poverty using village funds, synergizing with local governments and community figures, and other businesses. It is also expected that the coordinator can write a plan, or lessons, for the regency.

Coordinators in the province of Papua at this time already exist but have not yet been supported, as they are in the second rank in terms of their graduating levels. Nevertheless, for the above to be accomplished it would be best if they receive support as soon as possible.

RECOMMENDATIONS

For Bappenas and KOMMENSOS

  1. To elect a regency to receive PKH this year, Kaimana, Raja Ampat, Nabira (city and West Nabire), Jayawijaya (city), and Paniai (city), can be considered. Although other regencies were not in the survey, because they are parent regencies with educational facilities and adequate healthcare, the regencies of Biak, Merauke, and Yapen, may also be targeted as PKH regencies (these three regencies have already been vouched for by a few interviewees from Provincial Healthcare Services, Provincial UKKPH, Provincial WHO Papua, and journalists). It would be best if the program would be run in the regencies’ capitals, in the beginning, at least.

 

For the regencies of Pegunungan Bintang, Dogiyai, Deiyai, and Tolikara, there is record of shortcomings of services that needs to be overcome before the PKH program can be initiated.

  1. For PKH Management

Preparing the Local Governments

Local governments involved in PKH this year need to be contacted and asked about their readiness to receive PKH; it needs to be most clear that there will be no funds sent to them – that actually they will have to budget to support the program (and it is of course uncertain whether they will want to fulfill this responsibility as many have complained that most programs request additional funds). They will need to ready office space and budget for a regency-wide event. Budgeting examples from other regencies, for transportation, etc., will help to inform them.

Socialization

First in line is the multitier socialization of the heads of the area, SKPD, community figures, and religious figures, district heads, village heads, and village figures. Socialization needs to be repeated, and would be best off following worship services, using media (baliho, RRI, village figures, and other recipients of PKH from elsewhere).

Data Check: needs to be undergone and likely for all new members, with the condition of fulfilling the requirements for swifter processing, because in Jayapura and Manokwari, registration of new participants is a complicated process. Official PKH cards are few and many were simply never distributed.

Recruitment and Requirements for Affiliates

It would be best not to recruit online due to the weakness of data reception, especially in Jayapura. As for requirements for program affiliates: often working with communities, completed Vocational High School (SMA) or undergraduate studies, on a local committee, can speak the local language, females (as advised by local correspondents), ‘the gift of the gab’ – comfortable speaking with people from all walks. Candidates are to be recruited through training and careful review of the program’s track record. Affiliates should be comfortable communicating with Social Services and other parties – but most importantly with the local people.

Leveling Funds for KSM (Very Poor Families) as per Local Cost of Living

In Papua, funds for KSM will need to be increased – especially for remote areas where funds must be flown or shipped in – if they are not commensurate with the cost of transportation.

Remuneration for Affiliates and the amount of PKH benefactors

Remuneration for affiliates considers the cost of living – as well as the overall difficult of area-specific duties. It would be best if both remuneration and transportation money was demarcated based on difficulty and cost of living. As for the number of people these affiliates can attend to, it depends on the terrain – because in Papua, one village may have very few people, while the next village may be on the backside of a nearby mountain. It is clear that one affiliate could not adequately assist 250 people. Rather one affiliate may be able to handle 50-100 benefactors / recipients, depending on the terrain.

Verification: Fasdik in school, and Faskes, need to be broad – detailing what the function of PKH actually is. Meeting in the Rakor would not be ideal, since those whom attend do not disseminate information downwards – to the community at large.

Capacity boost: Not only in theory or as an administrative problem, increasing capacity starts on a practical level with clear explanations of PKH, and anticipation of questions that will follow, and sharing amongst those in other places how to handle conflicts – or better still prevent them – through coordination with a number of local parties. This will require a few simulations of multiple stages of the program’s facilitation – and repeatedly.

Regency Coordinator

The regency coordinator must be able to guide the village head so as to increase educational services and health in the village using village funds: giving honors, training medical staff, and other activities – together with affiliates. Synergy with SKPD and other ventures will also need to be fostered. If transportation costs were manageable it would be best to create an event where all can be present, so that the mission of bringing down intergenerational poverty can be realized.

Payment

Communities need to know how much they will receive and how it will be broken down, scheduling times for distribution of funds. If uncertain, it is of course integral that no promises are made, especially as unforeseen circumstances could delay a payment – as often happens.

Coordinator for Papua Province

A coordinator for the province of Papua needs to be elected, effectively second in ranking after the provincial coordinator who has been chosen already, but whom continues to delay the process of the promotion.

Recommendations for BAPPENAS

Basic Services for Underdeveloped Villages

Most donors and governing bodies carefully select regencies in Papua and West Papua based on their being already somewhat developed – omitting the underdeveloped areas, where challenges are many.

Hammering out basic services in underdeveloped areas can be achieved through training of a few people in each village, especially the women – being healthcare providers whom can offer preventative advice, provide basic medicine, and assist childbirth in appropriately sterilized conditions. Efforts in local schools begin with encouraging teachers to use their mother tongue, while bringing in any locals whom can read, count, write, and speak the national language, to support the teachers – or become teachers themselves.

For Local Governing Bodies to become Targets for PKH Outreach

  1. Tim Anggaran Pemerintah Daerah (Government Budgeting Team) :
    1. Ensure that funds for affiliates from APBD for the Program Keluarga Harapan are 5% of the total amount allocated by PKH. These funds should cover affiliates’ operational costs and PKH operators, especially for transportation – enough for periodic visits to give support to recipients in small villages. These funds could also be used to throw events to increase the capacity for affiliates of PKH through a variety of training, which would vary according to their roles.
    2. Ensure that funds for affiliates are available to support PKH events in their relative SKPD, involving individual Bappeda, Social Serives, Health Services, Educational Services, Empowerment Services, communities and local governance, Female Empowerment Services, KB, SKPD, and others.
  2. Social Services :
    1. Ensure data is available, complete, and accurate – regarding very poor families in the regency. This data will be used for comparative purposes, alongside PKH data from the Ministry.
    2. Work together with Bappeda to shape up the UPPKH Regency involved in the related SKPD.
    3. Ensure that funds are allocated for data gathering, verification, and updates regarding poverty levels, to be used as reference for all social assistance programs for the impoverished in Raja Ampat regency.
    4. Make sure funds are allocated for UPPKH Regency operational events and UPPKH Regency.
    5. Ensure funds are allocated for use in events to boost the capacity of PKH affiliates.
    6. Make sure there is space for UPPKH; a safe space for operators and computers.

 

  1. Healthcare Services :
    1. Ensure that health clinics in each district are supplied and adequately staffed with doctors and midwives.
    2. Make sure each village has Pustu (supportive healthcare clinics) and Polindes (maternal care centers).
    3. Ensure each village has 1 midwife and 1 orderly for each facility
    4. Make sure each clinic has at least: doctor, midwife, orderly, nutritionist, immunization specialist, a pharmacist, and materials needed for maternal care (mothers and children).
    5. Ensure that a PONEK health clinic is available to reference cases of childbirth complications, labor, and complications amongst newborns.
    6. Ensure that in each Pustu and Polindes there is: a kit for midwives, a posyandu kit, an anthropometry kit, immunization, kantong persalinan, KIA book, and KMS (Kartu Menuju Sehat)
    7. Ensure electricity and clean water is adequate for each clinic / Pustu / Polindes – to provide community healthcare.
    8. Conduct monitoring of healthcare employee performance to make sure they do not leave the clinic early, therefore ignoring the needs of the community.
    9. Assist in the socialization of PKH for all healthcare service providers, especially those in healthcare clinics, Pustu, and Polindes, and push them to work together with the affiliates of PKH to monitor PKH participants.

 

  1. Educational Services :
    1. Teachers should be ready to take the attendance of children receiving PKH
    2. Explain peran fisik in schools with PKH recipients
    3. Ensure each village has a public school, teachers, and the means to teach well
    4. Ensure there is a Junior High in each district and dorms for students coming from afar, perhaps from distant islands.
    5. Make sure education is free from Public- to Junior High- School
    6. Help solcialize PKH throughout all shcools and give instructions to the school for them to work with affiliates of PKH in the process of verification
    7. Make sure all poor students receive BSM and KIP complementarily, for PKH
    8. Coordinate with schools (SD/MI, SMP/MTs, SMA/MA, SMK) to make sure children receiving PKH are quickly enrolled into classes again – if they have had to quit school.

 

  1. Village Head and Bamuskam:
    1. Involved with socialization events for PKH involving program affiliates, SKPD, district government, and help in explaining the program to community.
    2. Assist in events held to validate the data of PKH recipients.
    3. Make sure that teachers and healthcare providers have an adequate place to stay, using village funds.

 

‘Voices Above the Dam’ Trailer

Help Voices Above the Dam be heard.

Read. Watch the trailer. Take in the insights from this odd microcosm of the world. Or actually take a tour with us down the rivers of Riam Kanan.

For the feature length documentary to be completed some help is required. So please share, comment, suggest, and interact with ecomythos. And if you can donate that would also be marvelous (and gifted some nice merchandise in thanks).

Thanks for reading!

~D

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Camping in Borneo: Thugs, Gold, Coal, & Local Myth.

The midwife of Apuai says the whole world will end if Pahayangan Mountain is ever destroyed. “There will be no people. It will all be done with,” she says.

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Apuai, Riam Kanan, Kalimantan Selatan (South Borneo)

ASCENT

We get to the banks of Pahayangan and K leaves the narrow, wooden boat as though leaving a flip-flop behind, then heading off into the woods to hunt for deer and ready the camp before us. He moves with an extra sense guiding his feet over fallen logs – even while he’s looking at the sky. The deer hunter moves like a deer. My blood runs cold with envy realizing I’ll never walk that way.

Intact. Only this word could describe the world we found on that plateau on top of the mountain. The trees stood as tall as the shelves of limestone leading to the sky, reflected in a freshwater pool, busy with fish and monitor lizards.

MYTH

Villagers say that three monks once came to meditate here, leaving these three freshwater pools behind them – where they sat. Their beards grew long, and the monks were transformed into trees. If you cut them, they say, the trees here bleed. At times the trees even have faces, sobbing and waling in the night, says the chief’s mother in Rantau Bujur.

An effective ecomythos, I hope.

MIDNIGHT PROPOSITION

On the banks of the largest pool, the two rubber farmers and I settle down for the night. I clean the fish and fetch water from a nearby river while K starts the fire and D mixes spices.

The three of us doze off, as if surrounded in something soft, and wake up to a navy blue sky and stars. Waking before the others, I alone am blessed to hear the powerful screech of a cat in the jungle – may just have been a black panther.

We give in to a subtle, midnight hunger, and finish off the fish – while swatting mosquitoes.

Conversation takes form like a high-fiber bowel movement. I paid more attention to the sounds of the jungle, because I didn’t like where this was going.

No wonder their eyes had lit up when a foreigner walked into their village—the first foreign visitor in 40 years: The brothers had managed to extract a shipment of high calorie coal – from a protected forest – and were finding it especially hard to get rid of.

“Just take it back to Canada, or somewhere! Why not? You wouldn’t have to say where it’s from! They don’t know this area!” said D.

“I’ll think about it,” I said, in Bahasa Indonesia.

D THE RUBBER FARMER

Since he was a child, D’s father had him going down narrow tunnels, often too small for an adult, looking for gold and diamonds. He hardly schooled. He grew up in all-male camps where violent murders took place, every day. He drank mercury to be invulnerable to knife attacks.

Purchasers looking for wholesale prices often hike into these camps carrying money. D had worked his way up to becoming their protector. The way he cast his eyes to the soil, there was no question: he’d worked his way up tooth and nail – and not without a little blood.

“But I have a family now so I am trying just to get along planting rubber trees for our future,” he said (to paraphrase). “But every few months I have to go back.”

We went silent for a while. My mind was realizing how it always assumes the best about people. But also realizing that I may have become the same person, if I were born as D.

K THE DEER HUNTER

“By the way, how do you know about this place?” I said.

The deer hunter walks through the forest like an office worker down a busy street. He enters China town. He threatens a few people, says he’ll protect them if they grease his palm. And then he returns back to a village without electricity or cellphone signal. And if that isn’t far enough, the two brothers come here.

They once hid away here for an entire month, just fishing and lying low. The area is protected by myth, and they say even the forest rangers do not dare intrude.

MYTHS

Stars shoot in the sky above. I melt and hammer our conversation back in the direction of myth.

Watching the stars – but through the glare of the fire – I compare D’s tall tales with those I’d overheard in previous settlements, previous camping trips, all encircling the mountain of Pahayangan.

From every which angle, from every shantytown, Pahayangan Mountain has the shape of a monolithic, green coffee table. This is because, D reiterates, the mountain is a seven-headed snake – and it is always watching us; a specter of the three monks, whom were likely Chinese, like dragons. And they turn in our direction, staring us down, wherever we stand.

A few years ago I realized that mythology has huge effects on ecology here in Indonesia, and around the world. From Hindus unable to eat cows but able to eat critically endangered sea turtles, to Muslims unable to eat pigs or dogs – which therefore have very healthy numbers, and the western fetish for dogs and cats – over the unfortunate ones we consider ‘livestock’. I am always enthralled by the connections this line of thought can put together. I call them ecomythos.

In the area of Riam Kanan, these myths are working better than government regulations, logging restrictions, zoning restrictions, hunting restrictions—to keep ecosystems healthy; to keep the waters of an important catchment, powering a hydroelectric dam, and two provinces, from going dry.

A NEIGHBORING NATURE

D tells me about the Chief of Rantau Bujur, who fled to the woods after the Dutch took control of the area (and started killing all previous rulers). To this day, people still see him in these woods. He has a long beard now. And he appears only when he wants to. He can help you find your way if he wants. Or not. And if you take food without asking his permission, you will end up like that University student last year, who died after eating a freshwater shrimp – in actuality. And if you forget to offer him some of your food when you are eating, something bad may happen.

Anyway, they say that this spectral man married a woman from ‘a neighboring nature’ – an Islamic notion of another dimension, existing on top of visible reality. This neighboring nature becomes a convenient dumping zone for the old beliefs of converts – lore now deemed taboo, safely contained as though in the trap of Ghostbusters.

GONE IN A WALL OF SMOG

D tells me about the prince with the appetite. His kingdom supplied him entire cattle to eat. He decimated entire villages, and he was still only a baby. And so he was buried here—in the fertile dirt. And for this reason, once a year, women bake cakes and give them to the forest—to satiate the prince. But also to give thanks to the forest for what it brings—else it should close off in a wall of smoke.

Appreciate the forest or it will close in a wall of smoke.

Have not the Dutch gone? Have not the Japanese buggered off? Have not the communists been done away with? Have not the gerombolan gangs stopped pillaging and forcing tribes to enter Islam? Is Indonesia not finally independent?

For these reasons, the people continue their taboo ceremony—of making 42 cakes, and giving them to the ‘little people’ of their allotment, their dear ‘neighboring nature,’ where all of their lovely taboos and animistic hunches run free.

Contrary to their wishes, however, these woods are turned into walls of smoke for about four months of every year – as the rainforests are being slashed and burned.

ACTION

Within the last few weeks there has been a rise in the poaching of endangered, proboscis monkeys in the province—after a Chinese businessman successfully spread a myth about the benefits of eating their meat.

“It’s time we start using myths against them,” I suggest to Feri Hussein, the owner of the largest proboscis monkey conservation effort in Indonesia. It’s time we start being like Dian Fossey, the woman who died protecting the gorillas, who used to put on a dollar-store Halloween mask to convince poachers that the forests surrounding her gorillas were haunted.

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Apuai, Riam Kanan: The Leaf Frog (Kodok Daun!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fat Shaming in Ubud

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Max Ehrmann, Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life

“HAVE you ever thought of losing weight?” asked the owner of a vegetarian restaurant—while I was having breakfast with a friend. My friend looked insulted, glaring at the owner (whom was smoking a bloody cigarette meanwhile!) Having been in Indonesia a total of six years, I have become less reactionary to these things. Actually, I have come to expect them, because they happen mostly in a city overrun with foreign neurotics, fanatics, tourists, outright maniacs, and yogis–the city of Ubud, Bali.

To answer his question, I told Toni my story: Just last year I completed a 60 day juice fast and lost 15 kilograms. For two whole months I rarely ate more than an apple in a day—and only if I were feeling especially faint. For two whole months, I could barely focus on reading a book. Frequent checkups revealed progress, and so I pushed on. Blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol – within only two months I had achieved the best stats for my size. The Doctor was amazed and happy for me. “Keep doing what you’re doing,” he said.

Going back further, in 2011 I started having chest pains, quit my job, and went solo hiking in South Korea for a month and a half. I lost around 10 kilograms.

“That’s way too extreme though man. How about meditation? Learn to control your mind and then you can control your cravings. You need to find emptiness, and then build on that. Build a new idea of yourself. Someone that gives to other people. When you give things to other people it –”

To answer his question, I went over my 20 days of Vipassana meditation. “I saw a lot of giraffes. Every day. I was like ‘wow! It’s giraffe time again!’” I said—to grossly summarize a very challenging experience. I left the ashram the same as I came in. I felt so disillusioned that, as a vegetarian of some eight years, the next day I tried babi guling for the first time (that is Balinese food in case you didn’t know).

When I was eight years old my mom took me to the hospital. She had found me lying on the hallway floor on a beautiful Saturday afternoon—perhaps two or three weekends in a row. There were so many things I wanted to do, but I couldn’t.

That’s when I learned that I have European anemia. Thalassemia Minor. Iron deficiency, which often leaves sufferers searching for energy—often through food. As a result, often I cannot get enough oxygen. Tens of times I have tried to diet, only to end up sick, with a fever, running nose (my current symptoms, following another attempt at another diet). I have tried special diets and supplements, exercise, but haven’t felt much of a difference. Oh, and I have been doing hatha (and some pranayama) yoga for about four years, just FYI.

Two years ago was the last time I went to CP Lounge, which is one of your only options if you like to dance and you live in Ubud.

“Can you do something about that fat guy?” said an elegant little Yogi. “Honey, I don’t like dancing here with that fat guy.”

I sat down for a while just to get over it. Luckily I had a good friend whom pulled me up by the arm.

Then a bearded Yogi comes to me and says, “Man! You know what? You know that movie about those giants? Man! You could totally be one of them! Just destroying little villages!”

He proceeded to stomp on the ground like a sumo wrestler.

I laughed it off. But I really just wanted to throw a few people through the glass walls.

I have not been to CP Lounge since then.

And there are now two vegetarian restaurants that have made me feel very, very unwelcome:

In Soba Lounge on Jalan Gotama, the owner speaks to his wife in a very loud voice. So loud that my table of friends has to stop and listen.

“You can’t run around in a panic, eating this, eating that! Nom nom nom! Throwing stuff in your mouth and not thinking! Because if you’re not thinking, and you’re not feeling, you might as well be dead—like the Prince of Ubud!” he shouts.

As the only big guy in the restaurant, and as he was standing directly in my view, I knew he was addressing me. My friends were quiet. Conversation slowly picked up again—as if nothing had happened.

In Paradiso, I walked in front of a couch of beautiful, American yogis. We made eye contact. I smiled. They did not.

As I walked passed, one of them said, “We all saw him. Let’s not ignore it. Just try to assimilate it. Be one with him.”

“Maybe that’s just his body? Maybe he’s just like that?” I hear a couple say, in Alchemy, Penestanan. “Maybe he has always been big?”

I have been to your countries. I know where you’re from: America, Canada, Australia, and a handful of European countries, too. Places where I would not stand out in a crowd. Places where people of all shapes and sizes are welcome.

What would you do if I were a man with one leg?

And what about the Balinese man whom weighs more than me, pigging out on babi guling on the side of the road? Are you going to bother him, too? How about if he wants to dance—will you get in his way? Will he need a group of friends to make a circle—just to keep out a myriadium of insults from Ubud’s elegant, affluent yogis?

You want to help me? Tell me where I can find affordable yoga classes. Tell me where I can eat raw vegan without going bankrupt. Tell me where I can go and let loose without feeling like I’m back in high school.

I spent the first three months of 2016 in underdeveloped villages in Borneo, speaking every day in Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Banjar. Some of these people were of the Dayak Meratus tribes of South Kalimantan. The landscapes were welcoming. One could drink from the streams and wander into forests full of gibbons. But the food was terrible: Often just rice, and instant noodles. And for that reason, when my project was finished, I came to Ubud—hoping to find some stability, yoga, healthy food. After all, this is traditionally a place of healing!

But what I found in Ubud has made me miss the dear, simple people, and the real tribes of Indonesia, whom accepted me with warmth and sincerity!

No, I am still looking for my Sangha (In Buddhism: A supportive, inclusive community whom admit to their own faults and delusions, and encourage you to admit to your own madness–before helping one another to find the right path).

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Why ‘the Lungs of the World’ Sounds like ‘the Dutch East Indies’

85 Days. 12 Villages. 42 Boats. Borneo.

On the recommendation of Lambung Mangkurat University, I spent eighty five days down a system of rivers, in 12 villages, in a backwater of Indonesia – which almost did not exist in the English language, until now…

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Admiring the results of the Government’s expensive “greening” project? A grandma bathes her buffalo in a river — nearby the sunken village where she was born.

History Above the Riam Kanan Dam.

In 1974 a 30 Megawatt dam backed up the waterways of the Riam Kanan catchment. Refusing to relocate to the nearby city of Banjar Baru, entire communities went under, inhabitants forced to higher grounds – then compensated ‘a little,’ they all say. ‘But not enough!’

The dam itself was a form of compensation actually – a gift from Holland to Indonesia for 350 years of botched attempts at colonialism.

Apart from the rest of their island, the 9,588 people living above the dam struggle to see this mega-structure as a gift – actually it has them feeling colonized in a different sense.

Neocolonialism — with a twist?

‘Conserv-onialism’ in Riam Kanan.

In the first world, people lose their family homes if they do not pay taxes. Pak Basuki Rahmat in the village of Arta’in was especially shocked to hear this.

Basuki’s reply made it clear: Taxation and lack of meaningful ownership rights would be viewed as a form of colonization here in Kalimantan. An opinion I find very, very, very agreeable, as a Canadian expatriate.

If the trees in Riam Kanan were cut down, the water would dry up, causing blackouts in at least two major cities; therefore, farming is only allowed fifty meters above the river and for fifty meters inland. The planting of easy money, cash crops such as palm oil, suck up too much water – so are also forbidden. Indonesians do not like the word ‘forbidden’.

Though the cities around them were already being lit up, it would take 20 years for these villages to get power – and most of them are still reliant on noisy, problematic diesel generators. The villages of Apuai, Rantau Balai, and Rantau Bujur alone consume up to ten tons of diesel a month.

In the village of Bukit Batas, Tiwingan Baru, lights flicker on between the hours of 6 PM and off again by 11 PM; often not long enough to fully charge household devices.

“The people here are candles,” says the Pembakal of Rantau Bujur. “We are burning and other people are enjoying the light.”

Scientists have already set ‘cloud seeding’ in motion. Planes chemically seed the clouds in the north, causing rain. As clearly they’ll do anything to keep the electricity running, ancestral land rights have been taken away. Villagers here no longer have ancestral landowner rights, but hak pakai, limited usage rights. For 30 years they’ve fought for certificates of ownership, acting as collateral and enabling them to get bank loans – namely to build a single, usable road, which has also been forbidden for fears of over-development.

And because the dam would dry up, this is not going to happen.

The Emphysema of the World.

Usually between March and December, the annual torching of the world’s oldest rainforests on the same island should be as widely discussed as any ongoing global conflict – because it does involve all of us. The island’s moniker, ‘the lungs of the world,’ is starting to sound like ‘the Dutch East Indies,’ – an anachronism.

In the dry season the smoke is thick enough – even in the middle of the forest – Pembakal Hiruni of Kala’an Baru had to boat his baby niece to the city for treatment. In the middle of the jungle, the smoke was causing her to have serious breathing problems.

A firefighter from Tiwingan Lama posits perhaps only 5% of fires are natural. The rest are either accidental burns, locals taking it into their own hands to expand their allotted farmlands – by burning them – or multinational corporations recklessly clearing land for plantations.

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Before and after? Dammed.

The spatial pattern of the deforestation in the study area (ie. Irregular, small-sized, scattered on the fringes of the forest area), is related to the pattern of the village distribution (i.e. both are clustered in the lower area). […] the deforestation in the study area must have been caused by illegal cutting and extending the agricultural land on an individual farmer basis […] [LAND DEGRADATION & DEVELOPMENT, 9, 311-322(1998)]

If you can do that then why can’t I?

The Governments ‘Green Project’ of the sixties was another disaster. The idea was to plant trees, such as acacia and conifers, to conserve water in the catchment. The word above the dam, proyek penghijuan was a make-work project and daily reports were falsified to keep the money coming in. Large expanses of dry land – the result of bulldozers running amok in rich and protected forest unique in all the world – remain an eyesore

And if the Government can do such a thing then why aren’t rightful heirs to these lands free to do as they please? Another reason why ‘the lungs of the world’ sounds – to them – an awful lot like ‘the Dutch East Indies.’

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When Hard Knocks Pay Off.

Despite the regulations and the poverty that results in Riam Kanan, villagers here are born with more assets than many starting out in the city.

The average person does enjoy wide access to farmlands – where they plant mostly rice, peanuts, and rubber trees. These allotments of land come at a cost though: Clean water and electricity, basic education and health care are not part of the deal.

The Schools of Riam Kanan.

The throngs of beaming youngsters in these twelve villages are often more fluent in Arabic than they are in the national language of Bahasa Indonesia – confining them to a very provincial life. It’s almost as if, in their own perspective, their Indonesian cultural identity is fairly disposable. Because it’s not Islamic.

“Of course religion is important,” says a parent of Rantau Balai. “But it has nothing to do with the business of this world! It won’t get our kids jobs…We need a national school here! It’s very, very needed! That’s just my opinion though. Not everyone thinks this way.”

“A lot of the parents were worried that if religious teachings were brought down to only 75%, what would the future be like?” asked an Islamic teacher of the same village – where nevertheless I was warmly invited to give the only English language lessons these kids may ever receive (I was the first foreigner to visit the village in the past forty years).

Mercury Poisoning & Gold Mining in South Kalimantan / Banjarmasin (Borneo)

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A gold miner of Sungai Luar.

In Indonesia (and India) fools gold was once called rupa (derived from Mongolian). This is the root word for ‘merupakan,’ meaning ‘similar’ – of the same appearance. Rupiah, the local currency of Indonesia (and like the Indian Rupee), still uses this same root word. Because gold is similar to money and money is similar to fools gold.

In the village of Sungai Luar, South Kalimantan, a miner defends local gold fever as tradition, passed down from generation to generation.

In the village of Rantau Balai, a miner says he has been handling mercury since childhood – to separate gold from other minerals. He says the important thing is faith that there are no lasting side effects. He adds that, in Tanah Bumbu men often drink mercury as there is – and I have heard the story from a few sources – a belief that it will make them invulnerable to knife attacks.

In the twelve villages above the dam of Riam Kanan there are ten thousand people: rice farmers, rubber farmers, fish farmers, and miners. When the dam was built in the 70’s the streams rose, submerging villages – rivers became broad waterways. The catchment is now stagnant and either green with algae or brown with mud – run off from mining operations.

Fish farms gather like water spiders in bays where the gurame and nila fish spawn in the run off and the mercury. From the port of Tiwingan Lama these fish are then transported around the province – by night to keep them fresh. The meat passes through morning markets and on to the tables of millions – in Martapura, Banjar Baru, Kota Baru, Amuntai, and Banjarmasin.

In the Forest Park of Sultan Adem, rangers routinely collapse narrow tunnels – canals that often only teenage boys can squeeze through. Other rangers are more sympathetic, resorting only to corruption: opening their hands for a nugget – this according to the miners of Sungai Luar.

Trauma & Gold in Tanah Bumbu

In the village of Apuai I pay a Javanese shop owner for a story about trauma and gold in Tanah Bumbu. Workers were around seventy five meters down when the landslide came; on the surface alone there were people with broken bones, severe head wounds. Though uncertain of numbers at least fifteen people died, he says – when the eroded cliff behind them gave way. They had no way of excavating to those depths. Other miners expressed no shock when this story was repeated, and these events always go unreported. Because the gold attracts desperate men by the hundreds violent murder is supposedly a daily spectacle.

New Traditions? Or Oxymoron?

The Minangkabau tribe of Sumatra is both matriarchal and Muslim; women live together in large houses and newly-weds only briefly allowed to share a room. After conceiving children the men go out into the world to forge a living perhaps never to return again. This tradition is known as merantau, a word that many Indonesians are taking up to describe their desperate pilgrimages to new islands.

The people of Kalimantan once lived in fear of spreading viruses down the rivers scribbled across their island. Traditionally a rise of tens of meters would necessitate segregation of upper and lower communities – to avoid illnesses. Entire rivers were blocked for fear of disease, and to this day people wear dust masks even when travelling in pristine locations – a habit stemming from this old belief of masuk angin.

But nowadays money is prioritized over healthy food, clean water, and illness.

A father and son from Bunglai travelled thousands of kilometers to find gold in West Papua where they both have contracted malaria. Now only the father remains, in critical condition and without money to come return home to Kalimantan.

The head of the village of Rantau Bujur creates a new definition for the village’s name to reflect the new tradition. Rantau, meant to describe a troublesome river, could instead be thought of as an abbreviation of merantau: to journey abroad and make a living. Nowadays this is what many men of the village do, after all. Rantau Bujur (Bujur meaning ‘truly’) comes into new meaning: A truly arduous trip abroad to find more Rupiah. And what is Rupiah for most people but something resembling gold – therefore resembling food, water, and shelter?

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Going down 40 meters – sitting on a stick of ulin wood…