Know the Life of the Asmat in Kampung Yepem

Hasil ukiran Asmat di Kampung Yepem. Foto: Agapitus Batbual 

Kampung Yepem, located right on the Estuary Kali Siretsy, suburb of Agats City, Asmat District, Papua. This village is right opposite the Arafura Sea.
The inhabitants of this village there are 175 families or 655 inhabitants. They used to sell crops to the city of Agats wear outboard motor 18 PK, about 20 minutes.
The population of farmers and fishermen sells a variety of commodities, such as shrimp, fish, coconut, vegetables, bananas, cassava, taro, petatas and sago.
Kampung Yeyem entered the ranks of Bisman Clumps. There are several villages in Bisman Village, ie Kampung Ewer, Kampung Us, Peer, Syuru, Beriten, Agats, and Mbait.
Kala to Kampung Yepem, left-right mangrove trees lined beautifully in the mud Asmat. There is dry wood floating. There is a fallen tree. Gulls, pelican and storks, look busy looking for food.
In the shoreline of tree-lined trees, residents put up a big board of warning. "Stop cutting down trees! Let's protect the mangroves and the river equivalent. Spatial Regulation no. 6 of 2012, Article 21 of the Local Protected Area. Ndormoooo. "
On top of this warning, there is the symbol of the Asmat Government, Forestry, USAID-Lestari, WWF and Blue Forressis.
When arrived at Kali Yomot, with the estuary where the birds are located. Apparently, that's where the inhabitants of Yepem catch shrimp using either a net or fishing line.
I entered the house reading "Village Carving Studio Yepem." Looks people busy weaving and carving. A child is taught to carve his father.

 Warga Yepem, menitipkan ikan yang akan dijual ke kota. Foto: Agapitus Batbual 

Next to the house, there is a traditional house of Asmat called jeuw. This house is relatively high, about one meter. Poles (juam) are firmly planted in the ground. At the top there is a mangi-mangi wood called ondow and sago leaves as a cover called mbate.
Asmat residents, maintain forests for their survival. The Asmat Forestry Office helps the people through the tree planting movement.
Paskalis Wakat, the youth of the village, said their forests contain a variety of plants, on the beach, growing a variety of mangroves such as pits, salt trees, to mangroves. While the forest is somewhat inward, among others, contains iron wood.
He said the variety of plants is naturally preserved since the ancestors of Kampung Yepem. "We keep maintaining nature because there our culture, for the future of grandchildren," he said.
Wakat has woven art studio and carving. He taught the next generation to be good at carving for boys and weaving for women.
For him, parents in Kampung Yepem, should teach children to grow up to adults in this studio. "Need to continue to adult mentoring," he said.
They must use the Asmat's philosophy of unifying the majesty of God, ancestral spirits, neighbor and forest. The children also have to keep the forest in Kampung Yepem, well.
The Yepem people farming is amazing. In the midst of large tree lushes, people use the land, can be near the sea.

 Ikan hasil tangkap warga Kampung Yepem. Foto: Agapitus Batbual 

I was shocked, from the speedboat to see there is soil humus a kind of wood pulp at the edge of Yepem Beach, full of plants. Appeared on top of the humus is a banana tree, long beans, eggplant, spinach, cabbage, spinach, sugarcane, coffee to coconut!
To me, rarely is this scene, plants grow very close to saltwater.

Wakat said they planned to make a tourism village in Yepem Village. From the natural side, sago is still abundant, wood is available, and the seafood is also abundant.
I walked a little deep in the village, looks palm neatly on the edge of the times.
Kaspar Mamnak, a resident of Yepem also a member of the Asmat Indigenous Society (LMAA) is grateful, Yepem was given abundant wealth. As a thanksgiving to God and the ancestors, the inhabitants should not destroy the forest. In fact, their rules prohibit people from skinning trees when they are looking for firewood.

"It is strictly forbidden to cut trees on the banks of Kali Yomot. Various birds looking for food on the beach are forbidden to be thrown out, dipanah or diketapel, air rifles. They are the same as we use nature and the forest, "said Mamnak.

He told me that Yepem Village had no pits and salt trees. Residents want to plant and ask Mgr. Alfons Sowada, the Catholic Bishop of Agats-Catholic missionary from the United States-to give the seeds of this tree.

They are afraid of the abrasion of the village of Yepem. They planted this tree to large and many buds. Currently, the pit and salt seedling is overpowering here.

When the morning, the women row a boat, inside carrying fishing rods and nets. There is also carrying a bucket to draw small shrimp. Alam Asmat is very rich and abundant potential both land and sea.

On land, they rely on thousands of sago palms for staple food. There are also coconut, coffee, durian, cashew, rubber, rambutan to papaya.

Konradus Minip, a resident of Yepem developed coconut. "I have a coconut of five hectares and want to add as well. The coconut meat of this village is very thick compared to other places outside Agats even in Merauke, "he said.

He planted coconuts since the 1980s. Initially, Kampung Yepem, could not grow coconut. Little by little, he kept trying to be assisted by the Asmat Agricultural Service. Now, Minip becomes provider of coconut seeds.

Kali Yomot dan mangrove . Foto: Agapitus Batbual 

Throughout Asmat, the Plantation Office, asked for more seeds for Kampung Warse, Kampung Ayam and Kampung Kakai.

Yosep Ker, Head of Kampung Yepem said that Asmat custom is still strong. Asmat people, he said, know karuu, a place that is considered sacred by custom. There is also, if there is deforestation, they mark with young sago leaves.

"For example, old villages, stones, ancestral places, iron wood forests, ancestral habitation sites, their water sources forbid," he said.
To determine a valid sacred place, he said, they produce by mutual agreement. "If violated, it could result in death, sooner or later."
Source of clean water
Throughout the Asmat, the main problem is the difficult source of clean water. Population use rain water tankers in the form of tank profile size 11.00 Lliter.
There is one source of fresh water of Agats City namely Kali Yomot. This time the water is sucked with the engine and flowed into Agats via a large pipe managed by the Asmat Public Works Agency.

I had time to go to this water source, along the way upriver. The Yepem people call it intake.
We walk upstream. I am a little afraid also because according to the new people Wakat came banned down to the ground.

"New people can not enter. This is forbidden forest. "
Their rule is for the forest to wake up. I see from a distance of ironwood trees twice the adult hugs.
We arrived at Intek, tenyata only upstream times. In the middle of the times, stands home a vacuum machine. Small machine but can suck water.

Prior to this location, there was a ban board from the Public Works Office about only officers may enter this place.
There is a water guard house, a fire stove is not working anymore. This house is divided into two rooms. One toilet, was clogged and another bathroom. All are on the swamp.

Upon returning home, I noticed that the engine oil spill littered the source of this clean water. Seen black grass swamp.
Melianus Jitmau, Head of the Asmat Public Works Department, said the demands of Yepem residents, the government to build installation installations, to school. The government of Papua has allocated funds of about Rp 3 billion. He said the government could not meet all the needs of citizens.
Warga Yepem, dengan alat transportasi air. Foto: Agapitus Batbual 

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