Ally has had the opportunity to travel to some extraordinary places in the short time that we have lived here. Places with a wealth of culture. Places wrought with diversity. And, places entrenched in history or committed to growing with the future. Each place incomparable to another.
Last Friday, she and the other MZS middle school students (accompanied by security, teachers, and parents) had an opportunity to explore their backyard and visit a local Papuan village. The experience was unlike anything they have encountered. Aside from challenging their comfort zone, it widened their cultural frame of reference. It was a unique and rare opportunity for them to see and connect with local people.
A group picture of the MZS middle school students and their teachers. Ally is standing at the far end.
A picture of the group hiking along a river.
The group had to hike up this steep hill to get to Banti Dua, Banti’s sister village.
The Banti school students lined up and patiently waited for our group to arrive, so they could join the fun.
Ally and a group of kids from the village.
Ally and her friends, Arie and Monalisa. They took the hand of an “angel” and wouldn’t let go. The Papuans believe that people with golden hair are close to God and akin to angels.
This suspension bridge connects the two sides of the village. It’s a source of grand entertainment and amusement for the children of the village – they love running up and down the bridge. After a few minutes of watching, the MZS students joined in and started running with them.
A Papuan woman with a pig. Pigs are an important commodity in Papuan communities; they are used as a source of currency, as a means of income, and in traditional ceremonies.
A family relaxing on their porch. It’s common practice for families, extended family members, dogs, and pigs to reside in a single family dwelling.
A group of young kids, sitting on a rock wall, watching our group walk through their village.
A group of Papuan women and children sitting near a roadside market. They are selling Indonesian celery and chayote squash, which were grown in and harvested from their native gardens.
Two men with a machete.
These two men, with their bows and arrows, were on their way to hunt bird in the rainforest.
I love this picture of a young boy (and his friend) wearing a traditional bag around his neck and bright blue gum boots on his feet.
A young boy playing with his toy helicopter.
An older member of the village. She sat on a pile of rocks outside her home and welcomed us into her village.
Our tour ended at the Banti school. The company invests a lot of time, money, and resources to support the people of Banti, including building, renovating, and staffing the school.