A life of contentment in the rainforest. The Korowai People of West Papua in Melanesia.
Living in the trees is natural for the Korowai and Kombai people in the southern eastern Papua. These tribal Melanesians are one of the last people on the planet who survive purely on their natural environment. The Korowai’s are also referred to as the Kolufo and have become known to the world through pictures and documentaries as one of the most amazing architects of tree houses.
The tree house builders survive in the basin of the Brazzan River in large areas of deep rainforest and swampy lowland. They are hunter-gatherers and horticulturists who practice shift-cultivation and have a very rich and an extraordinary oral tradition. They live together in small communities.
The higher they built a house, the more prestigious it is. The reason behind this amazing architecture which often reaches up to 100 feet or more off the ground is to avoid floods, insects and diseases. It was also a way to spot tribal enemies as the Korowai themselves had practiced cannibalism in the past.
The Korowai people build their houses high above the forest floor, and deep in the swampy lowland jungles of Papua.
In the BBC documentary below, you can watch from start to finish, how a Korowai tree house is built.
There is a term I heard when I was growing up. It was “yellow-top”. It was also called “blondie top”. I have heard people from mine and other provinces used this term in Papua New Guinea to refer to East New Britain and New Irelanders. It was not meant to be derogatory in any way; people from these places had natural blonde hair. This ‘look’ is found in many other Melanesian populations across the Pacific. I guess this blonde look on black skin has intrigued other races but to us (Melanesians), it is quite normal.
I accidentally found this video on YouTube and I wanted to share it. I found some of the narration quite amusing, especially in the pronunciation and arguments about the races/genes that could have contributed to the hair colour. The study was interesting.
In the next video, as it is Christmas Eve, I wanted to share some gospel music from the Melanesia. As majority of our people have followed Christianity, these songs are for worshipping. The Melanesian Choirs (Solomon Islands) sung these songs in the movie, The Thin Red Line.
This choir and the songs remind me of Christmas and my childhood memories. I miss those days when I spent Christmas with my mother, grandmother and aunts, and we would sing. It is this time that I remember all these amazing women, some gone and some afar, that love to sing their hearts out. I hope you enjoy the choir.