Thursday, January 12, 2006

Asmat Man, West Papua (Courtesy of Ushuaia, 2000)
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The Making of Sago Palm Flour, Asmat Tribe, West Papua

(Photos Courtesy of Claudia Caduff, 2005)

The sago palms (metroxylon sagu) are commonly seen palms in West Papua (as well in some areas of Moluccas Islands and many regions in South East Asia). Similar to coconut trees, sago palms considered as very useful plants, the trees of life, for the people of Papua.

The above pictures describe how the Asmat women are preparing to make sago flour. A trunk of a suckering palm is felled just before the appearance of its terminal inflorescence. Its carbohydrate content is then at its highest level in order to produce seeds. The marrow of the stem is laboriously chopped out as finely as possible and its starch then washed out and separated from the cellulose. This gooey substance is cooked in a similar way to a pancake and eaten perhaps with freshly caught fish. It has been said that "...where sagu palm grows, nobody ever goes hungry".

Mother & Son, Asmat Tribe, West Papua (Courtesy of Ushuaia, 2000)
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Ushuaia's Expedition to Asmat, Irian Jaya, in 2000

(All Photos courtesy of Ushuaia, 2000)

Asmat Houses (Courtesy of Claudia Caduff, 2005)
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Asmat Women (Courtesy of Claudia Caduff, 2005)
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From Cruise WC 03 (Kei-Agats-Timika), Nov 7/Nov 18, 2005

(All Photos Courtesy of Claudia Caduff)

For further information on Cruise Kei-Agats-Timika 2006,
kindly click the link: Cruise WC 2 (Kei-Agats-Timika), Nov 2/Nov 13, 2006.