National Geographic : 1966 Jun
Many of the porters fanned out along the route, traveling at their own pace, some ahead of us, some behind. Since they were out of our sight most of the time, we feared part of our property might vanish forever. But when the reckoning came at the end of the march, only an umbrella had been misplaced. A cast had just been removed from Ann's knee-dislocated during our stay in Rabaul so the trek took us four days instead of the usual three. Our policeman-escort, genially accepting our snail's pace, expressed high regard for the stamina of American women. Ann and I parted at Pomalal and went on to the villages of Dulago and Umbi, our re spective bases, ten miles apart. In Dulago live the Sengseng; in Umbi live the Kaulong. For each of us there was a little house, built by the villagers since our 1962 visit. To say the people "live" in these villages is to use the word loosely. They prefer to spend most of their time in the surrounding forest, where they can be close to the gardens and game that provide their food. Here they sleep in small huts and tend plots of taro, manioc, tobacco, sugar cane, and other crops. Only on special occasions, such as the weekly cleanup days, the day of the annual census, or other rare visits from government Preening forest maiden stares into a trade-goods mirror backed with a photograph of an actress. She combs stylish blackening into her mushroom hairdo. Tattoos beautify her cheeks. Volcanic New Britain, 300 miles long, leaped in to the headlines during World War II. Japanese troops converted Rabaul into a powerful base that blocked the Allied advance for two years. Today the island, a part of the Australian-administered U. N. Trust Territory of New Guinea, still harbors in its interior a people barely brushed by civiliza tion. Enlarged map shows trails followed by Drs. Goodale and Chowning as they studied New Britain's Kaulong and Sengseng peoples. EQUATOR TRUST TERRITORY OF NEW GUINEA oMANUS (Australia) BismIrL) Bismarck Sea I J AchipIa o " RaNEW N GIBRTAIN OLOMON e A AREA ISLANDS -q Arafur PortMoresby° Sea, = GUADALCANAL : •" I- ."Great " 'Darwi Barrier Reef Coral Sea 0 250 500 750 STATUTEMILES AT EQUATOR officers, do all the people gather in the vil lages, which they built on official orders (pages 796-7). Each family has a house of hand-hewn planks; a large "men's house" shelters the community's bachelors. A recent census credited Umbi, largest vil lage in the region, with 78 occupants in a dozen homes. Dulago, one of the smallest communities, had 40 people living in seven or eight houses. Wealth Reckoned in Gold-lipped Shells Most Kaulong and Sengseng readily accept Australian or other currency as pay, but they attach far greater value to gold-lipped pearl shells for barter among themselves. If a man owns many shells, he is wealthy. The large shells, handsome, almost circular, with gleaming inner surfaces, come mainly from the island of Manus, northwest of New Britain. To the Kaulong and Sengseng, shells range in value from five shillings to three Aus tralian pounds, depending on size and quality. Once a year labor contractors recruit small numbers of Kaulong and Sengseng to work at the Australian naval station on Manus. These highly prized jobs offer the opportunity to dive for, or buy cheaply, many pearl shells. Other shells reach the interior via native ELLICE ° 41 ISLANDS' " Pacific NEW a l HEBRIDES ISLA S '*. <- ' OceaL uva 799 TOKELAU ,-, . ISLANDS rt 'SAMOA . ISLANDS 9 .