Sunday, January 17, 2010

Satan Leaves in the Table Mountain of Manokwari

Still about the exploration of the rainforest in the Table Mountain of Manokwari which was done yesterday (16 January 2010), while I was walking in the middle of the jungle with three Russian eco-travelers, I came across with a unique plant as shown in the following picture. The Papuan people call it Daun Setan (or Satan Leaves). Its leaves look narrow with slightly rounded tip. The leaves are green. In the Tambrauw region, the local people grow this plant in front of their houses believing that they can expell wicked or bad spirits from entering their houses. Although most of the indigenous Papuan people are now Christians, they still practice certain traditional beliefs such as growing such plants to protect the family members from the satanic spirits.
Mike, one of the Russian biologists, who was carrying a tele-lense digital camera also took some pictures of this green plant. While talking with him, I said that I was interested in buying such camera to take photos of various plants, mushrooms, insects, birds and other ground animals in this jungle of table mountain and write about them in my blog. He told me that it was expensive. So, I have to collect some money before being able to buy this electronic device. Mike used it to shoot King Kakatoe bird which was sitting on a branch of a tall tree. I could not take such picture as my digital camera was not equipped with long distance lenses.
While we were walking to a natural cave located deep in the forest of Table Mountain (Gunung Meja) of Manokwari, we arrived at a place where there was an eucalyptus tree. It was not an endemic plant species of Papua. It had been planted by the Dutch who were working as forest guard between 1950s and 1960s. Paul (the local forest guide) said that his uncle used to live in a house which was built in that place to protect the forest. We could not see that house anymore.
Inga, one of the Russian eco travelers, walked to that eucalyptus tree. Mike and Dima took some pictures of her. I also took some photos of her. Unfortunately, the setting which I made on my digital camera was for short distance photo shoot. I forgot to change it to automatic settings as a result the photo of Inga standing by the eucalytus tree was blurred. But it was OK. These Russians - Mike, Dima and InGa will be staying in Manokwari from 14 to 26 of January 2010. They stay in Penginapan KAGUM - a cheap hotel in Manokwari which is located on Brawijaya Street, behind Xavier Bookstore.
The journey to the cave was still long and we had to continue walking again. Before going, I pulled out one sanseviera. I wanted to plant it in front of my bookstore.
The local government of Manokwari, the Papua Barat province of Indonesia, intends to develop the Table Mountain as forest for tourism (Hutan Wisata). They have widened the road leading to the forest and built a gate with a small wooden house near it. I see that the local government invest a lot of money for building such infrastructure. In my opinion, what they should do is cleaning the forest from garbage dumped by the town dwellers of Manokwari. That's the most important priority which they must do if they want the forest of Gunung Meja to be a tourist attraction. In addition, they must punish those who throw garbage in the area as a shock therapy for anybody who does not respect or appreciate the existance of this important rainforest. by Charles Roring

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