Sunday, April 24, 2011

Small wooden house of Arfak tribe in Kwau village of Arfak mountains

The small wooden house below is a typical traditional dwelling place of Hatam people. Hatam is one of the indigenous tribes who live in Arfak mountains of Manokwari regency in West Papua province of Indonesia. The house was built on a slope in Kwau village. I went there on 14 April 2011 with Ad Rappange - a tourist from Switzerland. Two crews from TOP TV - Nadia Siregar and Edo also went with us. Most of the traditional wooden houses have similar designs. The interior is not divided into smaller rooms like what we have in the city. The walls were made of bark reinforced with wooden sticks. The floor is made of bamboo supported by a lot of wooden posts. The Papuan do not use nails to join the wooden posts and beams. They tight them with split rattan. The houses do not have windows.
This traditional wooden house does not experience a lot of changes both in the design and method of construction. The only noticeable change that we can see in most of the houses is the roof material. In the past, the Hatam tribe used pandanus leaves as roofs. Now most of them have been replaced by corrugated metal roof called seng that is more resistant to rain. Because the houses do not have ceilings, the temperature inside the house is usually high during sunny days. 
The Hatam people like to grow flower around their houses. Although there is a high demand for fresh flowers in Manokwari city, they don't consider it as market or business opportunity. For them flowers are decorative plants that can beautify their houses and their Kwau village. The cool temperature in Kwau village makes the flowers grow well without any need of fertilizer. 
In recent years, villagers have constructed concrete houses in Kwau village. The concrete house actually is not suitable for them because the interior temperature will be colder at nights. However, they build the houses to show to other people that economically they are not poor. In most cases, I see that although they already have got a new concrete house, they still live in their traditional wooden houses that are warmer at nights. Kwau village is located on a slope in Arfak mountains some 1350 meters above sea level. by Charles Roring
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