Resilient Communities: Kembiam, Sepik River

The Sepik river has hundreds of lakes (Raun wara) at least
300-500 meters from the main river. These lakes are connected to the river by smalls waterways (Baret), which allows people to access the lakes from the main river.And where there is no waterway, the people dig their own to allow canoes to travel inland.


The picture shows a baret dug by the people Kembiam village in Kambu LLG who dwell some 3-4 miles (1 hour walk) inland of the Sepik river. The canal or waterway was made so that the people from Korogu village, on the banks of Sepik river can travel inland with their canoes to sell and trade.
This shows how resilient the people are; in the absence of government services, they make their own way to receive services from their river family.
The passage is about 2 meters wide and 2-3 meters deep, enough for a dug out canoe with a 40 horse power motor engine to pass through.

Further upstream is the central trading location. Korogu being on the Sepik river has no land for gardening, no buai and coconuts. It can only bring fish from the river. The Yamuk people inland have good land for buai, sago, etc.
So for generations, there has been trade relations between the two tribes (Barter system), the ones on the river and the ones inland.
The aim of the trade system is to foster and maintain the relationship that has existed for generations, and also to supply each others needs/wants.
The Yamuk people are mother to the Korogu as they supply saksak, buai and garden food.
The Korogu people are son to the Yamuk as they provide fish for the people inland.

At the market, they start off the market by buying and selling using modern money, and everything there is below 50 toea
Once the buying and selling is done, they start trading.
I have learned about barter trading in school but this was the first time I witnessed it, in Sepik river.

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