The Korowai Tribe of Papua is among the most unique tribes we found so far in Irian Jaya before, now Papua. They are living high up on the trees which they built on the tree trunks. A tree house will be remain to be used for about 3 years, or till the tree is eastern by the termites. Once the tree house is eaten, they will search for the new tree to live on. A Korowai tree house is made of wood and tree bark, plus some bamboo and sago leaves for the roof. The house can be about 10 m, or 20 m or higher from the ground level.
So called villages in Korowai usually consist of 2 or 3 houses only, seldom more. As they are semi-nomadic peoples, we might be unable to find a village on the same site few years after our visit.
Even thought they are semi-nomadic peoples, but they also do gardening for living. Banana is among the famous plant for them, and occasionally, they also plant some pineapple. Food gathering is the daily activity for the Korowai people. Men are carrying arc and bow to hunt birds, wild boar, and other faunas; sometimes they do fishing and collecting the sago worm. While the women are working on the sago processing, taking the starch of the sago and tackle it home. Main food staple is the sago with some supplement such as fish or sago worm. But if they found no supplement, there will be sago only which is roasted on the fire.
Few tips/things to take into account if going there:
1.Jungle is very hostile environment for white people. It’s really hot, humid and full of blood sucking horseflies and mosquitos. Wear long trousers and long sleeve shirt and cover your neck with scarf etc. at least while trekking.
2. Use efficient (factor 50) sun screen especially during the boat trip. The sun is really violent on equator and you can’t see or feel the burning skin until it’s too late. I know.
3. Drinking water is taken from the river during the trek and it needs to be boiled. It means that:
4. The amount of water is limited, so don’t waste it
5. It’s hot if it hasn’t cooled down over the night (it’s practical to pour extra tea/coffee
6.Water to a hot resistant water bottle to cool down for the next day)
7. It tastes slightly bad, so you just need to accept it
8. Take antibacterial powder with you. Even small wounds/blisters don’t heal easily there and powder works best as it keeps the wound dry.
9. Bring headlamp. You’ll need it!