R e2429 V2 evised Social Assessment for the png rural Communications Project Nancy Sullivan 10 10 Purpose of the Social Assessment The objectives of the Social Assessment are to

Download 271.5 Kb.
Size271.5 Kb.
1   2   3   4   5

The Karamui Plateau

Karamui: ‘Mipela bek page taun’ (We’re a back page town)
Karamui station sits on the edge of a wide plateau just north of Mt. Karamui. The plateau hosts several major villages beside Karamui Station, and they are: Kiripari, Negabo, Tua, Tiligi, Masi, Diba and Yogoromaru to the west, and Boisamalu, Solita, Mieiu, Periai to the north, Naio, Wairo, Hwaiyo, Wairo, Waiyo, Yuro and Hoyaisiui to the east. Both Yuro and Negabo also have small mission airstrips. The current APO is Karamui Health Centre estimates that the wider population, embracing these villages, numbers roughly 16,000. There is also an aid post at Negabo, which serves the more southern villages of Sora, Noru and Dobu, towards the Erave River.
Karamui Plateau is culturally related to the Gulf Province. The Karamui people share much in common with fellow Pawaian speakers to the east on the southern side of Crater Mountain (at Haia), and below, the communities in the Gulf hinterland above the Kikori Delta (where the Fly River, Turama River, Purari and Kikori Rivers converge to meet the sea). Communities inhabiting the Papuan Gulf primarily live in both villages on the shore or in coastal mangrove forests, as well as in key regional centers like Kerema. Their north hinterland neighbours depend on sago, and this is the common denominator between these Gulf cultures and the southern Simbu-Eastern Highlands communities of Karamui, Haia and Wabo.
The cultural groups that inhabit this region speak Non-Austronesian languages and possess patrilineal descent systems. (see Horticulture is the industry and science of plant cultivation. Some would say that horticulture is the process of preparing soil for the planting of seeds, tubers, or cuttings. Horticulturists work and conduct research in the disciplines of plant propagation and cultivation, crop production, plant...
A comparative study of Kuman and Pawaian, by D. Trefry. Canberra, Australian National University, 1969).Communities are organized on the basis of tribal and clan boundaries. The Salt-Nomane people claim part ownership of the mineral rich crater Mountain to their east, as part of their traditional hunting and sago ground.

But the Karamui people also face north. They look to Kundiawa and Goroka as their regional centres, and they come and go from the highland communities to their north. In this way they are truly a blend of coastal and highlands cultures, some might say the best of both: entrepreneurial, industrious, and yet pacific, not aggressive.
The Papua New Guinea Highlanders are amongst the world’s earliest horticulturalists, and perhaps the oldest continuous horticulturalists. Their social systems are the model for what anthropologists call ’big man’ societies, a form of egalitarianism that predates most western forms of democracy. Highlanders are also referred to as ‘pre-adapted to capitalism,’ demonstrating a form of ‘ebullient materialism.’ Their leaders are mankind’s quintessential entrepreneurs, amassing wealth in extended systems of ceremonial exchange called moka and tee.
Karimui-Nomane District is in the south of the province and covers the lower Wahgi, Tua, Oima, Purari, Koma and Pio valleys, the Karimui Plateau and extensive mountain ranges. Average annual rainfall ranges between 2700 and 4000 mm, increasing from north to south. Altitude varies from 300 m in the Purari Valley, to over 2800 m on Mt Karimui, which is an extinct volcano. Most people live between 800 and 1200 m in the Karimui area, and at higher altitudes of 1500 to 2200 m in the Nomane area.
The estimated rural population in the year 2000 is 26 000. The areas around Karimui in the middle of the district, and Unani in the west, have densities of 23 persons/km2. For some decades, ethnically different Chimbu speakers from the north of the province have been moving into the areas around Mt Karimui and opening up forest for the cultivation of low intensity sweet potato gardens.
The major clans in Karamui are the Yasi and Daribi clans. The Karamui speak Pawaia language, as do the Naiyo, Wabo and Haia people to the south and east. They also understand Gumine and Nomane languages. Traditionally the Karamui Plateau people were trading middlemen between the Gulf people and the Southern Highlands and elsewhere in Chimbu. They brought salts and shells from the coast and sent stone axes down to it.
Development history
It is interesting to note that they are exceptionally industrious as smallholders, and that this resourcefulness carries over to their civic life. In this sense they are much like the Simbu people in general. A 2002 a Department of Education report remarked upon this initiative in a discussion of teachers who lack motivation (National Department of Education 2002:40):
Too many at present remain confined to the office and have neither the inclination nor the motivation to look around for ways in which they can carry out their responsibilities… One province, Simbu, has displayed the type of initiative that is required. They have bought a number of horses to be used in the remote Karamui District. The elementary trainers in the district have been trained to ride the horses and to take care of them.
Industrious and driven like Highlanders in general, the people of Karamui are cut off from the real business opportunities of Kundiawa and the Highlands Highway. They are also just outside the boundaries of the development revolution happening to their south.
Since the early 1990s, communities of the Papuan Gulf have experienced intensive localized development by multinational oil and logging companies. An oil pipeline now stretches from the Kutubu oil project in the Southern Highlands to an offshore oil terminal in the Gulf of Papua. Several logging camps have also been established, most of which are operated by Malaysian company Rimbunan Hijau.
While the long-term social and environmental impacts of these resource extraction projects has yet to be assessed, they have certainly generated a mixture of envy and fear from the communities just outside range, including Karamui. This is understandable when we realize that, in 1980 Salt-Nomane was one of 16 (out of 85) least developed districts in the entire country, and still, by 1996, it was predicted to be one of the poorest for that year (making it one of the 19 worst districts in PNG). (Bourke and Hanson 2009: 486-7)
Today the Karamui live on sago, and have lowland fruits and bananas, while they have also rich highlands subsistence base of sweet potatoes, yams, cucumbers, a wide variety of greens, and peanuts. Karamui Plateau is a watershed area, geographically, materially and culturally. It lies just above the junction of the Wahgi and the Purari Rivers, representing two very different horticultures and climates. Enjoying a perfectly temperate climate, Karamui farmers can grow almost anything, from mangoes, pawpaws, bananas, cocoa and copra, to kaukau, beans, cabbage, and peanuts. They grow rice as well as coffee, and planted vanilla as well as cardamom several years ago (cardamom was first planted commercially here in 1973).
When the news reached them in 2003 or 2004 that Sepik vanilla growers were getting as much as K500/kilo for A grade vanilla beans, Karamui farmers started clearing their coffee gardens to plant vanilla. The vanilla boom functioned a little like a pyramid scheme, however, and the first wave of farmers made great money, some even as much as K8-900/kilo, but the following waves made dramatically less. By the time the Karamui vanilla could be picked, the price was more like K30-40/kilo. Roughly 10% of those who planted actually got good money. One story recounts how a grower resorted to painting his beans darker and weighting his shipment with a brick, which, not surprisingly, was soon discovered.

Six tonnes of Arabica cherry and green bean coffee come out of Karamui station by mission planes every year. It is sold either at Kongo Coffee in Kundiawa, or preferably, for a slightly better price (K4.70-4.80 rather than K4.50/kilo), to one of three or four buyers in Goroka: Buso, Nodu and Airport Coffee. The cost of a single ticket to Kundiawa is slightly cheaper than to Goroka (K180 to Kundiawa, K220 to Goroka), and all shipped cargo is charged at K2.20/kilo. By contrast, a sign near the District Office in Karamui offers to buy beans for K1.60/kilo.
January is the month for peanut sales in karamui. Bags and bags of peanuts are airlifted to the Goroka market every week. Every day families roll out their peanuts on tarpaulins to dry, and roll them up quickly when the afternoon rains begin. A ‘hand’ of peanuts that might cost K5 in Goroka goes for K1 in Karamui, and the fistful normally sold in town for 50t is 10t in the local market. Children chew peanuts from morning to night, which goes some way toward explaining how fit they all appear.
Freight claims half the profit for peanuts, so people wait until a big man charters the MAF or SDA plane (the Cessna will cost K1800, the twin engine K5500) and they can load all their bags at once. Whomever brings the bag to market in Goroka will take half the profit, though, which means a K150 price tag in Goroka for a 20 kilo bag will bring the farmer K75. In Karamui, the same bag is K40.
There are smallhold cocoa trees, a limited amount of copra planted, as well as betelnut, and an oil palm plantation is being cleared for planting.
The Karamui people also grow rice. Because the shipping costs forces the retail price too high to compete with other rice in town, they only sell this locally. But they do provide rice to Wabo, on their southeast, where the Interoil project creates a demand. The station has about 3 rice mills, which people charge to use. A mill will cost K7000 to purchase. It must be run by a generator, which is the only form of power in Karamui.
Power lines run down the main road, but have long been useless. The story goes that the Elcom representative was a Gumine man, who was murdered by a jealous husband in 2006. PNG Power has never sent a replacement. Consequently, generator power runs Karamui. But a 200 litre drum of petrol zoom, which must come in by plane, costs K700 or more. There is also a community wokabaut sawmill.
Nevertheless, and despite the extraordinary obstacles to market, Karamui is a wealthy area when coffee season comes around. The season runs from May to September generally, but peaks in June, July and August. A typical Karamui household might produce twenty bags of coffee and, depending on price, earn between K2-3000, after shipping costs. Because merchandise enters Karamui only by mission plane, the grower’s purchasing capacity is severely limited.
When the District Treasury was relocated to the station, this also facilitation the establishment of a Bank of South Pacific outpost. Unfortunately, though, theft forced these to close, and therefore few people in Karamui even have a bank account.
Civil society
Fabian Orupa also spoke to us in town about the Mt Karamui Conservation Society which was established some 14 years ago by John Hanuapu (who now lives in Goroka and Kundiawa). It’s aim has been to demarcate conservation land on the Mountain, which is owned by three clans, and promote the area as an ecotours destination. The organization is registered as a land owner group (LLG) but little has been done with it. As a result, we presume, Mr Hanuapu has migrated to town where he can possibly better facilitate the ecotours business.
Joe Nopros is District Administrator, and people tell us he is rarely in town. We tried to reach him in Kundiawa before arriving, but were unable to. Ironically, the after we arrived, a Police task force arrived on a flight and raised everyone’s suspicions that he was about to come and finally pay the Karamui youths who had cleaned the street, airfield and market over a year ago. Apparently the DA was able to pay Naiyo and other groups, but not the Karamui cleaners, and has only come to visit Karamui with policemen ever since. Police confirmed that payments were to be made, and the MP arrived on the following flight. MP Bose Mena has been in office 10 years, and lives in POM. We were told that for five years he sent no services, only promises, and now he’s just begun to bring services to Karamui. When we left, they were still waiting for the DA, however.
There is one Reserved Police Constable in town. The contingent of police once tasked to Karamui have long since left. Most community disputes are handled by Village Court Magistrates, only one of whom is a women. We were told by women that the Village Court bias is, as expected, toward the men born and raised in Karamui (rather than in-married women) and subject to bribery. The police are more impartial and therefore preferred by women.
There are 8 churches in area: Lutheran, Catholic, SDA, EBC, Revival, 4 Square, Baptist, and Pentecost. One can only assume that in the long absence of government services and resident elected officials, the community has invited all kinds of churches to the area in expectation of the services they can provide.
Water is a long way from the town centre. There was a pipe project to bring water from the mountain streams to town but the pipe wasn’t long enough, for which people blame the District Administrator.
The Highlands Highway runs across the north of the province, linking Kundiawa to Mt Hagen in the west and to Goroka in the east. But there are no roads connecting the busy north from the remote south of Simbu. The north and south of the province are divided by the deep and rugged Wahgi River gorge. There is a local network of poor quality roads around Karimui that are not connected to any other centre. People around Nomane, Kilau and Karimui require 4–8 hours’ travel to reach the nearest service centre, and those on the southern border of the province need more than one day’s travel to reach the nearest service centre. (Hanson et al 2001).
By any measure, the level of service delivery in Karimui is low. People in Karamui therefore rely largely on mission airplanes to come and go from Kundiawa and Goroka. A seat is expensive, however, costing either K180 or K220, and the result is that people who travel to town take their time coming back.
Michael Bourke and Tracy Harwood (2009) rank districts in PNG according to the access to market, where travel is defined as surface travel by a person on foot, in a vehicle or in a boat. Air travel is excluded because most people cannot afford it on a regular basis. The classes they define are:
Very poor access—more than one day’s travel to reach any level of service centre.

Poor access—between 4 and 8 hours travel to reach a minor service centre.

Moderate access---between 4 and 8 hours travel to reach a major service centre.

Good access—between 1 and 4 hours travel to a major service center.

Very good access---less than one hour’s travel to a major regional centre.
In these terms, Karamui suffers from very poor access to markets. The Provincial Administrator reports that a K20 million road project slated for 2010 should join Karamui with Gumine, just north, and therefore link the Plateau to Kundiawa and the rest of the country. But currently no vehicles enter or exist in Karamui. The wheelbarrow, one might say, is their ‘fifth element.’
There are no telecommunications in Karamui. There is a shortwave radio at the Baptist mission (where the American couple, Jared and Carol Holland, has lived for 17 years), and V-sat phones at both the District Headquarters and the High School. Significantly, however, none of these are operational. People receive Radio Chimbu, Karai National, FM 100. 93 FM and Christian radio from CRF Goroka.
Jack Urame writes in a 2008 review of sanguma for Simbu Province: (Urame 2008:p181-2 [emphasis added):
Sanguma belief and practice is said to be predominant in the province [Simbu] and found widely in all six districts of Simbu except Karamui where the original inhabitants practice sorcery. The difference…between the inhabitants of Karamui and the rest of Simbu is indicative of the cultural and anthropological differences between the two groups as well as the difference in the belief systems and practices of witchcraft and sorcery. Although Karamui forms part of the Salt Nomane District, it is separated by thick forest, mountains and the Wahgi River. The inhabitants share more similar physical features with the mountain people of Gulf Province than the do with the people of central and upper Simbu. Although sanguma beliefs and practices are quite common in many parts of the Highlands Region, it was unknown in Karamui until the settlers who migrated there and brought their sanguma culture with them. This was confirmed in an interview with a man who lived there for many years. He gave an example of a woman from Mogiagi village in the Salt Nomane area who migrated to Karamui. She was on several occasions accused of practicing witchcraft and eventually killed by her own people living in Karamui.
The current APO is Karamui Health Centre estimates that the wider population, embracing these villages, numbers roughly 16,000. There is also an aid post at Negabo, which serves the more southern villages of Sora, Noru and Dobu, towards the Erave River. In the 1982–83 National Nutrition Survey, malnutrition in children under five years was assessed as fair; 38 per cent of children were stunted and less than one per cent were seriously under weight. However, the high level of malnutrition in the Karimui area is disguised by the low levels elsewhere in the district. (Hanson et al 2001)
The Karamui APO, Masu Heto, reports that the Centre’s generator is out of order, their solar refrigerator is not working and its batteries are flat, but they do have one gas powered refrigerator to hold heat-sensitive medications. They do not have ARVs for HIV patients, although they do carry artimeter for malaria. Masu Heto, Paul Nongai, Deputy APO, and Dr. Yalo report that TB, pneumonia, and malaria are the most common problems, and they refer to ‘diarrhea’ as their greatest enemy. Mothers around the station confided that inoculations for babies are not always regular. There are health services and efforts to improve these services that are stymied by lack of communication and access to road networks.
What makes Karamui especially attractive as a tower site is the High School in town, the five Primary Schools in the immediate vicinity, and as many as 13 Elementary Schools scattered across the Plateau. In addition, the station has one technical school, CIS, for computer science training.
While there are only a handful of computers in Karamui, Kundiawa has one public Internet Café (the only one in the province). Brown Balsi’s Internet Café, situated beside Air Niugini in town, is owned by Brown and his brother Francis Gari, from Gumine. Brown is a Computer Dcience gradate from UPNG and opened a café in Port Moresby’s Garden City first, and then came to Kundiawa to start a second café, which he left in the hands of his brother. This is clearly where the Karamui Vanilla Growers were able to post their details on the net in 2005.
Karamui High School has 10 teachers at the High School, most from Chimbu, but the head teacher is a Sepik woman (on leave at the time of our visit). The Governor donated a satellite dish to the school sometime in 2009, but the black box was subsequently stolen (some say by public servants, others say by youths in town). There is now a new satellite dish at the school waiting for a replacement box. Anna Joe is a High School teacher from Gumine and a National Sports Institute and University of Goroka graduate in Sports Administration. Capable and articulate, she is a mother who had been based in Karamui with her small children since 2008, while her husband remains in Port Moresby. Among her accomplishments at the school has been bringing 5 athletes to the PNG Games, where they garnered two gold and one silver metal.
Alex Mak, the Chair of the Primary School Board reported that the school has one computer and one generator. AusAid is providing new classrooms this year.
Anna Joe from the High School explained to us that there is a lot of marijuana and occasionally steam. The youths do not respect their elders, she says. The Karamui people used to hold both male and female initiations, which is widely considered the cornerstone of community hierarchy and respect. Nowadays, they have only an informal haus boi, where the young men hang out. Several years ago, when Paul Kande, from Chuave, came to live with his sister in Ward 6, he started a criminal gang with the young people. They committed a few break and enters, until 2009 when, to everyone’s relief, Kande was hounded down and shot in a Goroka tavern by the police. Since then, the youth have been less worrisome to the public.
There is a very conservative approach to parenting with young women in Karamui. Mothers are very restrictive with them. Today there are only about twenty young women in the High School, out of a total of 300-plus. Young women are subject to arranged marriages, as in their parents’ time, and a man need only make a gift of money or a pig to the family for him to ‘pasin lek’ of a young girl, sealing the betrothal.
Girls and women still observe a menses taboo and stay in the gardens during their period. Occasionally there is still be a first menses female initiation celebration as well, after a girl has been confined for a month or more. Chastity for women is a serious priority. Jealousy is the cause of most domestic strife. It is customary for a man to actually beat his wife if she complains of labour pains for her first child. As she screams out, he hits her until she admits to having a previous boyfriend, even if this person preceded the marriage by months or years. In turn, the husband can search this man down and demand compensation for his residual contribution (presumably from vestigal semen) to his child.
Women with retail outlets at the market (and there are roughly 4-6 of them) spend 2000 kina roughly 3 times/year to travel to GKA Kundiawa or HGU for supplies, with the cost of tickets, PMVs and freight included. All cargo is charged at K2.20/kilo. So they need to make this investment back by sales, which they barely do.
Table 16: Current Chimbu towers:

BeMobile Site

Latitude Decimal

Longitude Decimal

Kainantu Exchange



Kundiawa Exchange



Digicel Area

Site Name




Kaviak Plantation

04 34 07.40 S

145 55 07.20 E



04 34 00.60 S

145 57 49.00 E



05 35 47.30 S

145 27 30.90 E


Premiers Hill

06 01 13.70 S

144 57 55.30 E



05 59 53.30 S

144 56 19.90 E

Mendikwae Primary School

Kup District Admin

05 57 58.20 S

144 48 10.40 E


Chauve Hill

06 08 18.60 S

145 07 35.20 E


Moro Church

06 07 26.20 S

145 04 04.90 E



06 09 50.74 S

145 06 07.22 E

Karamil Hill

Mendikwae Pri School

05 53 43.14 S

145 04 33.85 E



05 58 34.79 S

144 58 35.24 E

Share with your friends:
1   2   3   4   5

The database is protected by copyright ©dentisty.org 2019
send message

    Main page