Life in Asmat

Large rivers, swamps, and vast tropical rainforest, along with its still largely unexploited terrain, make Asmat, its own charm. Asmat, is a district located in the south of Papua, Indonesia. The name Asmat is taken from one of the most famous indigenous tribes in Papua and even the world, the Asmat. Asmat tribe is divided into two zones, the Asmat tribe who live in the coastal areas and the Asmat tribe who live in the interior. Asmat District consists of 9 districts, namely Agats, Atsy, Jetsy, Kolf Braza, Kasuari Beach, Sawaerma, Suator, Akat, and Fayit. 

Rivers become a vital transportation channel for its inhabitants. Speedboat and longboat become fast transportation, to connect one district with other districts. In addition, the Asmat community is also still use ‘kole-kole’, ie wooden sampans with long paddles, for short distance, from one village to another. The Asmat tribe is known as a composer with a nomadic life. But now the life of the Asmat community has been touched by the modern world, from the switching from nomadic living concept, to being settled, a small part of society has been equipped with planting practices, to have jobs such as laborers, artisans and traders. 

Health problems in Asmat had become a hot issue discussed in various national media. Various obstacles to achieving a good level of health, such as lack of access to clean water. Asmat communities rely only on rainwater, which is used for daily water needs, such as cooking, bathing, and washing. The steep terrain also makes it difficult to access by medical personnel, and health facilities to residents' homes. Family planning programs are also have not been implemented, this causes the birth rate high enough so that quality of life has not been a top priority. Visiting the eastern tip of Indonesia leaves an impression on the heart, admiration, beauty as well as the irony of life that brings a sense of return.

Photographer: Taupik Akbar

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