The Indonesian government has finished our project. By chartering a truck, hiring a Bugis driver and assistant, we took the new government road to Hungku. The road slices right through the Arfak Mountains. Trees are uprooted and falling off the carved side. There are deep drop-offs on the other. We emerged in a vast meadow of huge lily-like white rhodoendrons! At the tree-line, one looks down upon tiny villages tucked in cloud forest valleys with pristine rivers and gushing waterfalls. A wooden gate divides Hitam and Soab tribal lands and was quickly lifted when they saw Moses!
Yoris, my guide made it clear he would accompany me on this voyage if I asked no questions and spoke only of the Bower Bird. There are obvious tensions and Moses with his "American" experience may be running for Parliament. In this village I saw a cement block and two spigots. People filled buckets with fresh water. The gardens were flourishing.
We climbed to the Bowers and I saw they were undisturbed. The Sicklebill was not present, but Moses insists it will return. We left little glass beads at Bower Four and Moses carefully arranged them on the moss. I gave the children copies of the booklet "The Clever One" from Dowling Walsh. They jumped for joy when they recognized the bowers and elements. As they don't go to school they could read a book of images.The 2010 painting has a row of beads. I couldn't paint Bower Number Two due to the heavy rain, but Moses posed next to the strange overhang and unusual objects which included a stone, battery and toothbrush.
Uli carries on with the cottage industry work making traditional bags. She made me one of pink and purple which she filled with a pineapple and marquesas from her garden.
Back in Manokwari we cleaned off the layers of mud from the slippery decent and heavy rains and I finally asked Moses
"Is it going to be like Freeport Mining up there?".
"Yes", he said.
"Will the Bower Birds be okay?"
"Yes", he nodded.
"Is the remaining water project money still in the bank?"
"Yes," he said and asked what he should do with it.
"It belongs to Hungku", I said.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed. The environment
cannot be "saved" or totally protected, but this little area of people, plants, and birds has been given a great boost and opportunity to avoid total oblivion in these revolutionary times.
I bought Mose's grandson a guitar and asked him to sing a song about the birds of his forest to tell the people in the city. He seems confused, but stays close to Moses.