Sunday, July 5, 2015

From ‘Jungle Child’ by Sabine Kuegler

[Sabine lived in a remote jungle area of West Papua, Indonesia amongst a tribe untouched by modern civilization]

Life in the Western world seems like a tornado to me. An irresistible force that sucks me into its whirling vortex and spins me around at a hectic pace, till I get the feeling that time is moving more quickly than I can keep up with….One fights with family over money, loyalty, and love’s disappointments, and with neighbours over irrelevancies. And there is never enough time. Above all else, never enough time.

……life in the jungle is more challenging physically, but psychologically much easier. Life in the Western world, on the other hand, is physically easier, but much more complicated for the soul.e

One of the acknowledged signs that a people or culture is on the verge of extinction is that knowledge no longer gets transmitted from generation to generation…… no Fayu [tribe] remembered the white visitors they received in the 1940s. The memory of the Dutchmen had apparently been lost within a generation.

Their user of songs to express themselves may be one of the reasons that the Fayu do not seem to suffer from depression or other psychological disorders. Feelings are immediately externalized. There are even times set aside for the release of emotions: for example, the mourning song. When the song of mourning runs its course, the grieving truly is finished and life resumes as normal.
When a person experiences a traumatic event, he might lie for weeks in his hut not saying a word but singing for hours at a time. During this period, other clan members provide him with food. Then one day he simply gets up with the trauma behind him. Cleansed of pain, he smilingly resumes his everyday tasks.

Irian Jaya contains one quarter of the world’s known language (800) as well as numerous dialects. ….It has the only permanent glacier of any tropical island. Its ‘wintry’ heritage also includes snow-capped mountain peaks that tower 5,000 metres over glacial lakes. Irian Jaya boasts the largest single tract of rain forest in the world (excluding the Amazon). Its jungles are some of the most impenetrable anywhere.

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