Festival Danau Sentani

 Each year the Lake Sentani festival is held about a 15-20 minute drive from our house, at a spot along the lake.  We’d never been before and a friend asked us if we wanted to go on the last afternoon.  So the kids and I (Hugo does work…) picked up our friend and off we went.  If one were to attend a festival in say Canada, things would most likely be fairly orderly, you park your car here, you walk here, the bathrooms are here, trash bins would be strategically located throughout the festival grounds etc…  I’m sure you can guess what I’m going to write next…  Ya, things weren’t quite so organized here.  There was a designated parking area for cars, but no clear lines or anything.  I just hoped that no one would block me in after I parked…  Then we walked a ways to get to the main area.  There were kiosks along the way selling some traditional food (ie: lots of beetle nut – YUCK! and packages of rice and noodles) and some not so traditional food (cotton candy and donuts…).  (not a garbage can in sight!)  There were also some ladies selling jewellry and other such stuff.  Then we got to the main area where there’s a large cement stage a few feet off the ground.  Nothing was happening except people were getting their photos taken with traditionally dressed guys that were wandering around.  I took a few shots.  Then we walked along another row of kiosks where I purchased bags of Twisties (cheesies from PNG) and little bottles of coke to appease my already bored children.  We had to step over puddles of water mixed with beetle nut spit on our way.  There were some neat items to see like models of traditional homes and a neat little display with a traditional boat with little men rowing.  They’d hooked up a string and when a guy pulled on it, it looked like the little men were rowing.  Then we walked back to the stage area taking photos on the way and having our photo taken more than once as well.  Then finally something happened on the stage…  whew…  We got to see a traditional dance.  See photo above.  I believe the dancers are from the tribe around Lake Sentani because of the bark clothing and headgear that they are wearing.  But I could be wrong…  There were also a couple skits.  I love the crocodile costume made out of leaves!  We got to see some pretty interesting head gear that afternoon as the photos profess.  We also saw some Dani guys (I think) wearing their traditional “clothing” which consists of nothing more than a gourd…  They’d painted the lower halves of their bodies yellow as well.  I would have posted photos but I’d have had to edit them to make them child friendly…  They were carrying long spears and came running up to us and then stood in their war stance with all their muscles quivering.  It was quite impressive.  Then we left. To leave we had to walk in front of the stage and everyone commented and laughed when we did so.  In spite of this being a Papuan Cultural event, I think we made nearly as much of a splash…

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About Erica Feunekes

Myself, my husband Hugo and our five kids live and work in Sentani, Papua, with Mission Aviation Fellowship.
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