«Maclay is back! He kept his word!»
Scientific research expedition, the purpose of which is to establish cultural, scientific, humanitarian and business cooperation between Russia and Papua New Guinea, is conducted on the Maclay Coast (Rai Coast) in Papua New Guinea, in the North-East of the island of New Guinea, since April 28.
By tradition, the expedition team was met by the Maclay Coast inhabitants with erected flag of the Russian Federation. Welcoming speech was given by Asel Tui – a descendant of the first Papuan who met Miklouho-Maclay almost 150 years ago. Sir Peter Barter, a prominent public figure of Papua New Guinea, also took part in the meeting of the expedition.
There is one to compare with. Nickolay Miklouho-Maclay and Igor Chininov land on the Maclay Coast for the second time. The first time they came with an expedition in 2017 (How it was: https://mikluho-maclay.ru/en/maclay-coast-rai-coast-expedition/). Since that time, little has changed, they say. Maclay Coast people are just as friendly, they still remember Russia and honor the Great traveler Nikolay Nikolaevich Miklouho-Maclay. One of the changes the expedition team noted is the the fence at the Miklouho-Maclay memorial on Cape Garagasi. A linguist, who was on the Maclay Coast for the first time, was pleasantly surprised at how much the language of the locals, which had been recorded almost 150 years ago, was preserved, despite the fact that at the schools they were taught in English. «Papua New Guinea is often called the “Land of a thousand tongues” – for a linguist, it’s hog heaven! This expedition, for me,is a unique opportunity to catch a glimpse of life in a small village community on the Rai Coast (Maclay Coast), where Miklouho-Maclay spent 2,5 years almost 150 years ago», – Olga Temple, linguist, lecturer at the University of Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby.
After greetings the Maclay expedition 2019 team went to settle in Maclay village, which was so entitled in 2017 and is a part of Garagasi village.
«They provided us a hut of three rooms, in which we accommodated by two. Sleeping bags, mosquito nets, lanterns and everything necessary we brought with us. It’s getting dark quickly on the Maclay Coast and there is no electricity, everything is recharged through solar panels, and they still cook on fire», – the Head of the expedition, Nickolay Miklouho-Maclay, notes.
During the expedition, the team prefers to eat traditional Papua New Guinea batat, yams and other home-cooked food, which the locals usually eat. The canned food brought with there is not used.
By tradition, within the first three days Maclay Jr. had to pay his respect to the locals by visiting each of the villages of the Maclay Coast: Bongu, Gorendu and Gumbu with its about 2500, 600 and 500 people respectively. In each of the villages the team was met with traditional sing-sing dances. “Maclay is back! He kept his word”- was heard from almost every local.
What the Maclay expedition came with this time?
Maclay could not return without the results of the previous expedition, which was conducted in 2017. Therefore, the documentary film “THE MAN FROM THE MOON”, already familiar to the locals, was shown in each of the villages. This 36-minute documentary film tells about this unique place on Earth and the Great researcher, humanist Nikolay Nikolaevich Miklouho-Maclay. Nowadays, due to the film “THE MAN FROM THE MOON”, not only Miklouho-Maclay Sr., but also the inhabitants of the Maclay Coast villages have become recognizable both in Russia and Papua New Guinea. That is why the locals asked Maclay to bring them a video camera as a gift. And Nickolay has fulfilled their wish, bringing a video camera as one of many other gifts.
It should be noted that there were no film screenings before on the Maclay Coast. All the necessary things (projector, batteries, etc.) were presented to the locals by the Miklouho-Maclay Foundation, thus giving them an opportunity to watch films about Russia.
This time, a solemn event was held on the arrival of the Maclay expedition, which is only held during the Initiation ceremony or at Christmas – a pig, which Nickolay Miklouho-Maclay presented to Asel Tui, the Chief of Garagasi village, was served with delicacy and side dishes!
“It was the first time when we could witness the whole process of cooking from the beginning to the end. The food was distributed in order of seniority. The first in seniority are the eldest of the clan. But the food was enough for all!”,- Igor Chininov notes.
While staying on the Maclay Coast the expedition team planned to explore the real life of the locals, most of whom are the descendants of those who saw Miklouho-Maclay 150 years ago. “Among other things, we decided to master hunting, fishing and gardening. In order to learn how to fish with a spear on a traditional canoe, which is not very stable and easily flipped, I had to remember the skills being a yachtsman, mastered in childhood,” – Nickolay Miklouho-Maclay said.
Gardening is a traditional occupation of the Maclay Coast residents. Unfortunately, corn, which was imported by Miklouho-Maclay in XIX century, is not popular now, but there are batat and yams. Important products are coconut and sugar cane.
There are many discoveries and unexpected impressions ahead. In the near future, the Maclay expedition team will visit the Initiation House (Haus Tambaran), which can only be visited by men, and will go hunting in Papuan way.
We will share these and other bright impressions and discoveries with you every day. Watch the latest news, photos and videos on the Miklouho-Maclay Foundation website, as well as live broadcasts on the web page in Odnoklassniki – a social net partner of the expedition 2019! https://ok.ru/m.maclay
The expedition is organized by the “Miklouho-Maclay Foundation for the Preservation of Ethnocultural Heritage”
The Sponsor General is VTB Bank (PJSC)
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