By MALUM NALU
BUINGIM villagers in Bukawa, Morobe, have completed a kasali or traditional sailing canoe.
On Friday they showcased the canoe, which was used for long sea voyages, to representatives from the Tourism Promotion Authority and Morobe Tourism Bureau.
Buingim villagers started building the kasali in May and completed it on Nov 24.
It is planned to be launched early in the New Year.
Around the vast Huon Gulf of Morobe, a complex and extensive trading system – which depended on kasali voyages – had existed long before any contact with Europeans.
Morobe artist David Ngawi, who is from Buingim, said the last kasali built there was in 1949.
“Our last few remaining elders remember the last kasali being built in 1949 after World War Two,” he said.
“This kasali project was a contribution of ideas.
“We are doing this to revive the knowledge of our grandfathers.
“We are also doing this to promote Buingim as a tourism village.
“I have asked Nawaeb MP and TPA chairman Kennedy Wenge for assistance with funds but there has been no response,” Ngawi said.
“Historically, the kasali was used to trade with people from Buso, Kui, Lababia, Laukanu, Asini, Busamang and Lae in the days of our forefathers.
“The canoe also carried evangelists and teachers of Jabem on to Markham and other inland areas.
“So the kasali was used to spread the Good News of God, and at the same time for the traditional barter trade.”
Tourism Promotion Authority board secretary Colin Taimbari and Morobe Tourism Bureau executive officer Defol Jabbar commended the people of Buingim for building the kasali and keeping their traditions alive. Buingim has been identified as one of the best tourist destinations in Morobe, including cruise ship tourism. The authority and Morobe Tourism Bureau will be working with Buingim next year to develop tourism there.
By MALUM NALU