Search for the Little People of Seram, 2006 – Meeting Pipina, the Last of the Original Tribal Ceramese

Galopa Flower, 2006
Indonesia, Maluku Province, high, deep forest of Seram Search for the Little People of Seram
The photograph was taken in the middle of the forest
on the remote island of Seram. I used a dark background to isolate it from the surroundings. The flower itself was bathed in sunlight.

October 7, 2006
Bush house between Roho and Kanikeh, Maluku Province, Indonesia

What had previously been a road seven years before was now no more than a forest path, overgrown completely. This showed me the power of the rain forest, the operative word here being rain. Rain equals life. Life flourishes where there is fresh water.

October 22, 2006
Kanikeh, in the mountains of Seram, Maluku Province, Indonesia

We continued on in the stream. We followed this all the way to Sulamena. We got to Sulamena at about 10am. A young man told us that Pipina was dead. I was disappointed but I was not convinced, because an older man asked the younger man how long ago she had died. It seemed to me that if it was true, the older man would have known about it. We continued on. We walked a short distance and went up a small side stream. At 10:30am, we stopped for lunch. I stripped and sat in the stream. As I sat there, I noticed all the insect life. A dragonfly sat on a floating leaf. I photographed the insects, fascinated.

Later, we enjoyed a nice lunch, eating some of the dried deer meat with Sari Mie and potatoes (or kasbi = taro).

After lunch, Saiful cut an exquisite flower stalk and placed it in the sand. I’d never seen such a spectacular flower. I photographed it from different angles. (See photo “Galopa Flower” above.) Then he found another of the same species in a different stage of development, and I photographed the two together.

After lunch, we continued hiking. Now the trail took on a new aspect. We came to another stream. It had occasional pools of water along its course. It was picturesque. We came to a place in the stream with stratified vertical rock. We took a break. Then we hiked up. We continued walking for hours.

Finally, we came to an area that seemed near a village. The trail going down into Kanikeh proper was a bit slippery. Maybe it was because I was tired. We made our way, coming into the village from the east. We went into the house where we were going to stay. When we asked about Pipina, we were told that not only was she alive, but she was actually in Kanikeh at the moment. Not long afterward, Pipina came to us. I was immediately impressed by her. She was different. She wore a cloth, but I was told she only did that in the village, because if she didn’t, the children would laugh at her. I gave her tobacco. She put her hand on top of my head. She said she had dreamed of me last night, that she had dreamed I was coming.