Berita English Report

Internal Interaction Among Tribes: Old Days Problem in Supa

Andawat– Kampong Tablasupa is located at a coastal region around Tanah Merah Peninsula, Depapre, Kabupaten Jayapura. It can be reached by land transport from Jayapura to Depapre then the trip continues to Tablasupa by motor boat. Some of the local people sometimes ride motorcycle along Amay beach, pass along a small hill through trails to reach the trans road along Amay beach.

Kampung Tablasupa(Supa) is inhabited by a unique tribe. Although they live along the coast which is not far from the city, their interaction with the out world is very limited and sensitive. On daily basis, they live by fishing and depend highly on food gathering. They fish to satisfy daily meals and very few of them can benefit from fish collected to support family business. However, this business still depends on non-native traders who have small retail stores around Depapre where local people sell their harvest to.

There is one store owned by a local which sells daily needs while Supa people would go to local market in Depapre to buy many things on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays (market days). Supa people do not sell at the market, but they usually there to buy things. They buy crops from other people from Depapre who are originally from Wambena,Yepase and Dormena. The market days mark bussy days around Depapre as well as Supa. GKI church community find the days are good times to set up activities.

Although Holy Scriptures has been introduced to Jayapura regions for more than a century, there was only one pastor serving since a year ago. On previous days, any services had always been led by senior public figures at Kampung Supa in one church: Gereja Wibong.

In this small kampong, Tablasupa, live 3 main tribes which seem to live in exclusive ways. Every tribe has its own ‘Para-Para’ (traditional meeting hall), prayer team, and physical boundaries and perceptions which have been clearly specified among other. For example, for women fellowship, although there are only eight houses of Demena tribe, this tribe would chose to stick with the tribe to have their worship, instead of joining other tribes. In fact, it only takes short time to walk from one para-para to other para-para. For instance, it only takes 3 minutes from para-para Sorontou to para-para Demena at the end. Besides, it only takes 15 minutes to walk around Supa.

Interaction among the tribes is somehow newly established. Earlier the main tribes, Demena, Apaseray, and Sorontou lived separately and not long after that, within 2 generations, they have lived closer to each other. In the past, the tribes had their own old kampongs located up in the mountains, slopes or closer to Tanah Merah peninsula. Demena People and Apaseray People domicile most of the lands through Amay and its surroundings while Sorontou people inhabit the coastal areas.

In the past, they lived in a closed interaction. There were no bridges to connect one house and another house and it could only be connected by boat. They bartered foods from house to house or even paddled around the peninsula until they got to Kay Pulo exchange fish and vegetables for sugar, salt or frying oil. Every house has a boat docked at the front corner of the house. Less than a generation ago, bridges were built to connect the houses. So, there are about 40 houses connected by bridges.

The people choose to stay inside or in front of their houses and greet the nearby neighbors. Young people would find places where they can get better reach of telephone network along the main bridge at nights. Now the bridge is known to Supa people as “Jembatan Veronica” (veronica bridge), first named by Thaha Alhamid who has been visiting Tablasupa many times.

Although the kampong is small with scarce population, they are entangled with high conflict of interest. They even still believe in the power of sorcerer who can spread disaster or diseases from one tribe to another tribe when they are in conflicts.

The people tend to be sensitive, cautious, and easily suspicious about any existence coming from the outside. So, to eastablish a common ground among people in Tablasupa is a primary and heavy task to accomplish before assisting them to be wary of outside challenges.

In this current situation, Supa people should understand and consider many things since many kinds of outside interaction and existence have easily come and gone to Kampung Supa. Many houses have TV equipped with different TV channels bot national and international ones. Their kids go to school outside the kampong whereas those who live in the kampong can go to Depapre and Jayapura or other places every time.

So, now is the time for Supa people to learn to understand any circumstances and design best things together to face challenges in the future that is to get the three tribes and 16 clans united. If strong conflicts persist, Supa people will become fragile and be easily deceived by certain interests. Supa people should build on common trust and chance to become one and big people and be a blessing for the one Supa..

As the late clergyman, Yulius Yorris’ words carved on Supa bridge. The message is called Doa Victory (victory prayer): To serve, to teach, to educate children in Kampung Tablasupa is part of my job and dedication with all hope that one day the church members and kampong will be renown and be a blessing to the believers”.(Team/AlDP).