Monday, February 22, 2010

Miniature of Arfak House as Souvenir

The traditional wooden house from the Arfak tribe in Manokwari is called Rumah Kaki Seribu or A-Thousand-Feet house. Its form is unique. The house is built on a lot of wooden pillars that protect the people in the house from the high humidity of the ground, and wild boars or snakes. Unfortunately the design of this house does not have enough openings (windows) for air ventilation and natural lighting. The modernization and improvements in the standard of living of the Papuan city dwellers have resulted in the abandonment of the traditional house styles mostly in the Papuan cities. We can only see such houses now in the rural or mountainous areas. To preserve the existence of these houses, the committee for the commemoration of Gospel Preaching Day conducts the annual competition for the construction of the replicas of the Rumah Kaki Seribu throughout the city area. Most Papuan youth groups in Manokwari city participate in the competition.

In addition, some Papuan artists have made miniature of the Papuan traditional houses as souvenirs for domestic and foreign tourists. The souvenirs of Rumah Kaki Seribu are sold in various souvenir shops in the city. The price of the house miniature varies according to size and attention to details. The cheapest is around Rp. 200,000 (20 US dollars) whereas the expensive one can reach up to Rp. 2.5 million rupiahs (or around 250 US dollars).

When tourists buy miniatures of the Kaki Seribu house, they have directly supported the economic livelihood of the Papuan people, especially the artists. I am writing this post to promote this kind of souvenir so that when you come to Manokwari as a tourist, you might be interested in buying one of them. You can go to Ms. Fonataba located in Kompleks Missi Area behind Cathoic Church Santo Agustinus on Jalan Brawijaya who also sell Rumah Kaki Seribu in Manokwari. I hope that the articles about eco-tourism which I upload into this blog will be able to attract more foreign travelers to this town to enjoy the beautiful Papuan natural scenery and the hospitality of Papuan people. by Charles Roring