Introduction / History
They maintain their livelihood by primarily subsistence farming, hunting, and some eaglewood logging in the lowlands of south Papua. With their land at an altitude of less than 100 meters above sea level the Kombai people can best be accessed by boat. Boats can be rented in Kouh. It is a 5 days trip up river from Merauke on a boat from Kapal Motor Perintis. They enjoy dressing up traditionally with gourds and kasuari bird feathers to greet visitors. They also perform welcome dances with drums and arrows.
There is one junior high school in the language area but no high schools.
The women primarily gather food and garden. The clothing the Kombai people wear is usually modern but rarely washed. The people eat vegetables, sago, pig and wild animals that they hunt. The Kombai use knives, steel axes, bows/arrows, and shovels as tools. Houses are generally framed by log posts with palm or cement floors and plank or stem walls. A tin or pleated-leaf roof tops off each house. The infrastructure in the area consists of a SSB radio in Kombai and another 6 in Kouh, some personal generators, and a community satellite TV. The people get their drinking water usually straight from the river, a well, or rainwater. No clinics are in the northern part of Kombai land and malaria, skin & lung diseases are common. A Reformed church is in the language area.
The Kombai are sometimes known as the Komboy people. They prefer to be called Wanggom. There are several known dialects within the language: Central Kombai and Tayan. The Kombai people use Kombai at home with family members and use both Kombai and Indonesian with friends. The church services are normally in Indonesia and at home Kimaama people usually speak in the Kimaama language.
Text source: GMI Papua