Introduction / History
The Sowanda tribe shares a region with 3 other tribes: the Umeda, the Punda and the Waina. Even young members of this tribe still remember tribal wars in the past, and killing and being killed.
Where are they located?
They live in the jungle, at the end of a 10 hour hike through extremely rugged jungle, behind Imonda, which is a small outpost, a ten hour drive into the jungle south of Vanimo.
What are their lives like?
They live without much vision. Their food consists mostly of the food that they find in their gardens. They have very limited education. Less than 30 of the entire tribe are estimated to have any education at all, and less than 5 have reached grade 3. The men do a lot of sitting around and relaxing and talking. If there is hunting to do, it is the men who do it. The women do most of the hard work, the heavy lifting and finding firewood. Men do build houses, and work in the gardens.
What are their beliefs?
There is a basic Christian church there which needs a lot of discipleship. It is unknown how deep the Christian worldview goes. The old beliefs are still affecting their actions. For example, a man with a siezure will have a stinging nettle rubbed all over his chest. The prospect of moving the tribe filled them with thoughts of killing and being killed.
What are their needs?
Education is greatly lacking. Though they are walking encyclopedias about how to live in the jungle, and build using jungle materials, very few of them know how to read. The closest school in the vicinity reaches grade 3. If they go to school they learn Pidgin English, and after that standard English. They can be given much gospel literature which can be purchased at Vanimo, the closest coastal town with a Christian bookstore.
Text source: Anonymous