Introduction / History
The Maba people are often known as the Bicoli, Bitjoil or Ingli people group. They are one of many people groups living on East Halmahera Island. They are the majority people group in South Maba District, East Halmahera Regency inNorth Maluku Province where they live alongside the Bugis people.
The Maba people use the Maba language in everyday life but also speak Indonesian as a trade language. The Mabu language is also used by the Sawai people (also known as the Weda people) who live in the Maba and East Gane districts. Maba is in the language group of South and East Halmahera, which also includes the Buli, Patani and Sawai languages.
What are their lives like?
Maba is the name of both a district and the capital city of East Halmahera. It is a coastal region where 80% of the villages are found alongside the beach and the other 20% of villages are located in mountainous areas. The water quality of the whole region is poor and cannot be consumed by the population.
The majority of the Maba people are farmers. The land in the district is fairly flat enabling various types of farming to take place. Forest and land fires pose the greatest risk to the population. The dry season is frequently long and the plants dry out and are easily ignited by something as small as a cigarette butt. A small fire quickly becomes a large one and can burn acres and acres of land as they are difficult to extinguish once they are started.
Apart from farming, some of the Maba people are fishermen. They are involved in catching fresh fish, shrimp, squid and farming sea cucumbers and seaweed.
What are their beliefs?
The majority of the Maba people are Muslim, as are most of the people groups in Halmahera. They often combine Islam with traditional animistic beliefs.
What are their needs?
The Maba people need entrepreneurial training so that they can be involved in business as almost all economic lines are controlled by other people groups, especially the Bugis.
Text source: Anonymous