Introduction / History
The Nema people live on the southern slopes of the Saruwaged mountain range at the headwaters of the Erap river in Morobe province. The five Nema villages are situated on the ridges of steep mountains and separated from each other by deep valleys.
The people plant gardens and harvest foods like taro, sweet potato, greens, bananas and other kinds of fruit. The Nema people also plant betelnut, tobacco and coffee for cash crops.
The villages are between 1300 and 1700 meters above sea level so the nights can be quite cool and people sleep next to fire places that are in the center of every room. Houses are built on posts one to one and half meters off the ground. The walls are constructed with either woven bamboo or handmade planks. The roofs are thatched with broad bamboo leaves or grass.
What are their beliefs?
The Lutheran church entered the area in the 1950s and since then has established a congregation in every village. When the church came in the people left behind their old ways of fighting. The Lutheran mission set up schools that taught Kâte, a language from the eastern coast, to the children until the 1960s. The Bible and liturgy books are available in Kâte and are still used in the church today along with Tok Pisin, the trade language. The younger generation doesn't understand Kâte, the older generation has low proficiency in Tok Pisin and there are no scriptures or liturgy available in Nema, so all three languages are used during church services.
What are their needs?
There is a need for basic Biblical training amongst the Nema. They are dissatisfied with their situation, but since they don't have the Scripture in their own language they have not gained an understanding of God's promises for believers' everyday lives.
Text source: Anonymous