Introduction / History
The Nakame people live in the Saruwaged mountain range in Morobe Province in a mixture of villages and hamlets ranging from 600 to 1000m above sea level. From the southern villages it is possible to catch a PMV (Public Motorised Vehicle) to Lae, the provincial capital, which takes about 3 hours when the road is open. During the rainy season, landslides often close the road.
The people live in houses built on posts between one and one and a half metres above the ground. Houses were traditionally made with woven bamboo floors and walls and thatched roofs of grass. Habitat for Humanity has been working in the area and now some houses are made of lumber and have tin roofs, while others are built in the traditional way.
People mainly eat what they grow in their gardens. Staple foods are taro, sweet potato, yam and cooking bananas. They grow a variety of fruit and vegetables, including a fruit that is a cross between a cucumber and a cantaloupe melon which is only grown in this part of the world. They also grow and sell coffee.
What are their beliefs?
Christianity was introduced to the Nakame area in the first half of the 20th century. Now everyone calls him or herself a Christian. Despite the official practice of Christianity, belief in the traditional religion remains strong. Lack of scriptures in their heart language has led to misunderstandings of spiritual truths. The Nakame people currently read the Bible in Tok Pisin. They would like the Bible in their own language. As one man expressed it: 'Tok Pisin doesn't have meaning'.
Text source: Anonymous