Sunday, March 27, 2011

Papuan Children and a Dutch tourist called "Arjen Robben's sister"

The presence of foreign tourists always attracts the attention of local people in places where the tourists visit. This also happens in Anggrem area of Manokwari. Anggrem is located in Dorey bay. It is the place where sailors who travel around the tropical islands in the Geelvink bay of West Papua park their wooden boats. Anggrem is also the place where some Papuan artists live. They are wood carvers and painters.
Early this month, I guided some Dutch tourists to Anggrem. After visiting the artists, we walked to the beach to see the wooden boats and to take pictures of the Manokwari bay. When we were there, we met a lot of Papuan children who were playing at the beach. We were really upset to see that the sea was very dirty. The children were very happy to meet us. They called us, "mister-mister" both to the male and female tourists. I tried to explain to them that they should call a female tourist Miss or Ms. (Misz). Some followed but others just continued to call mister. The Papuan children liked the tourists very much. They showed their skills by jumping into the water from the wooden jetty where the wooden boats were being moored. Some boys were in the water shooting urchins. Urchin has thorns around its body. I remembered my childhood experience when I was swimming at "batu petak" of Manokwari harbor when I accidently stepped on some urchins. The thorns hit my foot and I felt that it was really painful. To reduce the pain, some of my friends stood around me, while I was sitting on the white sandy beach crying, peed on my foot. Their warm urine washed my foot and could effectively reduce the pain.
"Arjen Robben's Sister"
Back to my story about children in Anggrem area. Some of the boys shot some urchins and took them out of the water. A little boy showed his bravery by putting the poisonous urchin on his palm and showed it to Anne Bijleveld and Victor. Anne took some pictures of the urchin and the smilling boys and girls who gathered around us. The boys told us that they were fans of Dutch soccer players. They said that they like Arjen Robben. I smiled to them and said, "oh, that's great. This is Arjen Robben's sister" pointing my finger to Anne Bijleveld. The Papuan children thought that I am serious when saying it. They asked Anne whether she could tell her brother to visit them in Manokwari. Anne replied she would try but she could not promise it because Arjen Robben might be very busy. As a result, they kept following us while we continued our walk around the town to visit some Papuan artists at the Merdeka street and Komplex Missi.
Several days later, when these Dutch tourists were about to leave Manokwari for Biak by ferry boat Kasuari Pasifik IV, two little boys walked along the way from Anggrem to Manokwari. They met me in my bookstore saying they wanted to meet the "misters" especially Arjen Robben's sister." I said that they were not staying in Losmen Kagum anymore. They were in Wisma Jati. These little boys continued to walk to Jati area but fifteen minutes later they returned. They said that Wisma Jati was too far for them. I felt sorry for them. I offered an ojek to bring them to the hotel but I rejected the ride. I saw the little boys walking back to Anggrem.
The boat would leave in the afternoon at 4 p.m.. I arranged a car to transfer them to Manokwari harbor. When the car arrived, they boys showed up again. They did not walk back to Anggrem. They kept on waiting for Anne - the "Arjen Robben's sister." They really wanted to meet her. I took them into the car and we went to Wisma Jati. When we arrived at the hotel, they children looked happy because they could see Anne again. I took some nice photographs of them with their "favorit football star's sister".
Victor and Anne went to Arfak mountains for some hiking tour in the forest where they saw the magnificent birds of paradise, and bower bird by Charles Roring
Also read: Papuan Children Wave Surfing with Victor Dykman

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