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Posts Tagged ‘islands’

THE MENTAWAI SPIRIT

Although impossible to convey here the depths of what an indigenous people lose when displaced from their land and culture, I’d like to share with you a few observations alongside a series of photographs captured by friend and photographer, Chris Hopkins. The aesthetic contrast between the resettled and non-resettled peoples in Mentawai was what first grabbed my attention - in particular, →


EXCITING YEAR AHEAD

It has been a rather eventful few months in Mentawai, as is typically the case. Seemingly, there are no fewer surprises now than there were when this journey began nearly seven years ago... perhaps just more meaningful ones. I've posted a few recent photographs and included brief descriptions. You may be particularly interested in the 'chance' encounter we had with the →


HOW EFFECTIVE IS TRADITIONAL MEDICINE?

Medicine wrapped in leaves

Continuing on from recent articles discussing how the indigenous Mentawai community deals with illness and loss of life, I’d like to delve a little deeper into the practices of traditional Mentawai medicine; those who are trained to administer it; and the impacts caused by an increased lack of community access to it. Firstly, it‘s worth mentioning that traditional medicine has been →


LIFE AND DEATH IN MENTAWAI

Each time I return to Mentawai I discover something new about the people and about the way they deal with the often-confronting circumstances that arise during their lives. This recent experience presented all that and more. Arriving in the port town of Siberut, Arla and I were greeted by news that my friend Aman Masit Dere was ill. His condition though →


AT A GENTLE PACE

Funny picture of a Mentawai shaman using a digital camera

Certainly not setting any records for the pace that this project is developing at but I can assure you it is progressing and I am getting closer and closer to announcing a few rather exciting advancements. Meantime, here is a photograph of a Mentawai Sikerei attempting to take a photograph of me.


WHAT IS REALLY BEST FOR THE COMMUNITY?

Portrait of a Mentawai shaman, Sikerei, and his family

Infant mortality is indeed a sensitive subject and, for all things related, difficult to know how best to approach when discussing on a public platform. My dilemma, after having observed an unexpected sense of functionality in a people coping with losing what I’d consider to be an abnormally high number of infants, is that as a result of this I →


MOVING FORWARD

Mentawai shaman proud of the rainforest

The project is at a stage where I’ve begun contacting and presenting to those I hope can help take it that next step toward release. Which is extremely exciting. Interestingly, I’m observing that people are generally really busy. Meaning that for many opportunities I await response. Admittedly I’m not as aggressive in pushing for people’s time as I perhaps →


GETTING TO KNOW THE SHAMAN, SIKEREI

I wanted to share this sequence of images with you and so thought I’d accompany it with a few observations I find interesting about the Mentawai shaman, Sikerei. Firstly, to become Sikerei is to devote ones life to teaching, healing, and protecting the people; this is their role. One important component of this role involves learning from their predecessors the →


PROJECT OVERVIEW

To clarify exactly what this project entails and hopes to achieve I have formulated a vision board; a simple step-by-step infographic identifying the problem, how this was found, the solution, and a pathway to achieving its long-term goal. I have posted a copy of this here for you to examine. As you can see, the film, BUI MAREUREU BAAP As Worlds →


NEW MENTAWAI UMA

I’ve just returned from a relatively short trip back to the Islands, which, as always, was wonderfully uplifting. The motive for this particular journey came via an invitation to attend a cultural celebration held for the construction of a new Uma (long house), which was built last year by Sikerei, Aman Masit Dere and his son, Aman Kacau. As is →


KEY DOCUMENTS

To give a brief update on the project, I’d like to share with you the news that two key documents, which are particularly vital to establishing the project’s direction and further development, have now been completed. The first of these documents, the Indigenous Mentawai Community Research Report, presents a detailed analysis of the baseline survey alongside secondary/pre-existing research data; establishing a →


KEY INFORMATION, UPDATED

Given that the teaser and synopsis featured here on the film’s website no longer represented what the film is actually about, in light of the recent realisation and subsequent changes to the story, I've now replaced them with versions that actually do. Which you can view here below or otherwise in the designated areas found on the website, as per →


MENTAWAI SONG: SIKEREI

In light of the information presented in the previous post, and indeed the disposition its inspired, I wanted to post something a little more light-hearted, like a song. Well, a mixture of two songs actually. With the more predominant praising the healing and shamanistic abilities of Sikerei – as illustrated by the visuals shown in the video; and the →


TWISTS AND TURNS

To suggest there’s been a lot happen with this project over the past few years, in terms of the number of developments moving forward, backward and, more often than not, in circles, would be somewhat of an understatement. In fact, when considering the unconventional path it’s followed – particularly when knowing that, as I am still learning, it’s a path →


TO DIVERT THE ATTENTION FOR A MOMENT…

Dear reader, Whilst I’ve found working on the analysis report and program these past few weeks to be incredibly fascinating, and exciting too – allowing me to simulate what I presume to be the practices of a university student – I’ve now reached a point where, to progress, I must digress. The focus, in the hope of re-establishing productivity via the →


SO WHERE ARE YOU AT NOW?

Right, a reasonable question, sure… I’ll try and be brief. The film, which is currently at a stage I'm hoping is very near to that which is required, is in the hands of a few select individuals who, given their film related experience, I'm hoping can provide me a frank indication of exactly where I stand – in terms of →


MENTAWAI CEREMONY

Although I did, rather prudently I thought, opt against carting the weight of a video camera and array of thought-to-be essential accessories back to the islands for the recent Baseline Survey activity; I did in fact manage – utilizing the advanced capabilities of the modern-day still – to capture a few moments during a ceremony given for the death of →


ASK THE COMMUNITY

Briefly updating on the progress of the Mentawai Support Program, we've just returned from the Islands where we were able to support an incredible team of young enthusiastic Mentawai in successfully conducting a Baseline Survey – an activity crucial to understanding the wants, needs and perspectives of the community; and what strategies, if any, they would like implemented to help →


TO CUT A LONG STORY SHORT…

Whilst pondering how best to encapsulate a brief update on the film, I found myself looking back over the various evolvements that have unfolded since my returning from Mentawai almost two years ago; and, in the end, decided that perhaps I’ll just begin there. So, basically, at that stage, whilst I did foresee the importance in utilizing the development of this →


INDULGE IN IMAGERY

Mindful that my updates here often transpire into excessively long-winded expositions - which, when considering the browsing pace of the greater community, are perhaps exhibited at the expense of engaging readers - as a reprieve for those who've been following along, please enjoy the simplicity of casting your eyes over a few images I feel are worth sharing... A young Mentawai →


MASURAK BAGATTA, THANK YOU

Had I ever imagined the scenario of my arriving unannounced on a remote island, where, knowing next to nothing of the language, culture, or lifestyle, a native people would welcome me in, treat me as one of their own and teach me the skills necessary to survive in their jungle habitat; I suspect I would have thought this the most →


DONATIONS ARE IN

All June donations for the Mentawai Support Program have been collected and are to be presented to GLOBALQUEST next week. Some very exciting results, so do stay tuned! And in the meantime...


THE FILM IS COMING, SLOWLY

It has been some time now since the previous post here, which – for a person who obsesses upon hastily relieving himself of the displeasureable guilt conduced by knowing that a very achievable task has yet to be tackled – this has proved somewhat burdensome. To entertain you with a reason for this negligence though… basically, over the past few months, →


THE MENTAWAI DOCTOR, SIKEREI

Possessing an incomparable knowledge of the plant and animal life surrounding, the Mentawai Shaman, the Sikerei, preserve a great understanding of how almost every species found there can, or can't, be utilized in support of their existence; which, when residing on the island of Siberut, one of the world's richest biodiversity hotspots, this is, for lack of a better term, →


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