"By Aeroplane to Pygmyland" Accounts of the 1926 Smithsonian-Dutch Expedition to New Guinea

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Journal of Matthew Stirling
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July 24, 1926 : Motor Camp ; Rouffaer River

July 24th

"Motor Camp is located on the north bank of the river..."

We left early this morning on our final lap to Motor Camp. The river from this point is very broad, shallow and swift. About noon we arrived at Motor Camp, having seen only one canoe with Papuans in it during the morning. Motor Camp is located on the north bank of the river at a particularly wide place with the result that the view to the south of the Nassau Mountains is unobstructed by the jungle. The bank here is quite low. The sergeant says that the camp has just recently been flooded and now the water is only a few inches from the top of the bank. The half dozen or so soldiers here built us a temporary shack in which we were soon established. The clearing for the camp is about 200 feet long by 100 feet deep and is surrounded by a palisade of poles just completed. There is a small shack for the Dyaks, one for the soldiers, one for the storehouse, one for us and a small screen house for sitting in the evening. The Dyaks now are working at clearing out the fallen logs. There is a Papuan village just across the river, but they have deserted it for the time being, as a week ago when the camp was newly established they came in the night and were fired on. The sergeant is a negro from Surinam and he speaks a little English. There are lots of catfish in the river and plenty of sago palms in the jungle so that with {p. 182} its open location it is rather a pleasant spot, as one does not have the shut-in feeling common to most jungle camps. The fact that it is subject to inundation and mosquitoes are the principle drawbacks. This evening was clear as crystal with a brilliant full moon and we sat until late in the screen house - which incidentally keeps out some of the larger varieties of mosquitoes.

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