"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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August 4, 1926 : Motor Camp ; Rouffaer River

August 4

"...by noon the entire camp was flooded, the water racing through at a fine rate of speed."

Last night was a night of heavy rain. We got up this morning to find the river brimfull and level with the top of the bank. About 8 o'clock it began to overflow and by noon the entire camp was flooded, the water racing through at a fine rate of speed. The Dyaks and soldiers got to work and built a raised bali bali [sic] or log platform under our houses and elevated the atap roofs so that we are now established in pile dwellings and can fish out of our door or between the logs from our beds [See Film Selection #16]. As this is the highest spot in the region there is no place to go where there is dry land, so like the dove from the ark, we can only gaze on a waste of water and slosh around up to our knees when we go out of the house. The water at this writing is still rising. This afternoon much to our surprise we saw the motor boat transport coming around the turn. Both motor boats came about half an hour apart, the first with Posthumous, the second with Van Leeuwen. They splashed ashore where we were standing knee deep to receive our greetings. As there are no accommodations, Van Leeuwen is staying tonight in Le Roux'[s] hastily elevated tent and Posthumous with us in our pile dwelling which the soldiers built for us today. With the {p. 204} transport came our three months of mail - two gasoline cases full. So the night is being spent in an orgy of reading.

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