"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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September 24, 1926 : Damuneru Village ; Explorators Camp/Tombe Village

September 24

This morning at 7:30 I left with my 3 Dyaks and 2 convicts to join Saleh. Our departure caused considerable agitation among the Agintawa men who tried to insist that we go to Agintawa. A couple of them appointed themselves volunteer guides and tried to lure us off the trail by all manner of means. When we said "Damuneru" they indicated great scorn saying that the pigs at Damuneru were both few and small while those at Agintawa were numerous and large. As a further inducement he said they had white pigs also at Agintawa. However, we continued on to Damuneru and crossed the ridge which we followed until we came to a small Papuan clearing with only one family living in it - a man and wife and 3 small boys. They proved very kindly and friendly and gave us a lot of good information. Here Saleh was camped with his five men, awaiting my arrival. A splendid view can be had from here up the valley of the Delo to the southwest and up the valley of the Nogullo to the southeast. However the high mountains are covered with clouds so that the topographic situation is not so clear. It seems to me though that the main river goes almost due East instead of turning to the west near here. This evening the Papuans brought us sweet potatoes and showed the trail leading to two big villages which can be seen far up the Delo on the opposite side. Other big villages and smoke can be seen far up the valley of the Nogullo. My plan is to stay here tonight hoping for a clear morning view of the mountains, then I shall {p. 262} explore the Delo for a few days, visiting a native village or two. Saleh will climb a peak on this side of the river, hoping to get a view of the snow mountains and the great stretch of unknown land lying between. The altitude here is about 5000 feet.

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