"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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October 7, 1926 : Agintawa District

October 7

"The trading waxed furious during most of the day..."

The trading waxed furious during most of the day and I am beginning to make a dent in my supply of cowries. This afternoon[,] with a small boy as guide, I walked up the Aeijabu canyon for quite a distance visiting first a garden where two women were working, who gave me a lot of potatoes which my guide put in his bag. We then visited two small villages. One of them had a pole in front of the main house with a human skull on the end of it. These villages are high up the canyon side. The big waterfall across the way is called "Chiveabu." We next crossed over the ridge on a steep and well travelled trail to the canyon of the "Babu". Here we visited two more clearings. I saw some lemon trees growing and bought a couple of dozen big ripe lemons. At one of these villages was a woman with a huge goitre and a man who seemed rather half witted, who was afflicted with some ailment which affected his voice {p. 284} and his breathing. The least little physical effort would set him to blowing like a porpoise. I have seen all together among these people, more than a dozen cases of goitre - all women. They were anxious to trade and I finished filling the bag my small guide is carrying with stone axes, knives, potatoes and other light articles. One of the old men, the one whom I paid the promissory note for the pig we bought a few weeks ago at Tombe, appeared this evening in an enormous feather headdress and harangued all hands about something or other for half an hour. He wants to bring another big pig here to us to be killed, but wants to see the cowries he is to get for it first.

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