"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 8, 1926 : Agintawa District

October 8

"When the "fireless cooker" was opened, the wife brought us over a healthy handout of cooked potatoes and greens."

Dick and Stan worked most of the morning taking movies of women working in the gardens and also went up the to nearest of the villages I visited yesterday and took some scenic pictures. I noticed a number of men this morning with whom I had traded, soaking their cowries in blood, probably this stains them yellow, the color they best like them to be. There were fewer visitors than usual today and those who came went home fairly early. The result is that family life here is getting back rapidly to normal. This evening old Shylock came over to visit us and smoke his pipe around our fire; his wife gave him a good scolding for loafing and not bringing in the wood as usual (which he then dutifully did; apologizing for his wife's lack of company manners). The small boys put in an evening of strenuous play which seemed to consist of hunting cassowaries, wild pigs, and sham battle. They hurled mud at {p. 285} each other and made violent threats of using big clubs and stones. When the "fireless cooker" was opened, the wife brought us over a healthy handout of cooked potatoes and greens. They are prepared very cleanly and we ate them, finding both quite good and tasting as tho' they had been boiled. There is a variety of big white grub which they find when splitting wood, which seems to be quite a delicacy and is usually given the small children. They parch them a little on the open fire before eating them and register great pleasure the while.

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