"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 23, 1926 : Explorators Camp/Tombe Village

October 23

Still another delegation arrived today from the Ooabu and spent a busy day looking over our camp. Evidently Igoon's potato supply is getting low. For the last week or so the potatoes we have been getting have been small and for the last three days he has cut off our potato supply altogether. Now instead of our spuds we get bananas and giveo, a kind of nut that grows profusely on big trees. It is in the fruit state {p. 294} about as big as a tennis ball and yellow in color. There is a hard shell under the yellow skin and within two flat nuts that taste something like almonds. They my be eaten raw or roasted but are better in the latter manner. The pygmies "spit" them on a long thin stick and roast them over coals like a miniature barbecue.

This morning a couple of pygmies appeared at camp with several bundles of toothpicks they painstakingly carved out of wood, with the bright idea of having us make matches out of them for them. They went first to Jordans who failed to help them out. Not wishing to admit defeat, I put the bundles one by one in empty boxes in a towel and drew out boxes of matches in their stead.

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