The Bauzi Tribe in Papua Has a Forest Telephone Method, No Secrets Among Us

The Bauzi tribe in Papua has a way of communicating that able to to cross hills and rivers. They have implemented a ‘jungle telephone’ since the time of their ancestors. This is a method of sending messages over long distances without the need for optical cables, no transmitting towers, no electricity, and no need to charge pulses or data packets.

A researcher from the Papua Archaeological Center, Hari Suroto, explained where the Bauzi Tribe is located and what their profile looks like. The Bauzi people live in remote forests or live in villages along the banks of the Mamberamo River and Bira Lake, Mamberamo Raya Regency, Papua.

“The Bauzi people are known as excellent crocodile hunters,” Hari Suroto told Tempo, Sunday, May 30, 2021. They are also skilled for hunting tilapia fish, which are up to 20 centimeters wide. This jumbo size fish is also called tilapia board. Usually the Bauzi people process this tilapia fish as salted fish and then sell it in Jayapura.

Until now, there is no road from Jayapura to Mamberamo Raya. To get there, tourists can choose two ways. First, by taking a small airplane from Sentani Airport; second, take a pioneer ship from Jayapura Harbor.

Regarding the forest telephone communication method, Hari Suroto said, this is a term for describing a chain message that originates from one person and is then passed on to another person. “The trick is to scream very loudly,” he said.

The Bauzi Tribe’s house or hut is in the forest. One group with other groups live scattered or far from each other. Gardening and hunting are the main activities of the Bauzi people.

For this reason, forest telephones have become an effective method of communication for conveying messages to people far away. Certainly it is not a secret message. The reason, the person who conveys the message via the forest telephone make sure that the whole forest will know it.

The advantage of forest telephones is that when someone shouts at a certain level of voice, his voice will echo and reverberate in the valley, or from the bank to the upstream of the river.

“Generally, the Bauzi people use forest telephones when looking for friends or family members who are hunting in the forest,” said Hari who is also a lecturer in archeology at Cenderawasih University, Papua. “They also use forest telephones to deliver news if a relative has died.”

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