The Unique Counting Style of the Bauzi Tribe of Papua

goodmorningpapua.com – The Bauzi tribe of Papua live in villages along the banks of the Mamberamo River and Bira Lake, Mamberamo Raya, Papua. Tourists can reach to Mamberamo Raya by taking a small airplane or a pioneer flight from Sentani Airport.

Tourists can also arrive at the Memberamo Raya River by taking a pioneer ship from Jayapura Harbor. This ship along the northern coast of Papua then going on along the Mamberamo River.

A researcher from the Papua Archaeological Center, Hari Suroto, said that the Bauzi tribe is known as an excellent crocodile hunter. “They catch crocodiles by diving,” Hari Suroto told Tempo, Tuesday, September 7, 2021. “The only equipment they brought was rattan rope.”

Besides having a hunting tradition, we can also learn how the Bauzi tribe counts. “The Bauzi people know a unique way of counting, not like the Indonesian system which says one, two, three, and so on,” said Hari Suroto, who is also a lecturer in archeology at Cenderawasih University, Papua.

The Bauzi people know a way for counting based on the feet and hands system. That is, they use their feet and hands as a basis for counting. For example:

Five = auhole (one palm runs out)

Six = aumei viva (one palm plus one finger)

Seven = aumei behasu viva (one palm plus two fingers)

Eleven = naba bu vametea viva (two palms and one toe)

Fifteen = naba meida ahebu fole (two palms and one foot)

Sixteen = au ahim fole, naba meida fole, naba bu meida vameta viva (a pair of soles are used up, one foot is used up, and one toe with one finger)

Twenty = naba ahim fole (a pair of palms and feet exhausted)

Twenty-one = dat meida anekeha vametea viva (a pair of palms and feet are run out plus one more person with one finger)

Hari Suroto explained that the language of the Bauzi tribe is included in the Papuan fila of Cenderawasih Bay. Currently, the younger generation of the Bauzi tribe living in urban areas are more familiar with Indonesian than their local language. “Therefore, it is necessary to preserve the language of the Bauzi tribe by making it a local content lesson in schools,” said Hari.

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