MUD MEN.- PAPUA NEW GUINEA

MT. HAGEN

Papua New Guinea is a beautiful country with an immense variety of native fauna and flowers, and it is also one of the largest country in variety and number of birds in the world, the most beautiful in my opinion are the birds of paradise.  There is also a variety of almost 2,000 different indigenous tribes: the Mud men among them.

When I visited Papua N.G, I wanted to see several tribes. I love to see many different cultures and today I would like to write about my experience
with the “mud men”; that live in the mountains in the center of the island; I visited them in the village of Pogla, near Mt. Hagen.

Although the first Europeans to visit Papua arrived in 1526, the true contact of these tribes with the rest of the world is around less than 100 years ago, although they became especially famous for the practices of cannibalism. When in 1961 Michael Rockefeller, son of the famous billionaire, made an expedition to Papua and disappeared (his remains were never found), he led to rumors that he had been eaten by a cannibal tribe.

The Mud men cover their bodies with mud and wear masks and bamboo extensions on their fingers that make them look like diabolic or  extraterrestrial beings. They did it to scare and fight, but nowadays they only dress like that for festivals and as a tourist attraction.

When I visited them, they told me a little about their history and made an exclusive performance for me. They showed me the bamboo fingers, elongated and sharp pointed but they did not use them for safety since there were several children, so flower bouquets were placed in their hands instead.

The most beautiful and ironic thing is that despite their appearance, gestures and dances are still diabolic and in the end, the children took care of each other with so much love that is reflected in the pictures.

It was a good experience. It is good to visit them during the dry season – from May to October, even though, it could rain since the climate of the area is very different.

It is still better both reasons: the small planes flights and the movement between mountains.

It is also a good idea to visit them during festivals, as many tribes gather near the city of Mount Hagen. But that time is quite demanding by tourists, it is good to book with time enough since the offer of good accommodation is limited.