Harold and Mary Cohen : The Papua New Guinea Slide Collection
Object ID:
Unidentified coastal village along the Middle Sepik River or Tributary, Papua New Guinea
While at work, women choose various levels of clothing: some where none at all; others a short skirt; and others wear Western dress. A familiar activity along the Sepik River is the preparation of sago. The sago palm tree (sak sak) provides the staple food of the Sepik River peoples. Bark is stripped, soaked in water and beaten to remove the bitter taste. The pithy park turns into white flour that is cooked with vegetables. Sago is the most important food stable of the Highlands as well. A sago palm is felled by men just before it is time for flowering, when the starch content is highest. The women dig out the inner pith of the trunk. The pith is carried to a makeshift trough dug out from the tree bark. After pounding the pith into flour and soaking it with water, the juice is filtered out and packed into hollow bamboo stalks. It is cooked later.
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