Harold and Mary Cohen : The Papua New Guinea Slide Collection
Object ID:
6.01.0422.HMC
Title:
Outhouse Under Construction
Place:
Siassi Group, Malai Island, Papua New Guinea
Description:
Three pigs walk the shoreline of the sea. There is a thatched roof structure in the background and a wooden boat coming into the composition from the left bottom corner. A row of wooden boats or canoes can be seen lined up behind the larger boat in the foreground. There is a half—built outhouse that stands in the water from the thatched roof structure on stilts on the shore.

Pigs forage for crustaceans in the shallow waters near the Vitiaz Strait. Malai, one of the small islands of the Siassi group, primarily depends upon fish and crustaceans from the sea for sustenance, along with sago, a staple food that comes from the pith of the sago palm tree. The bark is stripped, soaked in water and beaten to remove the bitter taste. The pithy bark turns into white flour that is cooked with vegetables or made into porridge. Houses are raised on stilts because of frequent rise of the water. Thatch for the roofs is easily replaced from the palm trees and bamboo near the houses. An outhouse on the end of the pier is in process of being rebuilt with lumber on the sides and some thatch on the roof.
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