Gebusi Notes

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Anthro Gebusi Notes:
Part 1:

* N (Narrator) and Eileen are from University of Michigan—traveled on government funds to research inexistent people (the Kramo) in New Guinea * They ended up in Honibo land, where they were wanted to stay but bad misquitos, weather, etc. drove them to go to their carrior’s land * Yuway: couldn’t communicate well but was strong and helped them on their voyage, most patient, insightful, and pleasant helper to N learning the language * Gono: never spoke much, always alert

* Hawi: nominal interpreter, socially and physically agile * Swamin: older, muscular, funny, spirit medium, held séances on regular basis * Found themselves near Yibihilu (“place of deeps waters) with the Gebusi people * Gebusi became independent in 1975

* Gebusi’s greatest gift was their starchy bananas
* Everybody had “exchange names” for each other based on gifts they had given or received from the other person * When they first arrived, N and Eileen accepted feast of bananas and then motioned to share with everyone, leading to more acceptance * Australians had visited yearly before N and Eileen arrived, taking the census—also provided outside goods—Austrailians stopped coming so when N and Eileen showed up every village they visited wanted them to live there * Gebusi neighbors, the Bedamini, were larger and attacked—Australians protected the Gebusi from their attacks * Men accepted N more and women spend time with Eileen

* Kogwayay: refers to customs that make Gebusi different from others, dominated by men * Kog: togetherness, friendship, and similarity
* Wa: to talk
* Yay: to cheer, yell, joke, cry out loudly and happily, etc, vital assertion of collective life * At night, men would speak loudly on porch, women quietly indoors * Much male dominance in all celebrations and séances

* Gebusi built N and Eileen a house
* Gebusi only had numerical system of one, two, three, and “a lot” * The “house long” (masam sak) was the main gathering place for 52 Yinihilu, biggest accomplishment of material culture—almost always empty—permanent residence for 2 extended families, others living in smaller houses in community clearing—served as evening gathering place and site of celebrations * Often, people go deep into the rainforest for weeks on end to split sago palm and pound tree into pith * Yibihilu spend 45% of night in forest and 55% at home

* Were referred to as nomads but technically are not
* Biggest task of year: felling of trees
* Cut alltrees half through then biggest one falls, domino effect on the rest, fertilizes gardens so bananas grow * Main form of food is agriculture and fruit through gardens each year * Every week or 2 men gather for an all night séance, songfest * More sleeping and relaxing—much more than US—technology doesn’t always “save time”, instead demands more * Mosquitoes led to malaria, malnutrition huge problem, skin ulcers from cuts in hot climate, tuberculosis * Raising pigs demands too much time and work—instead find baby pigs, tame them, and let them free—pigs come back for food and are eventually killed * Instead of letting bad weather make them mad, they take day off and relax * Dry spells mean the river lowers and fish are easier to catch * Girls who lived to be 5, only 1/3 lived to be 40

* Boys who lived to be 5, only 1/6 lived to be 50
* N found it very difficult to get used to the heat and mosquitoes * Grammar very different, making language hard to learn
* Not many babies live past first trimester
* When baby dies, women mourn, men don’t seem to care—except fathers of the baby, they act as in between the mourning mothers and careless men * Babies only die from sorcery—somebody killed them

* Man Dugawe killed himself after finding out his wife cheated on him with a younger man—women wailed all day/night—men took body and some...
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