EcoXplorer “Blessed” by Moi Tribe Traditional Ritual

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Tribal figures of Moi Tribe after giving their blessings to EcoXplorer Ship on Saturday 20 August 2022. (EcoNusa/Berto Yekwam)

EcoNusa Foundation jointly with the Moi Tribe community from Malaumkarta Village, Sorong, West Papua, sanctified the EcoXplorer Ship through traditional ritual on Saturday, 20 August 2022. The traditional ritual so-called befie was led by three local leaders, namely Yustinus Magablo, Benyamin Magablo, and Beni Kalami. They led the ceremony in front of the CEO of EcoNusa, Bustar Maitar, Sorong Regency’s Development Assistant, Adi Bremantio, Makbon Chief of Police Sub-precinct, First Inspector Max Pigai, EcoXplorer Captain, Nasiruddin, witnessed by the peoples of Malaumkarta Village. 

Befie is the customary ritual for asking the ancestors’ blessing who is believed to dwell among their customary land. People who got the befie is expected to have ease of access and blessing for their activity at the local areas.

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The ritual here is performed when the tribal leaders and women sing local song while going around the ship bow deck three times. Then, a mat was laid out to put noken (traditional shoulder bag) with areca nuts, betel, chalk, soil. Then the tribal leaders summoned the ancestral souls respectively. After three minutes, a leader took soil on the mat and smeared it on the ship’s mast and on the EcoXplorer captain and other guests. Then, some other materials like areca nuts, betel, and chalk were scattered into the sea. 

Adi Bremantio appreciated the blessing ritual to the ship. “This is deemed a form of respect to local wisdom of the indigenous people here. On behalf of the Regency of Sorong, we are thankful to EcoNusa Foundation,” said Adi.

EcoXplorer is phinisi ship renovated by EcoNusa. The ship will be utilized to promote local economic independence by taking the community commodities, raising public awareness on biodiversity and culture, and facilitating research in Tanah Papua and Maluku Island. Since its cruise in last June, EcoXplorer has facilitated research on coral reef conducted by Archipelagic Nature Conservation Foundation and its partners.

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Adi supported these endeavors. He reckoned that the service provided to the people is not possibly performed by the government alone and therefore requires other party’s involvement to ensure that development could benefit all people particularly those living in the remote areas. For the reason, Adi said that what has been done by EcoNusa was remarkable and the government thanked for its effort.

Bustar in his speech said that Malaumkarta was set as the spot of sanctification ritual for EcoXplorer was owing to the fact that Malaumkarta people is always close to EcoNusa’s works. For two years, Econusa has performed various processes of assistances and learnings to the local peoples here.

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With the existence of EcoXplorer, Bustar expected that people in Malaumkarta jointly with EcoNusa could involve in a process of natural resource management in the local customary areas to provide added values to the locals. Besides, he also hoped that the Mibi Learning Center that has been built by EcoNusa and Malaumkarta people could be utilized optimally so as to benefit young generations in the greater Malaumkarta. “If people think that what has been done by EcoNusa is not important, EcoNusa will leave. But if it is important, then let’s walk together,” he said. 

Editor: Nur Alfiyah, Leo Wahyudi

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