I am Papua New Guinean, but I can say I am half-Indonesian. My grandmother came from that side of the border, but at her time there was no border. She got married and settled down here, in Papua New Guinea. In fact, if I can choose, I would rather to be Indonesian. I lived in Merauke for two years, that’s how I speak the Indonesian language. The first time I went to Indonesia, I was very afraid, I thought the white-man police and soldiers will kill us the blacks. But later, I found they were very nice and I made friends with them. I learned very much from the Indonesians about living and doing business. Now there are many Indonesian buyers coming illegally to Papua New Guinea, to buy fish maw, sea cucumbers, deer horn, eagle wood, and many others. I like them, so I helped many of them. Local villagers also like the illegal buyers, and would never report them to the Papua New Guinean police. It’s because they bring money to our villages. If the Indonesians don’t come here to buy, we can’t sell our products anywhere else, as we don’t have markets and roads here.

Sisi Wainetti, a woman from Tais

Western Province, Papua New Guinea, 2014

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