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Introduction / History
There are at least a few thousand speakers of the Bawah Mandobo language. The people reside within the province of Papua, Indonesia. They primarily live by gardening, gathering food and fishing, as well as logging in their lowlands. With their land at an elevation of less than 100 meters above sea level, the Bawah Mandobo people can best be reached by boat since they live primarily in villages along the Digul and Kao rivers. A floatplane can also easily land on the Digul River. The women primarily prepare sago, raise garden vegetables, and catch fish.
The clothing people wear is usually modern but rarely washed. The people eat sago, fruits, vegetables, yams, pig, and fish. The Bawah Mandobo often have and use tableware (unlike many South Coast language groups). Some also have a motorboat and/or chain saw. Houses are generally framed with log posts with palm or cement floors, having planked or stem walls, and a tin (iron) or leaf roof. The infrastructure in the area includes four SSB radios in Getentiri along with electricity in the evening there. Some other Bawah Mandobo communities have small generators, and/or a community satellite television. The people get their drinking water straight from the river or rain. There is one health clinic in Butiptiri and one in Getentiri. Malaria, cholera, skin and lung diseases are common. The Bawah Mandobo people have no gospel cassettes, films or videos in their language.
Many years ago they are reported to have fled from other regions for safety to where they live now. There is a junior high school in the language area and one high school. Within the family, Mandobo people generally speak their own Bawah Mandobo language but they regularly have church services in Indonesian. It is estimated that less than half of the Bawah Mandobo speakers have understood the gospel, but there are a number of Catholic churches in the area.
Scripture Prayers for the Mandobo Bawah in Indonesia.