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Kaibobo, called Hena Poput in traditional Kaibobo language, was established
200 years before Christ. Ever since, the village and its inhabitants have lived
in isolation from the rest of the world. They have fought wars, experienced
the consequences of wars overseas and religion has found its way to the
village. This all together has set the foundation for a solid bond between the


When you follow the main street to the pier you will see a beautiful, yellow
house to your right. Behind it an enormous rock, almost completely covered by
green trees. The rock has been there since long before the establishment of the
village. Besides it contributing to the uniqueness of the nature in Kaibobo, it
is also the place where the ‘most powerful’ ancestors live. Their souls lived
on after they died. Now they are located at every intersection and around all
the four doors. The four doors, through which you must enter and exit the village.
One is the sea, one is the road, and the other ones are the house of the Priest
and the old church. To go through these four doors, you normally have to ask
for permission. But do not worry, William Mattinahoruw, has got that covered
for you. William, who has a gift that enables him to talk to the ancestors, has
already talked to them about you. So now or in the future, when you enter
the village, the ancestors will take care of you and protect you in any way possible.


“The ancestors can be seen through the lens of a photo camera. Maybe you will see them afterwards in one of your pictures.”

— William Mattinahoruw


However, there have been many encounters with people that entered the village without permission. Take the Arabs around 1300 or the Portuguese in 1512. The latter brought the Roman-Catholic belief and stayed in the village until the end of the 16th century. This made way for the Dutch East India Company (VOC) that started to buy products from the villagers such as Nutmeg in 1602. Later on, the Dutch also implemented Protestantism (1645). Throughout this colonization period their relationship remained friendly. A period in which the wind brought an unknown virus all the way from the battlefields of the First World War to the village. The virus killed an uncertain amount of people.

When the Dutch were forced to leave in 1941, the relationship between the villagers and its Japanese colonizers was not the same. The last mentioned treated the villagers disrespectfully: they demanded the men to build a road to Piru and the women to plant farms all around the village. During this time the Kaibobians were at war with nine other villages. A war that was already going on for more than a hundred years. These nine other villages strongly felt that Kaibobians had broken their friendship because they did not have the same believe as the other nine villages: dynamism or animism. Nevertheless, Kaibobo and its villagers persisted.


This war did not kill the strong bond between the people. Neither did the virus nor the colonization by the Portuguese, Dutch or Japanese. They experienced bloodshed together. They experienced the peaceful times together. They lived in isolation together. They have protected their ancestral territory together. But most of all, they have protected their traditional culture together. All of this combined made them, as of a long time, as solid as the enormous rock. A rock that stands for brotherhood, sisterhood and the solidness and loyalty between all the families in Kaibobo.


William Mattinahoruw

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