"Little America" (in jest)
|Country||Papua New Guinea|
|LLG||Kainantu Rural LLG|
|Elevation||1,500 m (4,900 ft)|
|• Main languages||English, Tok Pisin, Gadsup, Tairora|
|Time zone||AEST (UTC+10)|
|Location||11 km (6.8 mi) from Kainantu|
Ukarumpa is an international community that is the main center for Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) in Papua New Guinea, located in the Eastern Highlands Province. It lies approximately 11 kilometres (7 mi) by road from Kainantu in the Aiyura Valley. The population consists of a variety of Christian workers, their families and employees. The base was established in the mid-1950s by Wycliffe Bible Translators. The current population is approximately 1000.
The 99-year lease for the 500 acres (2.0 km2) at Ukarumpa was signed by Dick Pittman, accompanied by founding Director, Dr. James C. ("Jim") Dean for the Summer Institute of Linguistics on 4 October 1956. Jim Dean, his wife Gladys and their four children, Sharon, Timothy, Roseann and David, took up residence at Ukarumpa later that month in a native-materials house called the "Philippine House", so named because it was built on stilts. Their fifth child, Jonathan, was born in the then Australian Trust Territory of New Guinea. Jim Dean was the founding Director of the Summer Institute of Linguistics in the (then) Territory of New Guinea, and remained as Director until he was reassigned to establish the S.I.L. operations in India in the mid-1960s.
The 500 acres (2.0 km2) had been the Peacock Plantation, a failed commercial venture. Before that, however, it was a plot of land disputed over by surrounding tribes (and traditional enemies), the Gadsup and Tairora. Because the land was technically vacant in the mid-1950s, the Australian administrators saw it as the ideal place for SIL's base, but this had been the enemy tribes' traditional fighting ground, and tribal skirmishes and clashes continued over the intervening decades.
Originally the land was open kunai (a type of waist-high grass with sharp-edged leaves) with few trees and no development, although it was fertile land for gardens, with the Bae'e river running through it. The missionaries built homes and planted trees which continue to attract bird life. All of the buildings and roads were built by mission volunteers with financial donations from churches and individuals in their home countries.
The function of Ukarumpa is to serve as an operations base for translators, linguists, literacy specialists, teachers and other professionals who are mainly volunteer workers with SIL. SIL International is a world-class scientific organization with a strong emphasis on linguistic research and literacy, as well as translation.
Ukarumpa is located on the Bae'e River. The Bae'e originates upstream from Ukarumpa and runs past the Gadsup village on to Kainantu. It lies at an altitude of approximately 1,500 metres (4,900 ft). The climate is Equatorial Highland; there are cool days and nights, with daily afternoon rains between November and March.
- Ukarumpa International School
- http://www.pnglanguages.org/pacific/png | SIL-PNG Website on PNG languages