Jimi District is one of the remote districts of the newly created Jiwaka Province, in Papua New Guinea. The district is located in the Jimi Valley, which stretches from the northeast corner of Jiwaka and into Madang Province. Jimi district is almost 90% mountainous and has a is covered with rainforest. The district HQ is named Tabibuga, originally called "Tapia Poka", which in the Narak dialect refers to a native tree that grows around that area. Because of the complexity of pronuounciation by the earlier explorers, they called it "Tabibuga"
The district is further sub-divided into three small sub-districts; Upper Jimi - Kol, Middle Jimi - Tabibuga and Lower Jimi - Koinambe. The district got its name after Jim Taylor who toured the place in the early 1960s.
There are many different languages spoken in Jimi. The major one being Komblaka and Narak. Komblaka is spoken by people living towards the North Waghi District and towards Kerowaghi District of the SImbu Province, while the Narak is spoken by the Kaulaka Tribe, Nguntska Kolika Tribe, the Morkai tribe, Mulma Tribe, and some living along the Bismack Range Koriom, Mogni, Togban and towards the western end the people living in Maikmol Villages. There are people that speak the Melpa language of the Hagen and these people live along the range towards the western part of the district. Some people towards the Mt. Wilhelm speak the Simbu language
The total population of Jimi District is estimated to be 70,000 after the 2007 census. However, it is very difficult to get everyone on the common roll due to the isolation of villages. Majority of Jimi are all living by means of subsistence livelihood. The average population growth of Jimi is at present around 7% and life expectancy is around 50 years. Please beware that data in terms of life expectancy is not confirmed, however it concluded based on assumption because most elderly people in Jimi do not know their birth of date, thus making this very complicated. But generally the data on birth dates has improved significantly after the 1970s.
Because of the ruggedness of the district, Literacy rate in Jimi Jimi is less than 10%. Jimi has few primary schools and one high school. These are some of the primary schools in the area;
- Jimi River Primary School
- Karap Primary School
- Kauil Community School
- Tsingoropa Primary School
- Togban Community School
- Kompiai Community School
- Kopun Primary School
- Bubulsunga Community School
- Kol Primary School
- Kon Kana Community School
- Koinambe Primary School
There is an Anglican College towards the north western corner of Jimi in the Tsendiap area.
Few people who have gone through this hardship of education are now holding key offices in PNG. They are true pride of Jimi. Jimi River Primary School was established in 1957 by the colonial administration. Some of the few pioneers of Jimi River Primary School (formerly called Jimi River Community School) are George Pere Ngond, Michael Kopa, Pin Kina, Sentmai Mamga and Ulman Kalwi. They are all locals from the Morkai tribe that surrounds Tabibuga District.
Others that came through from the schools in Jimi and are now working in PNG and abroad as it is known are people like Michael Kumung, Peter Kopa, Napil Kunum, James Topo, Leslie Komba, Douglas Ulman, Thomas Kennedy, Peter Wandua, Robin Kupul, Jimmy Kol, Andy Kopa, Kevin Kumung Christopher Kolongo, Mark Joe, Sandy Pere, Mark Winai, Ken Ninimb, Paul Enn.
These are the true proud Kopuns.
Other Jimi who have come through education systems in Jimi are out there but it is hard to get everyone on record.
Jimi's only high school named the Jimi High School is located in the Kol District, however, it was recently re-located into Banz. With no proper facility setup, Jimi's future elites are now in the darkness. It was discovered that the school was re-located due to many factors, with politics being the major one, and the isolated location of the school towards the corner of the district and the continuous run down state of Jimi Highway making it all worse. It is hoped the High School can be relocated into one of the central locations like Karap or Tabibuga to make access easier. But based on what is on ground, the locals in Kol are likely to not easily let go the relocation of the high school.
It was hoped that the school will be relocated temporarily into Banz, and with plans to have it permanently transferred to Tabibuga. The proposed location with the school was initially planned to be put was at the Jimi River Primary School. Locals have already put up bush material houses in preparations to welcome the school.
Jimi District has a government serviced Health Center at Tabibuga and several other Aid Posts. There are some health center which is built and operated by the EBC[disambiguation needed] and the Anglican church of Papua New Guinea.
However, medicine supply to the area is quite difficult at times due to the bad road conditions. Critical Health cases involving surgery and referrals are usually difficult to handle, thus resulting in death and or prolonged medical treatment.
Most Jimi people are good law abiding people. Usually on Sunday's you find the market place and the common gathering places empty because they all go to churches. There are many Christian churches in Jimi, with revival churches making a big progress into all corners of Jimi. Catholic has at present two Dioceses in Jimi, with one being at Karap and the other at Ambulua, Upper Jimi. The churches are playing a major role in making sure the community in which they serve is living in peace and harmony.
Since the 1st House of Assembly in 1973, Jimi has seen a good number of MP's representing them though ballot box votes, conducted at a five years space, starting from 1977 on-wards. Those that represented Jimi in the National Parliament were;
- Kaula Dupai - 1st Jimi MP in the House of Assembly, but died after a short illness.
- Sir Thomas Kavali (1973–1982)
- James Kuru Kupul (1982–1992)
- Kimb Tai (1992–1997)
- Bevan Tembi (1997–2002)
- Francis Kunai (2002–2007)
- Wake Goi (2007–2012)
Even though Jimi has sent many representatives into the National Parliament, the MP's failed miserably to deliver basic services. Despite knowing the fact that Jimi needs good road to bring basic needed services into the area, past and present MP's have failed miserably to bring that sole important service. The Jimi Highway, the main road that links Jimi to the outside has been given little considerations by the past and present MP's. To date, Jimi highway is in a very very bad state. The last major maintenance was probably done around 1999 by the late Jimi MP Hon. Bevan Tembi.
Honorable mention should be given to the late James Kuru Kupul for services during his 2 terms in office. It was during his time in office that Jimi had its best ever service delivery. With his vision of connecting Jimi to the neighboring Chimbu, Madang and Mt. Hagen through a network of roads that would provide a platform for the flow of goods and services. During his reign the roads were made and extended for the length and breadth of the electorate they were in pristine condition such much that non 4 wheel drive cars could travel with ease. After failing to get re-elected a third time all his vision stopped and the roads and bridges have deteriorated ever since with subsequent MPs failing in their duties.
The Political Head of Jimi at present is Hon. Wake Goie, who is also the State Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Constitutional Matters. The Public Service Head is Lawrence Italy. However, the presence of the two (Political and Public Service Heads) has been missing in the district headquarters of Tabibuga since 2007.
Since after Kaula, who was from the Morkai Tribe, no Morkai has contested and won the Jimi Open Seat in the general elections. In the 2012 elections it is predicted that Mai Dop, a local businessman will win the election, and he won. Mai has contested under the banner of URP (United Resources Party). William Duma is the party leader of the URP. Mai's first set of development has seen machinery bought through the DSIP(District Support Improvement Program) fund for the upgrade of the long neglected Jimi Highway. The machinery are now on the road passing Banz and it is hoped that Jimi's lifeline gets a well deserved maintenance and upgrade. Apart from that, it is still the same, the people in Jimi are yet to see any tangible development.
Law and order
Law and order is a big problem in Jimi. At present, 2013, there is no presence of Police in Jimi and petty crimes such as stealing, street fighting etc. has risen dramatically. The Jimi District, through the office of the Jimi MP has bought a new Toyota 10 Seater for the Police, but this ended up in the ditches after being on the road for less than a week as the OIC of Police in Tabibuga decided to go on a drinking spree. So one of Jimi's asserts ended up in drain again.
Big court cases are handled out of Jimi, probably brought over to Minj District Court or sometimes brought to Banz police station. The village court systems still exists but the court cases are heard in the village and the magistrate hands down the decision that suits the nature of the case.
Marijuana and home brew consumption have been on the rise. It is widely known that most petty crimes are caused by those that consume marijuana. A surprisingly good number of people are consuming marijuana, with majority of young boys between the ages of 12 and 25 years old. cases of rape and killing related to sorcery is still head of but prosecution is not possible considering the geographical local of this place.
There are signs of economic activities going on around Jimi but not at large scale. Agriculture is the main player in terms of economic progress in Jimi Valley. Recently, rice has been distributed for planting and harvesting purposes. The Department of Primary Industry (DPI) through the Rural Development Officers (RDO) are carrying out active campaigns on food security in the area. National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI) has also stepped into the area by introducing cattle farming, duck and poultry, sheep, goat, fish etc. With the trial periods yielding better results than expected, Jimi is now considered ideal for the NARI introduced livestock.
Apart from that, gold is panned widely around Jimi and there is little sign of commercial logging and coffee and peanut harvesting. Recently there has been a wild life center opened at Maikmol, which is named after the former Jimi MP, Sir Thomas Kavali.
Jimi's main cash crops is coffee. Recently, peanuts have been planted and harvested for sale in huge quantities. There are number of commercial activities going on in small scale like panning for gold, vanilla, rice planting and harvesting for local consumption as well. (more to be updated soon)
DPI in the area has also introduced aquaculture and to date, there are good number of people into this farming. These projects were carried out by NARI under the leadership of Anton Keru, however, when he resigned to contest the 2013 Elections for the Jimi Open Seat, all these projects has come to a halt.
Please be advised that this site is still under construction and if you have any thing to add that is relevant to Jimi Valley, please do so.
Thank you, Kopun Jimi