Jimi Valley

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Jimi District is one of the least developed districts in PNG apart from Green River in Sandaun and Rai Coast in Madang. Its geographical location makes it a remote district 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 is covered with rainforest. The district HQ is 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 pronunciation by the earlier explorers and discoverers, they more or less pronounced it as "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 1950s.

There are many different languages spoken in Jimi. The major one being Komblaka, Narak and Reai. Komblaka is spoken by people living towards the Upper Jimi, bordering with North Waghi District and towards Kerowaghi District of the Simbu Province, while the Narak is spoken by the Middle Jimi people - from Ngamba to Kwipun and some living along the Bismack Range like 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, called the Kuman language.

Population[edit]

The total population of Jimi District is estimated to be around 70,000 after the 2012 census. However, it is very difficult to get everyone on the common roll due to the isolation of villages. Majority of Jimian 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. With the populations growth being estimated at around 7%, the actual growth is yet difficult to record as more and more Jimian now live outside the district. Some even migrated to other provinces like West New Britain and Madang Provinces due to tribal fighting and poor government services.

Education[edit]

Because of the ruggedness of the district, Literacy rate in Jimi is less than 20%. Jimi has few primary schools and one high school. These are some of the primary schools in the area;

  1. Jimi River Primary School
  2. Karap Primary School
  3. Kauil Community School
  4. Tsingoropa Primary School
  5. Togban Community School
  6. Kompiai Community School
  7. Kopun Primary School
  8. Bubulsunga Community School
  9. Kol Primary School
  10. Kon Kana Community School
  11. Koinambe Primary School

In mid 2015, Prime Minister of PNG, Hon. Peter O'neil declared a new Secondary school for Jimi, which was proposed to be built around Kulbaka area, the village of the current MP for Jimi, Hon. Mai Dop hails from. 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 including the current MP for Jimi, Mai Dop. They are all locals from the Morkai tribe that surrounds Tabibuga District.

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. Due to its remoteness, with no proper facility setup, Jimi's future elites are now in the darkness. It was once re-located to North Waghi 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 but that never eventuated.

Health[edit]

Many health centers and Aid Posts are built and operated by churches. Tabibuga Health Centre is managed and operated by the Government including Kol Health Centre. Koinambe Health Centre is run and operated by Anglican Church while Evangelical Brotherhood Church(EBC), Nazarene, and Catholic Churches establish and manage other Aid Posts in the District. 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.

Religion[edit]

During the first contacts with the outside world in the 1960s, few missionaries have ventured into Jimi valley where the inhabitants were still at war with each other. A notable missionary was Edward Wilhelm Bromley of Church of the Nazarene who settled in Tsingoropa in the Middle Jimi. The Catholic Church established it self towards the upper Jimi including Karap, Kol and Ambulua, while Anglican Church occupied the Lower part of Jimi with its centre at Koinambe moving inward from Madang and Ramu. Usually on Sunday's you find the market place and the common gathering places empty because they all go to churches. Other Christian churches have gone into Jimi later like Lutheran, SDA, and Revival Churches. Catholic has at present two Dioceses in Jimi, with one being at Karap and the other at Ambulua, Upper Jimi, while Church of the Nazarene in Jimi is now recognized as Bromley Disctict with its own organizational structure and center at Tsingoropa Middle Jimi. Anglican Dioceses with its head office in Koinambe. The churches are playing a major role in making sure the community in which they serve is living in peace and harmony.

Political[edit]

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;

  1. Kaula Dupai - 1st Jimi MP in the House of Assembly, but died after a short illness.
  2. Sir Thomas Kavali (1973–1982)
  3. James Kuru Kupul (1982–1992)
  4. Kimb Tai (1992–1997)
  5. Bevan Tembi (1997–2002)
  6. Francis Kunai (2002–2007)
  7. Wake Goi (2007–2012)
  8. Mai Dop ( 2012 - Present)

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.[citation needed] 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.

Jimi is no longer experiencing the ruggedness feeling of the road after the leadership of Francis Kunai and Wake Goi. You can now take approximately 2 to 3 hours drive from Banz to Tabibuga. You will also see that PMV's no more carrying the tools like spade or crowbar. They are driving freely back and forth. However, Banz to Kol and Tabibuga to Koinambe is being upgraded. The current MP Mai Dop is really forecasting in maintaining the road consistently and bought machineries with peoples money is not a waste but tangible benefit experienced by the people.

He is also committed to complete the two new bridge from Wara Pind in low Jimi and kon Gaun in Middle in June 2016.

Law and order[edit]

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.

Economic activities[edit]

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, however, 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.

Communication[edit]

Since 2010, there has been increase in the communication net work in Jimi. Mainly due to the fact that Digicel has established its towers which consequently elevated business activities and some improvement in people's living standard.

Climate and Weather Pattern[edit]

Jimi used to have a regular observed pattern of weather. However, this has gradually changed and it is now becoming more difficult to predict the weather at times. Back in the days, the locals usually predict the weather through the sunrise, and sunset, however, this can not be the case anymore as the global effect on climate change felt by everyone else has also affected Jimi.

The Climate of Jimi would normally be rainy season observed between the months of January to May and then Dry season observed between the months of June to September and even up to October. This is the peak of times when you would normally see the bushes being cut down and smokes all across the mountain ranges, a sign that will clearly tell you that the gardening season is in progress.

Normally, the bushes will be cut around the mid dry season periods, and then set on fires and prepared for planting. Towards the end of the dry season the crops would normally be planted, and the gardeners will await the approaching rainy season months. After the rain has watered the gardens, it is now weeding time, and the first lots of vegetables such as cucumbers and corn would normally be harvested, and then followed by the Jimi's stable food, the sweet potatoes (or normally called Kaukau).