What do we actually want to save the Papuans from? Edo Mote is asking sensible questions.
The Hapin scholarship program usually focuses on students in the first phase of their studies, the bachelor phase. Yet sometimes there are special requests and we deviate from this rule. As with Edo Mote, 31 years old and from Merauke. He is the oldest of a family of 11 children.
Edo started his studies in International Relations in 2006 in Bandung and received his bachelor’s degree. After a period of illness and all kinds of jobs, he started his master’s degree in 2014. But due to lack of money he had to stop prematurely. In 2017, Edo joined Perkumpulan Silva Papua Lesteri, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the tropical rainforest and strengthening the traditionally living communities in the south of Papua.
He did field work in the villages of the Kombay tribes and was deeply impressed with their traditions and the way they are living. ‘I see people staring into the void, anxious about the absurdity of their future existence. What’s wrong with these people in order for us to want to make their lives ‘modern’? Their lives are turned upside down, their identities in crisis, they live in a no man’s land ‘. Edo learned to put things into perspective, identified himself with the Kombay and the Koroway and now looked at their reality and future through their eyes.
He now wants to do further research at an academic level as part of his Masters in Cultural Studies at the Gaja Mada University in Yogjakarta. The research results should help environmental organizations and local governments, together with traditional communities, to make the right decisions for the preservation of a sustainable tropical rainforest and the preservation of the ecosystem, in which the local traditions can continue to flourish. Edo deserves our support. He has previously written a sociological study into the background of the problems in Nduga. His motivation letter with the grant application and his track record give confidence. That is why Hapin pays for his research among the Koroway and the Kombay, on which he hopes to complete his master’s degree next year. The Papuans are worth it because, says Edo:
“They speak, but who has ears to listen to them?”