Raffaele Among the Korowai

Paul Raffaele describes his adventures (and misadventures) in Indonesian New Guinea, reporting on the Korowai

Lepeadon, the "fierce man" of the Letin clan. (Paul Raffaele)

(Continued from page 5)

As SMITHSONIAN was preparing Paul’s article about the cannibals for publication in July, Raffaele was on assignment for us in Pakistan. Alerted to the need to answer some questions, Paul checked in from Pakistan.

July 13, 2006

Paul: I just arrived in Gilgit [Pakistan], out of email contact for many days. Going to Hunza in a few hours for the final leg of a story which is a beauty. The mad wild polo game at 12,500 feet was the greatest in the history of the event. The sub themes are great too.

Lyn has emailed me that you're planning cannibals for September and that she needs the fact-checking done by the end of the month. I'm presently a few days ahead of schedule and am booked out of Islamabad on the 18th to Hong Kong, but because it's school holidays all the flights to Sydney are booked out solidly until the 26th when I have a confirmed booking. That's too late for the fact-checking, and I can't do it from Hong Kong because I don't have the materials.

What I suggest is that I finish up here by the 16th, as planned, and then get a new ticket from Islamabad to Sydney. I'm currently under my travel budget, and can use this to pay for the air ticket presuming that I can get one that cheap which I can, perhaps flying through Bombay and Singapore to Sydney.

That would get me home about the 20th with time to get the material to Lyn and answer any questions.

July 13, 2006

Carey: that sounds like a good plan to me. In the meantime (ie before the 20th), even though you don't have all the materials, you may be able to answer many of our questions from memory, so let's stay as much in touch as possible by whatever means possible. Also, I'd love to get, asap, a high-resolution copy of that photo of you dancing with the fierce man (name escapes me at the moment) taken by the translator, to include in the layout. Glad to hear that the polo went well.

July 16, 2006

Paul: The Pakistan story has gone well and I ended it today. But I had a weird accident today at Hunza. There are five trillion rocks up there among the snow giants and I slipped on one this morning. I pitched forward and slammed my head into a big rock on the ground. I didn't as much as touch my nose or my teeth, but my forehead took the impact and my forehead spilt open from just above the bridge of the nose to about half an inch into the hairline. They rushed me to a clinic where a medical assistant put in ten stitches in a vertical line connecting the spots mentioned. It looks ghastly, as if I'm Frankenstein, but if you walk the tightrope enough then one day you'll fall off. My daughter says they do wonders with laser these days, so maybe the scar won't be so dreadful. My skull is fine, and I have had no pain in my head. The doctor who checked said I have a thick skull. You might agree with him. I'll have a cat scan when I get home just to make sure. It's the sort of accident you can have at home working in the garden.

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