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Raja Ampat – A group of women in Kapatcol Village, Misool Island, Raja Ampat, Southwest Papua manages sasi to keep nature clean and protected. In fact, the younger generation also plays a role in maintaining the traditions of their ancestors on the Earth of Cendrawasih.

Almina Kacili, 63 years old, sits on a bamboo bench. His hand was holding a flashlight aimed at a book containing song lyrics. She was accompanied by two middle-aged women, then there were four other mothers who sat opposite Almina.

After ten o’clock in the evening, they were still practicing singing for the opening sasi service for the next morning. The choir of mothers broke the silence when all the villagers were fast asleep in the dark without electricity. The sounds of crickets and frogs took turns accompanying the march song “Papuan Women” which they were singing.

On Monday (25/03/2024), it was a very bright morning. Yosep Weuto, 62 years old sits cross-legged without wearing clothes while carrying a noken, a typical bag from Papua made from rattan wood. The traditional elder of Kapatcol Village is preparing a special offering for the ancestors for the opening of the sasi.

Sasi is a tradition of Papuan indigenous people to manage natural resources in certain areas and within a time period that has been mutually agreed between religious leaders, traditional leaders and the local government. In Kapatcol Village, sasi is applied at sea.

Joseph took the offerings to the church. The contents are areca nut, betel, lime and cigarettes placed on a plate. Local residents call it pon fapo. Each was split into seven and covered with red and white cloth.

The Raja Ampat people have a local philosophy from their ancestors, namely “the forest is the mother, the sea is the father, and the coast is the child.” This philosophy teaches their descendants to protect nature as a whole.

Exactly at 07.35 WIT the opening sasi service liturgy began at the Elim Evangelical Christian Church (GKI). The residents of Kapatcol Village, the majority of whom are Christians, also joined in worship. There were 16 women sitting in the congregation, and 12 of them were wearing uniforms that read “sasi group”.

The name of the sasi group is Waifuna, which means, “those who are blessed by God”. The group led by Almina is the driving force behind marine sasi in Kapatcol, and is assisted by the Nusantara Nature Conservation Foundation (YKAN).

The third bell has begun to ring, the Elim Kapatcol congregation members burn seven candles and sing songs of praise. From the pulpit, a pastor read the opening prayer of the sasi.

“Monday (25/03/2024) the Elim Kapatcol congregation united and wanted to open the congregation’s sea sasi, in the name of Allah, father, son and holy spirit, I opened the sea sasi of the Elim Kapatcol congregation this morning,” he said.

After the opening of the sasi, the congregation began to descend the hill from the church to the pier to complete the next activity. Meanwhile, the children were waiting at the end of the dock.

One by one the people got into the canoe. Religious leaders wearing purple stoles were in one boat. Several traditional figures from the Matbat tribe, a tribe native to Misool Island, carried pon fapo on different boats.

Likewise, groups of Waifuna women, young and old, started rushing to jump into the canoe. The children went with their parents and there were also residents who brought garden produce, cooking utensils and jumbo speakers onto the boat.

The teachers and students of SD 20 Kampung Kapatcol also don’t want to be left behind. This is the only school in the village. After the flag ceremony, they immediately rushed to take part in the opening of the sasi.

After everything was ready, dozens of boats rushed away together. The canoe with a 15 PK engine took them to the waters west of Kapatcol Village. The village, which contains 47 families, is as quiet as if its inhabitants had abandoned it.


The people of Kapatcol Village are really enthusiastic about taking part in this event, because this tradition is really useful for preserving the marine biota in certain areas so that their beauty is maintained and preserved. Moreover, this activity was attended by various levels of society, even religious leaders, traditional leaders, local government, teachers and children as well as women’s groups who came together to take part in the sasi activity. The hope is that this positive tradition will continue to be carried out and its culture will be maintained for the next generation. Because if we don’t protect the preservation of our region, then who will?

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