Exploring the History of the Civilization of Papuan on Mansinam Island, West Papua

Mansinam Island
Sumber : Iware Batik

Mansinam is in Doreh Bay, which is part of Manokwari, West Papua‘s capital. When examined closely, this island with a population of fewer than 800 people appears to be unremarkable. Mansinam is known for its rows of coconut palms line the beach and a green hill filled with shady trees.

Besides its natural beauty, this island boasts an intriguing history to dig up. Let’s explore the history of Papuan civilization on this island.

Mansinam Island
Sumber : Iware Batik

The Roles of Missionaries 

When discussing the Papuan civilization, especially its history in West Papua, it is impossible to ignore the influence of missionaries who arrived to Papua to teach the gospel in the past.

These missionaries educate modern culture and lifestyle to the indigenous Papuans—those still categorized as untouched by contemporary life and culture and teach about the Christian doctrines found in the Gospels. As a matter of fact, they genuinely cared about the locals’ daily lives and mixed in relationships with them while beginning to convey modern lifestyles and gospel doctrines.

According to history, the arrival of the initial Christine doctrine in the Papua region was a watershed moment in modern civilization’s development in the Papua Island. Also, it’s a narrative about a 160-year-old event on Mansinam Island, West Papua.

The Location and The Natural Vista

Mansinam is situated in the Bay of Doreh. It is a part of Manokwari, West Papua‘s capital city. 

Mansinam is known for its green hill filled with shadowy trees and its rows of coconut trees that line the coast. Furthermore, the island has no motorways. There are just concrete roads of average size. These roads are still under construction regarding government specifications.

However, the island’s natural vista does not have the luxury of being roughly 6 km from the core of the city of Manokwari. Mansinam is the site of a new advancement that developed in this area—later extended throughout Papua. In plain terms, Papua won’t acknowledge modernization unless missionaries are allowed to visit Mansinam Island.

The History of Papuan Civilization on Mansinam Island

Johann Gottlob Geisslera, Carl Wilhelm Ottouw, and two German missionaries arrived in Papua on February 5, 1855. After a long journey, they arrived at Mansinam Island, stopping in Makassar, Batavia, and Ternate. 

Their primary responsibility as missionaries is to proclaim the glad tidings contained within the Gospels. However, they must also adapt and socialize with locals who were not familiar with the external influences at the time. Ottouw-Geissler’s service continued day after day till they fell for Mansinam and its people. 

On the Mansinam Island in West Papua, there are numerous historical remnants related to Ottouw-existence. He existed so magnificent and featured an epigraph composed in German. Besides, there is a description that on February 5, 1855, Ottouw-Geissler was the initial missionary to come to Mansinam. It started with a cross of the memory of the introduction of the gospel into the area of Papua.

This memorial had been ignored for a great deal of time. It had become so dangerous that in 2013, the Indonesian government ordered that it be renovated into a stunning monument. Besides, it is desired that Mansinam be remembered as the first location in Papua regarding the emergence of contemporary civilization.

Apart from the stunning memorial, the entire Ottouw-Geissler church edifice is still visible. Only the foundation persists now, but it serves as a remembrance of both missionaries’ commitment to bringing the modern lifestyle and culture to the local populace at the moment. 

A historic well dug by Ottouw-Geissler as a water supply source for the whole inhabitants is located next to the chapel. Surprisingly, the ancient well is yet in use today and serves as an important reminder of Mansinam’s past civilization.

Furthermore, according to history, the GKI in Papua on October 26, 1956, was founded accordingly of Ottow and Geissler’s evangelism, which began on February 5, 1855. GKI in Papua has always been a general church. In other words, it’s not kind of a church of tribal. 

As a result, the GKI congregation’s members include both Papuans and people from outside of Papua. They’re from numerous nations and ethnic groups, and people with varying levels of church participation. The GKI’s existence and presence in Papua is God’s will to show indications of God’s true Kingdom in the middle of alienation, backwardness, poverty, and ignorance. The new Papuan civilization started and continues to this day by teaching the Christian belief of the new Papuan civilization.

On Mansinam Island, we can’t see a more intriguing thing to see. When you follow the concrete street up the hill, you’ll notice a massive Jesus Christ sculpture. This sculpture is a good initiative from Indonesia’s government, and it is a way of showing admiration for Papuan civilization‘s past on Mansinam Island. 

This sculpture is a replica of a Jesus figure seen in Brazil, specifically Rio de Janeiro, although lower scale. This object was constructed in 2014. Also, it has a magnificent and authoritative presence. Jesus Christ looked to welcome anybody who came to Mansinam with open arms.