The unique Bundi Komba Festival will feature exotic cultures such as the Bundi Butterfly Dancers and Wanamo Dog Dancers. However, the road conditions have proven to be quite a challenge. Hence a call for assistance has been made to local authorities.
On October 31, the Kumura Foundation executive team travelled to the remote Bongonogoi village of Emigari, Bundi, to meet with locals and get an update of the ground preparations for the 2020 Bundi Komba Festival, which will be on the first week of April.
The team noticed that several new houses were erected, the festival ground dug up and expanded, and some parts of the 3km trek between Yandera and Emigari villages of Upper Bundi were cleared and maintained.
Also, a fresh new and wider 1km trek was cut through a dense and pristine rainforest to avoid the slippery slopes and steep climbs before reaching Emigari, as experienced by festival visitors in April this year.
While meeting with the locals, Tony Mangu, the former ward councillor of Emigari, said: “We really wanted the festival this time to be bigger and better. We have only 5 months left so we are working very hard, but we still lack the manpower to get all the major ground preparations done on time. Hence, Guagu Joseph, the community liaisons officer of the foundation, mobilised 30 young and agile men of Mendikara, Karizokara, Yandera and Kindagokevi villages of Upper Bundi to Emigari on Monday, November 4th, to give a hand with the ground preparations of this major food culture festival in Bundi.”
These 30 men will assist the locals in digging up and completing the expansion of the festival area, building the grandstand, cutting and fixing the 1km trek this week and will continue helping the locals of Emigari as needed until all the ground preparations for the festival are completed on time.
Komba (marita) is a very rare food culture of Bundi. The first ever Bundi Komba Festival was hosted on the first week of April this year. The event attracted eight diverse cultural groups from all over Bundi and over 1,000 people, including guests from the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority (PNGTPA), Divine Word University School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Simbu Children Foundation, NBC Simbu, Simbu Bikers Association, a Kundiawa-based film crew Tekpiksapasifika and a PNG-based French Travel Company ‘VoyagesenPapousie’. The event injected a total of K36,000 into the Northern Corridor of Simbu (Kundiawa-Gembogl-Bundi).
“Next year’s Bundi Komba Festival will be a bigger one as we are expecting 30 cultural groups from the three bordering provinces (Simbu, Jiwaka and Eastern Highlands),” stated Joseph.
The festival will attract cultural groups from as far as Simbai, Jimi, the Ramu Valley, Asaro and several districts of Simbu. Bundi itself is a hub to amazing cultural diversity and is the home to exotic cultures such as the Bundi Butterfly Dancers, Wanamo Dog Dancers, Kumul Dancers of Kogogopainime, Emigari Kanams, the Burning Head Dancers of Karizokara and more.
The Bundi Komba Festival is an initiative of Kumura Foundation Inc, a local community-based organisation of Bundi under its sustainable development focus to keep the cultures of Bundi alive and promote sustainable tourism practices in Bundi, which occupies the central most scenic part of the Bismarck Range.
“Tourism is about meeting the people where they are to really see and experience the unadulterated version of their unique cultures,” said Vincent Kumura, the Director of Kumura Foundation.
“However, getting to Emigari for the Bundi Komba Festival is quite a challenge. The road conditions from Mondia Pass down to Yandera and across to Emigari, Bundi must be maintained.”
The Bundi Komba Festival is a recognised festival by the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority, who were the major sponsor to this year’s festival. Bundi is located right at the foothills of Mt. Wilhelm and is a beautiful strategic location for adventure and cultural tourists passing through the Simbu-Madang gap.
“For next year’s and the subsequent festivals, we will need a proper water supply and medical dispensary at the festival site. Therefore, we are calling upon the responsible local, district and provincial government authorities and tourism and culture offices of both Madang and Simbu to partner with the foundation in supporting this amazing food culture festival in PNG,” stated Kumura.
“The event will no doubt boost the image of tourism in both Simbu and Madang provinces hence, the road conditions must be fixed on time before the festival.”
The 2020 Bundi Komba Festival will be a three-day event. It is expected to attract 30 cultural groups from four provinces and will cost over K100,000 to host.
“The foundation and the people of Bundi are very thankful to the Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority, who funded K30,000 to this year’s Bundi Komba Festival.”
(Fixing the road to the festival site)