3 things to find in West Papua's Mansinam Island

Though largely unheard of, one of the most interesting places in Papua is Mansinam Island near Manokwari in West Papua. Mansinam is a very important site for the people of Papua because this 411-hectare island was the gate by which the region's new civilization entered. On February 15, 1855, two evangelists from Germany named Carl W. Ottow and Johann G. Geisler set foot for the first time on Mansinam Island. They were the first foreigners to come to the island, and they introduced a new civilization to the Papuans, teaching them how to read, write, use modern tools and preach the gospel. Mansinam Island is located outside Manokwari city, the capital of West Papua province. It is easy to reach; from Pasir Putih beach, about 30 minutes from the center of town, you can take a water taxi or rent a boat for Rp 150,000 (US$12) both ways. After 10 minutes crossing Doreri Bay, you will catch sight of the beautiful Mansinam Island – white-sand beaches with clear water, coconut trees and generous smiles from local residents heralding the warmest of welcomes. If you do get the chance to visit this island, here are three interesting places that you should definitely visit. The monument to Ottow and Geisler On the foreshore lies a monument in remembrance of the day that Ottow and Geisler landed on Mansinam Island. Built on a 500-meter by 100-meter plot of land, the monument is very clean and cozy. A back wall displays a diorama showing the story of Ottow and Geisler sailing for the first time to Ternate before continuing eastwards and finally landing in Mansinam. At the front of the diorama stand a metal cross. It is about 4 meters high and flanked by two copper angels on its right and left sides. The right-hand angel holds a banner displaying the words “Gloria Excelsis Dio”, meaning “glory to God in the highest”. The second angel stands with his feet on the devil’s head. Cross the small, neat garden, and you will find two further statues. The two men kneeling at prayer are depictions of Ottow and Geisler. At the end of the path, facing Manokwari City, stand two more statues of the duo – all are made of copper. Old church Behind the monument, you will stumble upon an old church built by Ottow and Geisler when they started to preach. According to local people, the church has never been renovated, other than minor repairs to the roof. Every year on Feb. 15, thousands of people from all over Papua and other parts of Indonesia, even from outside the country, gather here to honor Ottow and Geisler. Not far from the church, there is an old cemetery where a number of sick and shipwrecked sailors are buried. At the back of the church, you can also find an old well made by Ottow and Geisler’s students; it is still in use today. The statue of Jesus Christ Another must-visit site on Mansinam is the large statue of Jesus Christ. Perched on a hill at the back of the island, it is reached by following a footpath. Don’t worry: it is well paved so the hike is a comfortable one. Just remember to bring a bottle of water and hat as protection against the hot sun. After around 30 minutes of walking, prepare to be greeted by some truly stunning scenery. At the top of the hill stands a 14.5-meter statue of Jesus Christ, not unlike the one in Rio de Janeiro, depicting a white-robed Jesus stretching out his hands. Inaugurated by then president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in August 2014, the statue stands on a 15-meter base supported by four concrete pillars decorated with Papuan ornaments. The best time to visit this place is in the late afternoon as the sun prepares to set, with the blue ocean stretching to a backdrop of Manokwari City and the highlands of Arfak.

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