Kilenge - Settlements

Historically, the Kilenge lived in small hamlets centered around men's houses. Colonial rule saw the formalization of hamlet clusters into villages. Currently, the Kilenge live in three villages separated from one another by streams or stretches of bush. The villages are (from southwest to northeast) Portne, Ongaia, and Kilenge proper. The latter is further divided into three distinct sections: Ulumai'enge, Saumoi, and Varemo. Portne and Ongaia each have a Population of about 250, while Kilenge proper has about 500 People. Other Kilenge settlements further east were destroyed by the eruption of Ritter Island in 1888 or in battles during World War II and were never resettled. Villages are built along the beach, and while most houses tend to be raised a meter or more above the ground, building materials and house styles vary widely, from bush materials (sago-palm roof thatching, woven coconut-palm-frond walls) to imported timbers and corrugated iron. Each village contains at least one large, distinctive building constructed directly on the ground: a men's house with a high-pitched roof.

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