Wape - Settlements

Villages are usually situated on ridges and before contact were stockaded. Villages are comprised of two or more hamlets and clans with an overall population of several hundred. Houses are still made of forest materials and are either situated on the ground as traditionally or elevated a few feet on posts. The Interior of the house is restricted to family and close relatives while the veranda is used to socialize with neighbors and friends. Each house contains several small fires with sleeping benches on either side. Babies and toddlers sleep with their parents and sexual intercourse usually occurs in the garden areas. Menstruating family members remain within the house but sleep at a separate fire. If a man continues to eat his wife's cooking while she is menstruating, he will not hunt. In the center of the village is a dirt plaza where children play and Villagers assemble for ritual dancing and ceremonials. Each Village also has a men's house for sacred objects and one or two other houses where unmarried males live. Traditionally, Wape men were naked and women wore a string skirt fore and aft; today men wear shorts and shirts and women skirts and blouses purchased from the mission and private trade stores.

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