The people living north of the mountain refer to themselves as Bosavi kalu (people of Bosavi), and divide themselves into four culturally identical but linguistically distinct groups, the Kaluli, Ologo, Walulu, and Wisesi.
The Kaluli live in the middle of virgin rainforest, where the dense vegetation is unbroken except for some small settlement clearings. They live in scattered villages, in the longhouses, about 15 families in each, with up to 60 to 90 people per longhouse. The longhouse, built at the centre of the community, is an elevated structure, about 18 meters by 9 meters, with a veranda at front and rear. Inside, along either side of the longhouse are found the married men’s sleeping platforms alternating with cooking hearths with meat-smoking racks above.
Traditionally, married women, small children and piglets occupy narrow passages on the other side of their husbands’ partition. Older boys and bachelors sleep together at the back, and young girls sleep at the front. Although today many families live in small individual houses with two or more extended families, they use their longhouses for communal purposes.
In Kaluli tradition, children are raised by their mothers, with the help of other women and older female children of the longhouse. A young girl learns about her future role as a wife and a mother by watching and helping her mother in her daily tasks.
The Kaluli are highly egalitarian people, living without a hierarchical authority or formal leadership. While the elders have strong influence over younger men, any man can initiate a group action.
The unique Kaluli tradition is Gisaro ceremony, also called the “Burning of the Dancers”. The Gisaro dancers, who are the guests from other longhouses, perform the songs to stimulate sad emotions of the hosts by making sorrowful references to the places closely related to the people who have died, such as rivers and forests. The memories of the dead relatives provoke the feelings of sorrow and emotional suffering. When grief becomes too strong and the man bursts into tears, he runs up to the dancers and thrusts burning tree-sap torches against their back and shoulders in angry revenge. The grief is not simply about the death, it is about the sorrow of loneliness.