I have been on the road and staying in two longhouses where I learned about many things I have not known before. Even though the Iban spoken is the same several other practices of praying and sacrifice are still new to me. These two are very religious in the Roman Catholic way . And the headmen are very aligned to good environmental practices. Besides the Kalimantan Barat Government is also very tolerant and supportive of protecting their forests and natural resources.
As we meander along the long untarred lateritic road I can see that the forests are still well kept and much of the land has been replanted with rubber. It is no wonder that RUBBER/karet is the most important export of this province. Rice is widespread. When asked what jobs they have the Dayaks proudly say they are Planters. They indeed actively contribute to the rich resources of Indonesia.
Culturally there is much to learn throughout the journey.
Tenung or weaving is an important part of Iban culture. On both sides of the border the Ibans of Sarawak and Kalimantan are prolific in their weaving. Cloth woven have been used mainly for ceremonial purposes. Today their woven textiles have been used for making of hand bags and cushion covers. Some have been farmed up as pieces of art. And in the modern era women and men have also chosen this pua kumbu as they call it as part of their haute couture. Not many civilizations in the modern world can boast of such an intricate skills.
Weaving can be done in several ways - using home made wooden frames and spindles or using larger structures. I think no one has actually made a steel weaving machine to make pua kumbu.
the best pua kumbu woven has spiritual directions and women who weave well are the pride of their husbands and community. Her reputation can cover thousands of miles and her name would be remembered for geneations.
Besides many the presence of many museums dedicated to Weaving there are many handicraft centres which show case weaving and woven products. It is no wonder that Indonesia is top in the world in natural fibre weaving.
The Mandai River has a great mystery for the Iban people. A noble spirit roam forever in the river valley. Its water provides strength of spirit and long life. And it is believed that even drinking and bathing from the river you can be cured of your "sicknesses". The Mandai is revered by the Ibans like the Ganges by the Indians.
|another photo of the children.|
|:Little boys wearing football jerseys.|
|The wooden boat could have been made in Sibu.|
|Incredible woman paddling a small boat coming nearer the bridge.|
|A serene cow drinking water in the evening not realising so many Sarawakians are looking at her. The river is not burdened by erosion.|
|Another shot of the Mandai Bridge|
|Doris is very determined to get good Mandai River water : for health and long life.|