Villages of West Timor
To see more of the country a second
trip was organised with another boat crew, this time in an air conditioned 4
wheel drive that proved its worth on rough tracks and cart roads. This took us
far out into the countryside, our main guide this time was Rode accompanied by
Eddi, a young male guide. En route we stopped at a sasando workshop, a wonderful
start to the morning. The sasando is a traditional instrument with harp-like
qualities made largely from palm leaves and bamboo. We were serenaded by the
master musician and his adult son in a variety of musical styles from local
tunes to such classics as barely recognisable (and rather good ) versions of Old
Lang Syne and Danny Boy.
Note the comedy hat! This is a
traditional hat from the island of Rote where the instrument had its
Continuing on into the
countryside we visited 2 beautiful villages where the people still live in a
traditional way with few modern concessions. The smallest village was tranquil
and lightly perfumed by a local plant which we could not identify.
The traditional houses are built without walls but with
thatch that comes almost to the ground some beautifully decorated with woven
leaves and simple carving. The place for welcoming visitors is given particular
attention, the stone floor is spread with mats when visitors arrive, this is
where we were greeted.
This kitchen had a 3 stone hearth
in the middle but no hole for the smoke so that everything was blackened by
soot. It reminded us very much of the recreated Iron Age settlement at Grimes
Graves in Norfolk...the houses were nearly identical ...right down to a pig pen
out the back. The village was kept beautifully unlike the town dwellings which
are often sitting in a sea of litter..mostly plastics. The people hardly seem to
notice it but I suppose they are too busy trying to make ends meet to worry too
much about their environment.
At Nomi, the second village,
villagers were preparing for a feast and here are singeing the hair from a
recently slaughtered pig. This particular village, now peaceful, is known for
its history of head hunting.
Village men demonstrating how
they would use various tools for locating and dealing with the enemy.
Village women weavers who make
the Ikat cloths that are used for wraps like sarongs, drapes and scarves all in
Peter entertaining the village
children with footie skills. Children here are in awe of his height and
sometimes follow him like the pied piper.