Well, finally I am home after finishing a year research in Lampung, Sumatra. Fiuhh.. It was amazing but also consuming for me. To know those people, to taste their traditional cuisine, to understand their habit, to learn their languages, and the important thing is to adapt with their work time. Early in the morning the farmers have already in their rice field and in the afternoon, they tend their cows, carabaos or goats. Therefore, it is just our luck if it’s so hard to interview them. The other case is one of those six villages is inhabited with rich and busy merchants. It means we have to face another challenge to ensure them that this research is worth enough to accomplish.
I’m still wondering about these people, especially those who were migrated from java island years before. They were arriving in the deep forest, in the valley of uninhabited hill and mountains, with limited accommodation and facility. With patience and hard work they cultivate the land into coffee, pepper, cocoa, clove, banana, cassava, corn, rice, vegetable farmland. Some people who have coffee plantation in the hill build a small wooden hut to take a rest during the harvest time and live once a while before the harvest time to fertilize and to weed the farmland. During June to august is the season for the farmers to cultivate their coffee bean, plucking millions of red coffee bean with their naked hand, sundry it in a bright sunny day, and deliver the bean to the nearest market by motorcycle. Moreover, it’s so unbelievable to carry 1-1, 5 quintals coffee bean by motorcycle crossing the mountains and hill in such road condition. The wide of the winding road is just about 1 meter. Therefore, it’s honestly need an expertise to cross these winding and dangerous road. If the rain falling and make the road just like a river with red soil flowing, the bikers usually put additional chain on the back tire to keep the motorcycle running instead of the muddy road.
in Kalianda, an old bugis man lives told me, it was years ago when he
was 3 months sailing on a traditional bugis ship, leaving his homeland in South Sulawesi to Kalianda, South Lampung. He said there was no compass as a navigation kit to show the right direction, they just trust the stars to guide the ship and believe to the wind blow. Now, he lives with his old wife who works as a traditional massager, while he has retired as a sailor man couple of years before. He and the other bugis people in Kalianda still keep their language, their habit and tradition and of course, their wooden house architecture.
Something that amazes me is; how these transmigrants keep their tradition and culture in this new strange land? Raising their children with norms and values from their ancestors and speaking with the same dialect. Since I met so many Javanese, I speaking with ‘Kromo Javanese language’ and only the older generation who understand and speaking this ‘high’ language. Their children or grand children rarely understand this language except the ‘ngoko’ the lowest degree of Javanese language level.
Could it be the way to cope with insecurity? To face new challenges everyday, to adapt with new weather, to know and understand local culture, that’s why they keep their culture, norms and habit. It is kind of establishing their identity, to keep connected with their ancestors, to show who they are, to differ from the other, to strengthen the relativity and so on. Even the ghost story and folklore from their ancestors is still well narrated.
It’s so typically Indonesia, when I was visiting Bandar lampung, the biggest city in Lampung where the people wearing the newest fashion, speaking in Bahasa Indonesia, where the teenagers enjoying burgers in 24 hours McD, sight seeing in mall, and doing so many busy city business things. However, just few kilometres from the Bandar lampung city we’ll meet the rural areas where the humble people living in their ordinary life. They were wearing ordinary clothes, talking in sundanese, Javanese or lampungnese, going to fishing or farming wearing rubber shoes, just like another town in Indonesia.
And the rest is all about the job we have to accomplish, to do the interviews, editing, cross editing, every single day except if we agree to take a day off or when we move to another villages. Honestly, it’s not as easy as we thought, repeating the same questions, visiting the same villages five times a year. The good point is they already know us, so we do not have to explain who we are, although some of them are still questioning what it is all about. Oh dear, we have explain the purpose of this research as clear as we could and they still keep asking it every time we come to their house. Honestly, it’s very tiring. At first, I was glad to know that we will visit these villages five times a year; it means I will have the opportunity to meet the people again, to enjoy the landscape, to take good pictures again and again, enjoying the weather and so on. The truth is, boredom is just anywhere to catch me.
Thanks God, we have visiting the virgin waterfall and Way Kambas
during our spare time. At least it could break the boredom we have to face everyday. Believe me; riding an elephant is an exciting experience. Most of elephants in Way Kambas have their names, like Aris, Beni, Rahmi and so on. Each elephant has his or her own tamer. Usually elephants recognize who is their tamer by smelling the body odour, voice, clothes or hat. One of the tamer told me that beside elephants in Way Kambas there are so many wild elephants outside the national park. The wild elephants have more sensitivity than those which has been tamed in the national park. As we know, elephants is a very sensitive creature and do have a good memory. They will not forget anything. It is said that one of farmer proudly said that his farm would never be destructed by elephants attack. Then few days later, the elephants attack his farm and left nothing but disorder. It means the people believe if we have any arrogant thought about elephant, somehow the elephants could feel it. I know it seems impossible, but I do believe it is the universe who taking role in this situation.
Now, that entire story is turn into memory; the people, road, rice field, the blue Kalianda seashore, white sands, the misty Krakatau, the deep mountain of North Lampung, the coffee bean, and so on. Finally, it’s over, after a year journey back and forth. I do learn a lot from this journey and can’t wait for the next journey to come. But, first let’s take a deep breath and the best thing is I’m home.
No one is ever going everywhere until he/she is coming back home…