November 22nd , 2017
Boe Berkelana asked me to spend time with community at Kampung Naga, desa Sano Nggoang, Flores. So we ride a motorcycle and carried donations for children. We start from Labuan Bajo around 10am and stop by at Mart Sakeus’s small gallery at Nggorang. The way to kampung Naga is not that easy, from Trans Flores road we turn right via Desa Waemata and a bad road begin… pot holes here and there, my new NMax was jumped here and there, some bad road with rocks, some no asphalt just rocks and mud, some just muddy and we continue to the end of the road where a new bridge will build this year.
Boe go first with his Yamaha Mio crossed the river with rocks at the bottom and it’s about 50cm deep, Boe crossed the river, then my turn… what an experience. Maybe I am the first biker brought a brand new NMax in Manggarai who use it as an off road vehicle. After 4 hours riding, finally we arrived safe at Kampung Naga, desa Sano Nggoang. Afternoon finally we met Boe’s mom and dad also his relatives and childrens in the neighborhood. They’re so kind and friendly, some children are shy and hiding behind the bamboo wall. Coffee is number 1 social media in Manggarai, anytime, anywhere you go, coffee and cloves cigarettes are there with you. If you invited to someone’s house, first you have to do is node, smile, sit and then give your hand, shake and wait for a while and they will say “Sudah disini” (now you’re here)… and you reply “Iyoo” (yess…) with the smiling face and put their chin up… While they asked where you’re from, do you speaks Indonesian etc, the wife or sometime daughter busy in the kitchen preparing coffee and banana or steamed cassava or cookies or whatever they have depend on where they live and what they have in the area. And the conversations roll together with smokes in the living room.
The village houses mostly simple, foundation from mortar and stones, some part are smashed bamboo and wood, the roof they use unfinished tin roof. You can notice some of them are worn out and rusty. The door and windows usually from piece of wood, no glass in this village. The cement floor and no ceiling, barely you can observe the construction. The living room is the room where you entrance the house, open space, no furniture but a traditional wild grass mattress (tikar) and at the same room there’s a simple wooden bed with mosquito net. Inside the there’s no more door, but a curtain another room for sleep, with mattress on the floor and there’s kitchen with no stove but a stone and dried wood for cooking, beside the stove, there’s a plastic buckets for water and wash the dishes. The washroom are outside, beside the house, a smashed bamboo wall and tin roof, you need to hold and drag the door, made from bamboo frame and plastic bag. The water they collect from the dwell in the area, not too clean but ok. People have their own land, and some of them own hectares of candlenut trees, coffee, banana or use for the rice field.
Kampung Naga don’t have their own market, they have to go to other village which open once a week for them to buy sugar, kerosene or salty fish for the meal. There’s some small warung (simple shop) for them to buy cigarettes or soap and cookies. Meal is also simple in Kampung Naga, almost everyday they cook young Moringa leaves, rice and sometime with salty fish. If you’re lucky sometime people go for deer hunting and they only serve for a special occasion… I am the lucky one to have the deer meat while I am among them in the Prayers Community to give thanks to the Creator in Moslem way.
The village own 1 Mosque and 1 Church built in 1960’s as a Thank you by a German Pastor who bought lumber from the village. 1 Moslem elementary school and 1 Chatolic elementary and junior high school.
The road is unfinished; rocks, sand and mud , so it will be difficult for people to go in and out of the village, only few had a motorcycle. If people want to go to other place they have to walk distance, hours or if they lucky there’s a truck back and forth for the bridge project, they can ask to go with them.
Boe and I brought the donations for the children and community, tooth brush, soap, shampoo, books, pencil, crayon and some toys. Afternoon Boe asked children to come over and gather at his Taman Baca Lalong Beo construction site. The unfinished floor and wall but tin roof and pillars.
Boe introduced myself to the community, men, women and children they’re seem so happy to meet someone from far, I don’t see teenager or young adult, they work and study in Labuan Bajo or even to Sumbawa, Bima or Makassar. Boe had a quiz for the children to answer and they’re excited… most of them get their book, pencil and drawing book, some of them get their soap, shampoo and tooth brush and tooth paste, and I heard from Boe the next day kids are smells good because they washed their hair early in the morning…. I am happy to hear that. There’s a strong connection between Naga people and Bima, Makassar. They said their ancestor are coming from Minangkabau, Nias in Sumatra and fled to Sumbawa and end up in Kampung Naga with no obvious art left. I can’t find any art objects in the area, not even 1.
I tried to find a way to catch the kids attention while I sat in the unfinished Boe’s Village Library (Taman Baca) and finally I found a stick for carpenter use it for construction, made from strong wood. 3 kids beside me and I started to hit the stick and made some noise, the kids start to follow and in a few minutes 8 children surround me and happy playing sticks and sing. They sang Indonesian and Manggaraian songs too till evening comes, we stop and I promise to play with them again tomorrow. Morning mist covered the village, I Grateful, feel peace and content, happy and proud to myself to what I’ve done so far, I ride for others became reality.
Daytime Boe and I went to Moslem school where the principal waiting and the children too, all children at school gather at 1 classroom, they’re so excited and happy.
I had a chance to share my Canadian experience with them, about the 4 seasons, transportations, specially winter time are the hot topic of the day. Share ABC spelling and some other simple English word, 2 hours gone so fast and I have to say good bye to principal, teachers and the children… all the children are out of the classroom and follow Boe and myself to the gate… see you again beautiful children, wish to see you again someday and wish someday one of you become a leader and do great things for your Kampung Naga
In the afternoon Boe and I walked and had a chance to observe the Catholic School and saw the progress of their chemist laboratory and Senior High school. On the way back to the house, we stop at GrandMa who kept Boe’s book while the Taman Baca to be build, She’s a happy person, she said she use to play Ukulele while she was young and joined the musical troop at the small theater from village to village. To spent her day, she made a wild grass Mattress by her own hand and so she can sell and support herself. Today she had 1 mango and gave it to Boe and I, we had a fresh mango and conversations.
Back to the house, there’s some children waiting and they want to play and sing again, so I asked them to grab the sticks and made some noise with a wooden bench. They’re happy, I am happy, the parents happy.. Thank God for your Blessings for us at Kampung Naga.
Thank you for giving me a chance to serve others.