Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving
This is a post dedicated to the traditional village of Segenter in the north of Lombok, on the road that links the coast to Senaru and the setting off point to trekking Mount Rinjani. Yesterday we visited Senaru and Segenter but didn’t have a chance of glimpsing Mount Rinjani due to heavy rain and cloud.
Segenter is the oldest traditional village of the Sasak people in northern Lombok and the village has been preserved as a show case of the traditional way of life of the Sasak people. According to Cole (2007 – http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/11994/), the Indonesian government has a strategy of identifying and commodifying traditional villages as tourist attractions. Cole gives an interesting discussion on the topic, presenting 10 years of surveys of tourists and villagers in a series of remote villages in Flores, eastern Indonesia. At its extreme Cole documents villages where residents were forbidden to use windows in their dwellings or connect electricity to the village because tourists considered the village to be less traditional if electricity lines passed through the village.
Segenter had just 4 toilets shared by 115 families and my guide and I laughed about the morning rush and he said that often villagers go to the rubbish pile out of desperation. Similarly I didn’t see a single water tap but I did get to enter one hut and there was one very dim electric light.
The huts for the elderly are separated from those for the younger people. My guide showed me inside a hut for newlyweds which had a loft where the bridal couple spend 3 nights without disclosing to the bride’s family where they are. Disconcertingly he called this kidnapping and after the 3 nights in the loft the groom’s family offer a dowry to the bride’s family.
Throughout the tour of the village I felt uncomfortable about peering into the intimate aspects of everyday life and blushed to think how I would respond to the same in my own comfortable suburb. The guide repeatedly assured me that everything was fine and I could photograph anything. We were followed by a troupe of children who squabbled and pummeled each other just like my own children.