Yes, I am back after three days silence – no phone calls or whatever. The event as it had been when over a hundred seventy of us from Sarawak tracked the jungle foot path going up and down the hills and two mountains to get to the “SISTER” village of Kpg Gumbang. Both journeys lasted over eight hours to complete depending on the number of rest stops we have to make to accomadate the least “fit and hardy of the group. In 2008, the two journeys were uneventful except that we were tired. Going on the 14th and returning this year. a group of 40 of us barely made it the village.
Must follow local knowledge.
One lost his way and was left behind without the knowledge of the group he followed inadvertently on a longer windy path which avoided climbing only one hill. He is a stranger to jungle tracking being sploit by modern mode of transportation – rididng motorbike everywhere here. Most barely made walking on a very slippery and muddy jungle foot path unprepared for our walk – but it was our own fault for listening to a fixation two of our 2008 veterans who wrongly assumed the “lunung” track would be easier despite advice of our “journey'” Leader from Gumabng who told us that the path was more or abandoned and told muddy without proper maintenance and that the mountain path though long had already been prepared for our trip. The group opinion was divided but the “outsider” overwhelmed the locals who this time formed the minority. After walking about one hundred meters of the chosen path determined by our journey leader, we had to turned back to follow the outsider group. We almost did not make the journey for the path were not only muddy and slippery but have “bridges” of solitary tree trunk, the size of 6-8 foot diameter or two bamboo trunks not properly anchored that I had to go down to the streams three times… As a result it took us one hour more to complete the journey and many of us were limping because of muscle aches and pains and myself having an annoying pain in my left knee – for the first time ever in my life…forcing me to walk dragging my left foot all the way for three hours going and the whole day of the 15th. What a sight and an impression I left to all the strangers and kampong folks who do not know that my “LIMP” only started midway through the journey. For the first time in my life I had to walked dragging my left foot along.. all because we rejected local knowledge and follow the decision made by a “starnger who was unfortunately stucked by his 2008 experience that coming home trip of 2008 was easier and faster along the “lunung path” in 2008. I was also swayed by that experience and taught the lesson of “must follow local knowledge”. Local knowledge is mostly recent… it is not based on history but the day -to-day conditions…
Indeed on our return journey only ten out 40 made it back on foot took about nine hours walk because I had go the hill on “first gear instead of an easy and fast 4th…I had to go down the prepared steps with my right foot leading and then my left to follow on the same step and so on … whaa really going down any hill on a snail pace…Despite the trail was well prepared, it took us nine hours to finish the journey whicxh could have been less than seven hours if ONLY my left knee was NOT injured by the “UNSEEN”.
Lesson number two.
On a trip like what we made, follow the chosen path to avoid the dangers posed by the unseen..
Our trip was about bringing the guardian angels from the Gumbang Headhouse to help and witness the ceremonies of “NYOBENG” in the headhouse of BULUN, Sebujit. A sending of ceremony was made at the Gumbang Buruk on the morning of the 14th but the “krokong contingent plus one Malay from KL ” did not join the anointing ceremony thus were left unprotected. This group of oevr twenty had to make the journey home through Serikin involving walking about two hours to the boat ride to Seluas and then a ride to border and the two more rides back to Krokong… The fear of not making it back along the footpath to Gumbang…wrong again. Even myself made it back essentially on one “very tired right leg”.
My pain in my left leg was injured by “foreign bodies being impacted by the unseen”. It caused a pain which had a funny impact on my walk. It felt like something sharp is there in the joint. The knee is normal in size as my right knee. Fortunately with me there two Bidayuh Traditional Healers who were able to extract three foreign bodies out of my knee that now while doing the typing there is NO MORE PAIN in moving and flexing the knee. Traditional healing has help me to be able now to almost make my normal step on the third day after the injury. Yesterday I was still partially dragging it. Look my particular pain did not respond to the pain killers which I did take. Making the wrong move really hurts but I am too old to cry…
Lesson Number three, there is something special about Bidayuh Traditional knowledge.
Our forefather had learned through generations how to survive in the harsh reality of living in the hardiest condition..Bidayuh is still on this earthe because of their abilities to survive without modern medicine and amenities. Instead they have a way of life where by working together in harmony they able to live through epidemics of various tropical diseases as well dangers from the unseen. Through ceremonies like NYOBENG, they get the blessings they seek to survive. Unfortunately the knowledge accummulated our thousand of years are passed down by oral traditons making it the knowledge confined only to the few celebrants. Thus the mytics and misunderstandings about “BIDAYUHISM” – the Bidayuh way of life has led to wholesome conversion to the “NEW” religion of Christainity and Islam in Sarawak.
Yet the “death of BIDAYUHISM” will leave a big hole in our abilities to cure illnesses. Without the help of two Traditional healer I may limp for life. A knee surgery may not leave me with the perfectly functional knees that I have all these 66 years of my life…