In Bario, I've come to realized that everything is different. A huge part of this observed difference was their lifestyle.
People in Bario mostly live in a longhouse together, only separated by walls that divide their rooms from one family to another.
Many people in the longhouse are related to each other, by way of marriage or by birth. That would mean that your neighbor is also your cousin, or your long-distance related uncle, or simply put, a relative.
Thus, I often find ladies or Tepuqs (grandmothers in Kelabit) who would swing by the dining area to have a little chat or to just share some food with one another. Something you can barely find these days; neighbors sharing a simple meal or a laugh together.
It’s just a lovely sight to behold - being with loved ones around you. Their presence is more than words can describe.
To be honest, this community lifestyle is something I can only dream of while living the city life with all my extended family members scattered in different parts of this bustling town. We only meet during family events (and that’s less than the fingers we have).
Moreover, most residents in Bario are Christians. That speaks of the church bell that will be rung every morning at 5.15am.
From all the Tepuqs, I have noticed that every detail of their lives was pretty much known to one another.
For example, in Batch 3, one of our batch-mates had a swollen foot due to an infection he caught in Tioman Island. In no less than a day, many in the longhouse were informed about his condition. One night, the ladies came over after their prayer meeting in church, to pray for our friend.
I found that very touching, although I was not the one that they prayed for. This is because their lifestyle is such that they care for people around them, and because of their religious beliefs, they prayed for every matter they come to know of.
Sometimes, I have to admit that when I tell my friends who need prayers that I would pray for them, memory will fail me and I will forget about praying for them. This incident reminded me of how I should be living out my prayer life.
That apart, churching in Bario is quite different too. One of the Sundays when we were in church, they called out different groups of people, for instance, fathers, mothers, young adults and youths. Each group had to go up to the stage and sing a song.
Then, the rest of the congregation would stretch out their hands to pray for those on stage.
What a pleasure to have people in church always praying for you!
Through it all, a community lifestyle in Bario provides a strong spiritual base for its members to live their days in full meaning with worshiping God and sharing life with each other.
Truly, what a way to live!