Wednesday 30 September 2015

My Women of Bario

Bario is a beautiful quaint village hidden in the jungles of Sarawak. This lovely place was augmented only by the amazing women that brought me into their homes and worked their ways into my heart.
Every one of them showered me with love and took me in as one of their own despite the differences in our race and religion. These women to us may seem ordinary, but once you get to know them you see another side. With every leaf you turn, lies a hidden story about these amazing women. Unlike city women, every broken nail, wrinkle and scar is proof of the hardship they have endured this far.

Sina Sarina
Sina and her daughter, Supang

Sina Sarina, the person whom I called mum throughout my stay in Bario. Never once did she give me the opportunity to feel homesick. She filled my time there with laughter; every motorcycle ride back home was accompanied by a funny story from her life here in Bario. With open arms, she assimilated me into her family from the first day we met. Naming me as one of her own, that’s how “Abet” joined the family. To her, she gained a daughter and happily told anyone who would ask. She was the most loving woman. She never allowed me to work under the sun and would always give me light duties so that I would not be tired by the end of the day. I was pampered there in a sense that she cared about me so much that she refused to let me help her in the paddy fields so that my skin was spared from the scorching sun of Bario. During our tea breaks, she would even share her Cadbury chocolates with me, a very rare commodity here in Bario. This woman taught me to be strong and independent. Though we met for a brief period, she had snuck herself into small corner of my heart. Thank you, mum.

Tepuq Dayang

This lovely woman here is none other than my Tepuq (grandmother). She showed me the tips and tricks to manoeuvre myself through the wet and soggy paddy fields. This after I had so gracefully fallen on my butt in the paddy field 10 minutes after starting work. That incident had given her a good laugh as it reminded her of how the buffaloes walk in the paddy fields. I was happy to entertain them as the story of my buffalo-like grace had spread throughout the house. The morning I left she had traveled all the way to the airport just to send me off. She gave me one last gift before parting, a bottle of pineapple jam. To some it may seem like a mere bottle of jam, but to me I see the work and time she had taken to hand pick and hand make this amazing gift. Thank you Tepuq for allowing me to spread your sweetness back home.

Tepuq Sinah Rang

I have talked about how warm, kind and loving the previous two women have been to me, now it’s time to introduce to you the lady behind my happy tummy for the duration of my stay in Bario. This woman, the host of our longhouse homestay has been very gracious to all of us. Two of the many tantalising dishes that she made for us, were her fried tapioca and pineapple curry. The taste of these delicious delicacies still lingers on my tongue. The puzzling taste somehow captures you and leaves you wanting for more. Thank you Tepuq for your amazing food and warmth you have shown to all of us. I truly miss you and your cooking. 

These selfless women have showed me a different way of life; to be humble and thankful for everything that I have been given. This past 16 days living in Bario have made me realise all the small things that I have taken for granted in my life back home are things that they cherish here so dearly. I have learnt to appreciate everything and all the people around me. Everyone goes through trials in life, they have their own story to tell and I am happy to be a small part of theirs. 

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