Away from the busy tourist beach resorts of the south and the choked streets of Ubud there lies a very different Bali. Here there are no bars, restaurants, hotels or hawkers. Just miles and miles of terraced greenery and jungle stretching as far as the eye can see. In this oasis of verdant calm, life goes on in much the same way that it has done for 100’s of years.
Last year I wrote a post about Wayans’s husband’s kampung. If you click on the link you will get the background story and more images https://lottienevin.com/2012/04/30/life-on-a-kampungthe-real-bali/
Since then I have been back several times to visit but yesterday was the first time that I took up the challenge of the jungle. This morning I can hardly move but the experience was like nothing else. I tried to photograph the jungle but it’s almost impossible to give any sense of scale when you are inside it. A great canopy of green shades you from the sun but the humidity and sheer effort of climbing down a near vertical descent and then up the other side left us all feeling like we had run a marathon. It’s incredible to think that this is the trip that the school children make everyday as part of their hour long walk to and from school. It was only 10 years ago that tap water was installed. Before then this perilous route was the only way for the villagers to get their water. Imagine having to carry baskets of heavy dripping wet clothes, or buckets of water back?
There are no washing machines here, everything is done the hard way. Only one family has a tv and there is no phone line. Mobile reception is poor to non existent. Wayan’s mother-in-law showed me the kitchen which she shares with 4 other families. It’s a small room with an earth floor. The oven is made from cement and fired by twigs and wood. One small, lightbulb hangs from the ceiling and washing up is done in a bucket. Their diet is mostly vegetables, tempe and rice. The kampung chickens are used but they are tough and stringy. The pigs are fattened for Hindu festivals, high days and holidays. They are killed on the kampung with a sharp bamboo to the throat.
It is a hard life on the kampung and I suspect that most of the work falls on the shoulders of the women. Despite this they are happy and wonderfully content people. Whenever I have visited there is always much laughter, teasing and jollity. They share their troubles and their woes and I get the feeling that it is a strong community with each family helping the others out as and when needs be.
Yesterday I had many questions that I wanted to ask. Some of the children were getting ready for school and I wanted to know if they liked their life on the kampung. ‘Of course!’ was the answer. And I understand why. Even though they live in isolation, there is no sense of it. Their lives revolve around their communities and their Hindu religion. They have kites, dogs, rivers and a jungle to play in. What better place to play Hide and Seek?