In Ensaid Panjang, there are 28 rooms which means 28 houses. The mothers weave from noon to late afternoon. We stayed in a special room for guests. Night falls and we all gather to listen to bekana (‘fairy tales’) from one of the grandmothers who are also trusted to guard the stairs of women and bedudu (‘speak with chants’), such as mattedze in Mandar. Bedudu is carried out by a grandfather whose room is close to the male staircase. At the Betang Dayak house, there are two main stairs. At the left and right ends, the women’s ladder and men’s ladder.
After breakfast, we followed the children into the forest, along the pathway for an hour, slowly approaching the foot of the mountain. They went to the waterfall, playing; they also climbed the stone structure that flowed by the waterfall to the third level, lively and brave. Soon there will be Gawai Padi, the men build a stage and prepare everything. When we left, some people gathered in front of one of the booths to share the catch of the snake.
Popon, Andin, Egi, Arbi, and others looked at us as we get into the car from the cracks in the wooden walls of the Betang house. When I asked if they would later go to college, they answered, “Yes”. I asked again, “After college, do you want to stay somewhere else or go back to the Betang house?” “Come back, for sure, Sis, how can I not come back … ?!”
When talking to us, they speak Malay, but with each other, with people in the Betang house, speak Dayak. Popon sometimes tries to communicate in English with our other colleagues. He said he wanted to study seriously, so he could communicate with other guests who would come to the Betang house. Hopefully, they all grow well and healthy.