Just a week ago, for the second time I visited Baduy land. It is a village located not far from Rangkasbitung, Banten, West Java – Indonesia. Baduy tribe splits in two, namely inner part and outer part of Baduy. The names itself represent how these tribe open up to the outside world.
Outer (part) Baduy. The location is adjacent to Kampung Ciboleger (the closest entrance to the Baduy village Gajebo- outer Part of Baduy). The outer part of Baduy (let’s call Baduy luar), often interact with people from surrounding communities outside Baduy. Even the majority have been using mobile phones as their communication tool. While the inner part of Baduy (let’s call Baduy Dalam) , is very exclusive, shut themselves down and seldom have interaction with the outside world.
However, in spite of the above differences, what fundamentally similar between both that give unique characteristics of this tribe is the way they live. They strongly hold their customs and traditions. They only use wood and other natural resources for their home, they do not allow any electricity, and do not send their children to school. Any formal education outside is prohibited.
My first visit was about six years ago. At that time, I was immediately impressed with the silence that I felt when I was down the walkway that connects village to village.
Along the way….lined trees, plants and shrubs around the fields. Everywhere is green. The sky is blue and clear. The air is fresh and relaxing. The rustle of the wind in the dense foliage creates beautiful orchestra. The creaking crickets, the chirping birds and the crawling insects shout to each other accompanied by ants swarming among the dry leaves that fall all over the ground. Peaceful. That’s how I felt.
Not much has changed in Baduy. And it would never change. Their houses and Leuit (traditional paddy rice storages) is made of bamboo and the roof is from kirai leaves (similar to coconut tree leaves). The men are dressed in
black and wearing a blue headband – while the women dress in blue batik sarong with the black top (Baduy Luar costume)). While Baduy Dalam tribe are dressed in a white long-sleeved shirt or also called Jamang Sangsang. The women, not much different from women in Baduy Luar costume. When they are traveling, either to the field or to the market, they bring their stuff with a long scarf (selendang) that tied to their body.
Night life in Baduy both luar and dalam is a perfect silence and darkness. Although many residents of Baduy luar use flashlight to do their evening errands, but the only light shares to the whole village is the light that illuminates from the moon. Baduy people are so accustomed to the dark. There are almost no activities at night. They use the time to fully rest after exhausting working all day long in the fields. But sometimes, in the middle of the silence, we can hear some Baduy young men practicing the xylophone (gambang kromong) – Sundanese traditional musical instrument. They gather at Jaroh Daina’s home (the chief of the village).
The uniqueness and the peacefulness are what Baduy offer to its visitors. When the life in the outside world are hustle and bustle with football world cup fever, Baduy people embrace the night soundly within its darkness. When people outside are busy meeting their never-ending wants and needs, Baduy people mingle in their house porches talking about tidbits or away in their fields where the crops always wait for the touch of his hands.
In those complete silence and darkness, Baduy is a symbol of strength. Strength to stick to the traditional values that they believe within and have been passed from generation to generation by their ancestors. A strength that reach out the visitors to its peaceful that unite with nature.
Jakarta – Indonesia
July 5, 2014