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A real story some one visit to East Sumba

Sumba Island
Sumba Island

The Sumba  is an island in eastern of Indonesia.  Sumba is one of the Lesser Sunda Islands, and is in the province of East Nusa Tenggara.

The window of the plane in front of me looks like a desktop wall paper. Rows of hills and valleys with lush meadows cover the surface. I am amazed, it’s hard to believe, the Greenish view is in Sumba island, which was formed from rocks. If the dry season comes, the area magically turns into dry and barren land. Luckily, i came there in rainy season.

After a long flight, the plane finally touched down in the Umbu Mehang Kunda airport in East Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara. I was so excited at the sight that i saw from the window of the jet. I was then on a motorcycle driven by a friend, a park ranger at the Laiwangi Wanggameti National Park, going to Tanarara.

Apparently it is easier fo ting the savanna here than in West Sumba and Soutwest Sumba. The trip to Waingapu from downtown took about an hour. The road is also an entry point into the Laiwangi Wanggameti National Park. It takes, however, another two or three hours to get to the park.

The road to Tanarara is partially smooth with asphalt. There is no residential area along the way. It’s so quiet. There are only valleys and hills on each side. The road is going up, and there are more similar sights. In the long dry season, the green grass turns brown, even black when there field is burnt.

Just careful when driving because there are many horses in the middle of the street. So, make sure to sound the horn from afar. I have never seen so many horses on the island of Java. These animals are everywhere, in the middle of town, in the yard, especially in pastures. Sumba is indeed the habitat of sandel or sandalwood pony horse. Physically, the horse’s body is small and thin compared to Australian horse hybrids.

After being satisfied taking photographs of landscapes of East Sumba, the motorcycle took me back to the centre in Waingapu. We went through the traditional market and fish market. Before sunset, we decided to spend the afternoon at an old pier. Apparently many people were already hanging out there. The place is actually not that great. The road is partly damaged here and there. But for some reasons, a lot of people always gather every evening, just sitting around to take their horses walk or fishing.

A Light breeze on the pier could tempt anyone to come again. It’s fun to relax on the quay side. There are few ships coming and going while waiting for the dusk falls. At night, there is a place for grilled fish. I had some and found that the chili sauce so fresh, perfect for me who is originally from East Java.

East Sumba has also other destination for travellers. The beach, i actually prefer the rugged coast. In Sumba, there is onle like that located in Southwest Sumba district, called the Mandorak beach. It’s pretty far, though. If you are looking for Sumba Resort, you can find many  resort here.

savanna in Sumba Borneo Indonesia

In East Sumba, there is also the Kambera Puru beach with its long sands, which can be achieved within 60 minutes from Waingapu, by passing a smooth road. Before arriving in Puru Kambera, i passed the Londa Lima beach. Puru Kambera is much better, as it passes a scene which resembles the one in Africa. There are many beautifull Sumba Resort here.  If  you have plan for Sumba Surfing, you can find in the attraction of the sea.

Turned out what my friend said was totally true. He stopped his motorbike on a hill, so i could enjoy the beach and Puru Kambera and a vast valley. I spent the afternoon and taking pictures until sunset in this place. But please don’t spend too much time after dark here, because there is no lighting along the road to return to Waingapu.

The Last King of Prailiu

Long ago, the island of Sumba was full of small kingdoms, each of which had its own territory. Now, in East Sumba, there are two villages shich still have the remains of their power, namely Rende and Prailiu. I choose to visit the latter, because the Raja Rende village can be reached by motorcycle in two hours. Prailiu is located in the downtown of Waingapu. I spent only Rp.5000 to pay ojeg driver from Kamalaputi to go the king village.

Luckily, before going to Sumba, I already knew the park rangers of the Laiwangi Wanggameti National Park, who is the last daughter of King of Prailiu. The dark skinned woman with a charming smile just like the typical of the easterners named Resti Rambu Ana. That morning, she greeted me at his residence located in the center of the village.

I walked into the living room. In the next room, there are halls with a large photograph of the face of the last King, Tamu Umbu Ndjaka. This seventh King, died in April 2008. Soon woman wearing glasses with her hair do came out while carrying betel nut for me. She is Tamu Rambu Margaretha, the wife of King Guest Umbu Ndjaka. Mama and Rambu Ana, as I normally call the, are very friendly.

She was really friendly, then she took me into the yard of the house to the king’s grave stone. Sumba is known as the Tanah Marapu, belief that respects and worships the ancestral spirits. Many objects are considered as sacred by the community in Marapu. They believe these objects are media with the ancestors. This belief has begun to slowly weaken in line with the proliferation of Christianity in Sumba. But the customs are bnot abandoned. One of the evidence is the burial tomb stone. Do not be surprised if you see a stone tomb is located on the home garden. They believe that the family of the deceased would be felt close if buried in the yard. And a stone tomb could contain more than one body.

King Tamu Umbu Ndjaka died in 2008, but his body could only be buried a year later. Funeral of king required substantial funding and preparation, such as the search for the grave stone. Stone which is now the final resting place of the king was taken from a hill in Kawangu, 12 kilometers from Waingapu. The weight is about 40 tons.

Sumba Indonesia Map

Mama tells the difficulty of finding a means to transport the stone to the Prailiu. Fortunately, a former official provided a truck, so the king could be buried. In the past, the stones were drawn hand in hand by the people. The procession of pulling the stone can still be found in traditional villages that are difficult accessed by vehicle. Imagine, drawing stones weighing hundreds of kilograms from the hill to the village.

Relatives and residents came to bring offerings like pork, buffalo and so on. In fact, in the tomb stone, there are about 100 pieces of fabrics. They asked for offering to be able to make a tomb stone as courtesy. The king’s grave stone is also decorated with carved statues, such as horse riders and deer. Both symbolize the king’s deer hunting craze. Meanwhile, there is also a crocodile statue which is the symbol of royal kingdom in Sumba, while a turtle means down to earth. The Umbu Ndjaka grave stone looks more magnificent than others.

Umbu Ndjaka only went to school until the fifth grade of elementary school, but all of his nine sons and daughters graduated from collage. Rambu Ana, for example, was a graduated of the University of Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta. After completing her study, the woman went back to Sumba, and worked as a forest ranger. Since the last king died, there has yet any appointment of new king in Prailiu.

Mama and Rambu Ana then took me to see the process of making Prailiu weaving, one of high economic value fabric in Indonesia. The price of piece of cloth is tagged Rp. 200,000 up to Rp. 5,000,000 . Almost all the villages in Sumba have a custom woven, each with its typical pattern. ut the Prailiu weaving is one ofthe ost expensive products, because the production process is complicated and long. The fabric is thick, warm and beautiful.

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