This family has left a strong imprint on my mind. I was in need of a rest after a long journey recently.
The grandmother opened her home to me so that I could have a little rest and she welcome me to use her toilet. She actually has two toilets she told me. One for passersby and one for the family. She had the former built because too many people drop by. Nope she does not charge. Afterall the rain water she uses is from God - free.
She led me to her family washroom which she said was bigger and had more water.
I bought some drinks from her to repay her kindness.
As she had been putting the finishing touches to her mat I told her that I would like to photograph her making the mat. She was shy but she did pose. Without looking up. She did not mind my muddy shoes at all as she warmly said in a very hospitable manner "nadai ngawa-nadai ngawa " meaning "no trouble-no trouble". I was so touched by her kindness and friendliness.
I noticed that she must have made enough money to buy nice shiny tiles for her verandah. An upward socio-economic move - modern tiling.
This is her grandson who watches cars passing by their roadside stall. He is not old enough to go to school. Baby sitting him is easy. He sits on the wooden platform while his mother and sister sell freshly barbequed fish and catfish kept in huge tubs.
Will he have the opportunities to get a tertiary education and help his family break free from poverty?
The ubiquitous oil drum is such a useful re-cyclable item used as a good stove for smoking fish.
Mother and daughter selling freshly smoked pond fish.
I have learned to eat smoked fish when I studied in Devon many years ago. And Sarawak has a lot of smoked fish or ikan salai. You can use smoked fish in soups or stews. Freshly smoked fish can be cooked in a good sweet and sour sauce or re-heated in an oven . You can also prepare a Thai sauce (chillies and limes with some fish gravy and honey)and pour over it. Excellent instant dish when you have just completed a seven hour journey.(too tired to take this photo - next time)
While huge four wheels or Kancils drive by this humble road side stall this Iban family eek out a living day in day out without complaint. They are glad that their men can have jobs with the oil palm plantation and that they too can earn some pocket money to buy a sarong or two and some cheap children's t-shirts and rubberised shorts.
They however have not lost their humanity to be kind to a tired traveller. May God bless them for their kind hearts and genuine hospitality.