I have only been at the Sumbiling Eco Village for three days but I have already picked up the pace that is present here.
At 6 am Magat and Tupai are sweeping the premises. They have already started the fire in the barbecue area. By 7 Izz and Yan get up. The kitchen is opened and tea is prepared. By noon everyone tries to take a rest. In the evenings everyone gathers around the tables in the common area, chatting, playing cards, playing music, socialising.
We have had guests everyday since I arrived. Some come for a day tour some stay over night. It is a puzzle to solve everyday making sure there are enough ingredients for the meals, preparing the accommodations, making the food and overall making sure the guests have a good time during their stay.
Meanwhile other projects are going on. We are going to build a new roof on one of the houses so the other day we had all the wooden material delivered outside the premises. Yesterday all that was carried in to the camp. Yes, carried. There is only a small path from the parking lot to the camp so anything we need has to be carried here. Everyone helped out. Minah, Magat, Apai, Brian, Tupai …. and me. I didn’t last as long as the locals though. I haven’t been doing any physical work for a long time and carrying heavy weight takes a different sort of strength. None of them are big or bulky with muscles but they are strong as oxes. Apai is 71 years old with a body of a 35.
Yesterday we had 12 overnight guests so there was a lot of cooking and dishwashing done. Minah is amazing, a bit shy and we don’t have a common language but the day I arrived she took my hand and kept holding it. Ensuring me in that silent way that I was welcome and that we are friends. She is the the pillar of this place. Always keeping an eye on things, constantly fixing, preparing and cleaning up. Making sure that all those little things that matters are done. With 12 overnight guests we were quite busy. Huts hade to be prepared, premises was swept, food to be cooked. All pitched in and made their best to make it work.
My first days here I worked non-stop. Everyone was telling me to slow down and take a rest. I didn’t realise that resting is important. The hot and very humid environment takes its tolls. After our guests have had their lunch it is time for rest. For good reasons. Forth day I fell asleep as soon I laid my head on the pillow. The rest of the crew just lies down on the floor in the common area. Made me think of how things work back home, how everyone is discussing their sleep and talking about how important the quality of their beds are for having a good nights sleep. Here everyone works physically hard and don’t have a problem sleeping on the floor. And neither have I. My accommodation is a simple camping tent. I’ve got a thing mattress, a pillow and my bags in there. Luckily I’ve been able to keep the mosquitos out. My tent has become my sanctuary, the place where I am alone. Not constantly been surrounded by mosquitos. They love me. Everyone is telling me that after a few days these buggers will stop biting me but I think they have developed a taste for my blood and just wants more of it.
Apart from when we have guests the pace is slower, easier. The absence of artificial sounds is breathtaking. Looking out at the river is calming. No rush, no stress. Just soothing nature.