One of the better ways to delightin the pastoral side of this worldrenowned resort paradise is towalk down the trail built by thepeasants in remote countryside.That�s why I took a day triporganized by See Bali Adventuresto Tengkudak, a small farmingvillage on the foot of the holyMount Batukaru in Tabanan, 700meters above sea level. It�s hometo around 80 families, 82% of themare farmers.
The village lies on bothsides of a stretch of longnarrow road leading upto the famous Batukarutemple. The villagershere don’t see muchaction other than that oftheir religious rituals. So it wasn’t muchof a surprise that they are easily drawnto visitors like me as much as I was tothem. That’s what happened at the FirstTengkudak Elementary School, where Ibegan the tour.
Pak Made, my guide for the day, and Iarrived at the school during break time.The children who were playing outsidefroze when they saw me approachingthe courtyard. But as soon as I greetedthem screams of excitement erupted.To welcome us the principle quicklyorganized traditional Balinese children’sgames and a singing performance, whichIjoined in, to some extent. I was toldthat some guests to the village evenstayed longer, when occasion permitted,to talk in front of the class about theirbackground.
Being able to interact with the localswas one of the highlights of the trip forme. The residents did their best to quenchmy curiosity. And there was plenty in thevillage to be curious about.
After visiting the school I was led byPak Made into a labyrinth of traditionalresidential systems where peopleof Tengkudak share large gatelesscompounds with their kin. Each of thecompounds is home to atleast threerelated households. We passed theresidential area, toward the back ofthe village where the “work place” waslocated. We arrived there, after bravinga rather steep and slippery trail throughthe wood, to Find a large spread of brilliantgreenish rice Fields under a shiny clearblue sky. For a moment I stood on theperimeter of the sizeable open lot in awe.
The sun was punishing as it approachednoon. There was no restaurant, or hotel,or any kind of shelter nearby to help me toenjoy the view in maximum comfort. Yetl felt so content that I was oblivious of mysurroundings. Pak Made, who I believedwas standing quietly behind me, must’veseen this reaction more than few times.
Text By : Eric Tiwa