As a land person, I have easy accessibility to multiple different living accomodations. I wake up in my own bed, take a hot shower, and eat a bowl of cereal with milk. I travel down asphalt paved roads to visit friends, go to the grocery store, and make trips to see my family. Trash is disposed of easily by simply putting it in a can. The trash truck comes every Wednesday, and takes away our trash to a far away place.
Life with the Bajau people, while difficult, is so incredibly beautiful compared to what I would normally experience in sunny California. However, it has also meant that all of my “land person” accomodations have been thrown out the window, and quite literally.
Here, I am fortunate to wake up on my floor mattress. If I’m not up by 6:30, I feel bad for waking up late. Instead of my morning cereal, my breakfast consists of a daily portion of nasi goreng (fried rice) with a fried egg. This is enjoyed while sitting on my wooden back porch that overlooks the ocean. If I want to visit one of my friends, I carefuly travel down the wooden boardwalk and say good morning to those who rest on their porches. Whenever I am finished consuming a good, I must either choose to keep the plastic waste with me to throw away after we leave, or throw it into the ocean. My family is spread all throughout the village. I have a wonderful pak and ibu, and do my best to keep up with all 9 of my brothers and sisters.
Although we’re only staying in Sampela for one week, I’m glad I was able to experience such a uniquely beautiful place. Even though I must soon resort back to land, I will forever keep a piece of the Bajau with me through the memories of my life on stilts.