A special visit
Published/Last edited or updated: 22nd November, 2016
Some traditional villages in Sumba can feel more welcoming than others and Wee Leo for us was one of the more welcoming. It may have just been that they were having a special ceremony for erecting a new roof, and everyone was in a festive mood, or that one villager is an English teacher, and is more familiar with Western ways. However, the folk at Wee Leo are friendly.
The hilltop village is divided in two at slightly different elevations. The higher section for us was pemali, or taboo. On the lower section, a couple of thatch houses surround slab-style tombs and a clan house for storing sacred objects. The house with the new roof is positioned near the higher level.
Having just missed the pig sacrifice (thankfully), bags of fresh meat were being distributed when we arrived and we were invited to join the people on the veranda to share a meal, with men sitting in one section and women in another. They didn’t seem to mind that we only wanted rice and sambal, and not the sacrificed pig (all the more for them), but warned that we had to eat the entire mountainous serving. “Pemali” to not finish, they said — then we saw one of the clan throwing his leftovers to the dogs. Jokesters here.
We had missed most of the official ceremony, but felt privileged to have had the experience of sharing part of the celebration. If you happen to be lucky and invited to join a ceremony in Sumba, as we were here, don’t be shy — it’s beyond fascinating. And if you can, print out and send them some photos when you get home.
Wee Leo village is 14 kilometres west of Waikabubak, about one kilometre south of the main road. A bemo can drop you near the sign for Loko Winne, then you’ll have to walk the final kilometre. From Wee Leo, it’s 8.5 kilometres to Lokombora Waterfall — perhaps visit both together.
Sally spent twelve years leading tourists around Indonesia and Malaysia where she collected a lot of stuff. She once carried a 40kg rug overland across Java. Her house has been described as a cross between a museum and a library. Fuelled by coffee, she can often be found riding her bike or petting stray cats. Sally believes travel is the key to world peace.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
Our top 8 other sights and activities in and around Waikabubak