Wee Leo village

Wee Leo village

A special visit

More on Waikabubak

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.

Travelfish says:
Wee Leo village : Sally Arnold.
Wee Leo village Photo: Sally Arnold

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 enjoyed a warm welcome. Photo: Sally Arnold.
We enjoyed a warm welcome. Photo: Sally Arnold

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.

Contact details for Wee Leo village

Address: 14km west of Waikabubak
Coordinates (for GPS): 119º19'5.57" E, 9º35'7.66" S
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps

Reviewed by

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.

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