Thursday, July 15, 2010
A TRIP TO BA'KELALAN SARAWAK
I just came back from Ba'kelalan yesterday. We went for medical visit to provide a rural service in Sarawak. Fom Kuching we flown to Miri and stay overnight there. Then the next morning took a flight to Lawas then to Ba'kelalan. 10 of us went there including 6 specialist, 2 MO and 2 MA.
Where is Ba' kelalan?
Map of Sarawak
It is located in the area of Lawas Sarawak. You can take a flight with MASwing (Twin Otter 19 seater) from Miri and stop at Lawas. It fly 3 times a week to Ba'kelalan. If raining or cloud flight will be cancelled. You need to weight you yourself and all your luggage.
Water in the window of Twin Otter
You also can drive from Lawas to Ba;kelalan using a 4-wheeled drive, however its using a 'jalan Balak' (Timber track). How good is the road depends on weather. You may get stuck on the way. If stuck you have to return back to Lawas or walk to Ba'kelalan. May take 6 hours by truck if no problem. Walking distance..i don't know. Local people may take one day. If i have to walk....2 days pun tak sampai kot.
Ba'kelalan is a hilly site near the Kalimantan separated from the Kalimantan by one mountain. If you want to walk 4 hours says local people. By motor bike may take 2 hours on the soil road.
The bike with special tyre
Temperature now during day time very hot. At night quite cold.
People there called Lun Bawang. Fair skin. All of them has converted to Cristian except outsider who stay there like teachers. No mosque. No Friday prayer because not enough people (need at least 40 people to perform Friday prayer)
Ba'kelalan has 9 villages. Each of them connected by walk-path and can use motor bike only.
Children of Ba'kelalan - most of youngster has moved out to Lawas, Miri or Kuching for a better oppurtunity.
This is the truck you need to use. Only this type. Even the truck also must have big tyres. Every trip to Lawas, the truck need to repair and may spent up to RM 1000.
Just arrived to Ba'kelalan and the Clinic staff already waiting for us.
Our home stay: Apple lodge.Owned by Pak Tagal family, the most prominent person in Ba'kelalan. Currently already 7th generation.Quite cheap RM40-60 per day with sharing bathroom and food cost RM 12 per day for 3 meals. They have generated their own power system using Micosolar that provide 24 hours electricity. But we cannot charge camera or phone at night because the power will shutdown by itself if overuse. Cannot use iron at all.
Ba'kelalan clinic has one MA, 2 JM and 1 PPK. It has been visited by many people from over the world. Very clean clinic.
Patients already waiting for us when we arrived. We saw almost 80 patients that morning. Usually only 3-4 patients only per day. Some of them have walked more than 2 hours just to see us
Then we went to SK Be'kalalan for student screening. They don't have secondary school. The nearest is Lawas secondary school. They have about 113 students with one class every standard except standard 6 have 2 class.
The path to school along the paddy field
That is the school we want to go. If you can see..the small red colour roof near the top of mountain.
On the way to school...
On the way to school..
The airport runaway
The apple garden: owned by Pak Tagal Family. Not many. The apple season is in May and November. Book the lodge early otherwise it will full during Apple Fiesta.
The apple tree
Apple fruit...still small in size.
Telefon line, just maxis. It just started few months ago. However it available at certain area only especially at Buduk Nur area (refer maps). Electricity only available at Buduk Nur area. Even school area has to use generator.
Problem of people of Ba'kelalan, they really..really need a good road to Lawas. So that they can buy their needs and marketing their product. What they plant just for local need. Even if they plant something extra, they cannot sell it outside. No transport..what should they do. Not all of them able to pay for flight cost.
Previously they have aggrement with the Timber people to maintain the road. At least they able to drive to Lawas. Since few months ago, the timber road was badly damage and unable to use at all. They have not drive to Lawas for almost 2 months. This is because goverment promise to give RM 50 million to built a road between Lawas to Ba'kelalan. That is not enough and even if they built the road, who will maintain it. The timber people maintain it better.
Moral of the story....we should not spend the money just to built a monument for outsider people to SEE. We should do something that everybody can USE.
Just enjoy the view of Ba'kelalan .....
How to book the Apple Lodge Homestay:
Posted by azirayacob at 11:53 PM