Book

10 days in Mentu - Naomi Hughes

Two weeks into my trip to Borneo and already I know I will be sorry when it ends. The group and I have just returned to Kuching after 10 days in a small, remote village called Mentu. There we were immersed in the local culture which was quite a shock for most of us. Conditions there are very basic and it was hard to feel clean for more than 10 minutes but the people there were amazingly friendly and always had a smile on their faces.

While in Mentu we undertook the construction of part of Auntie Sendi’s house. Both she and her husband are 78 and her husband has such severe asthma that he only leaves the house to go to their local clinic for check ups and medication.

The house was dusty and their wooden walls were barely standing. Our mission was to build proper concrete walls in replace of the old wooden ones. In addition we levelled ground and cemented a drain so their small garden patch doesn’t get waterlogged during their frequent downpours. It was hard work. The cement we mixed by hand. Sand that was used in the cement mixture was transported by wheelbarrow from a nearby river bank by yours truly and of course the rest of the group as well. Work in the heat for the first day was difficult but by the second or third day we had acclimatized and were cement mixing machines. Although it was hard work, it was rewarding. The thought that Auntie Sendi and Lungko couldn’t have done it without us makes me feel like I’ve truly touched someone’s life.

In our down time we were able to swim in the river and one day we walked to have a BBQ picnic by a waterfall. The scenery was breathtaking but be prepared to get a bit muddy. Oh and if you aren’t a fan of chicken and rice… well I’ll say nothing except rice is for every meal in Mentu. It is served at breakfast, lunch and dinner without fail.

While I enjoyed my time in the village I am ready to get on the flight tomorrow to see the amazing Gunung Mulu national park and all of its beauty!

Until next time!

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