Tuesday, November 9, 2010

a long way down

Yesterday morning at 3.00am, a 53 year old lontar climber from our village fell to his death.  It is thought he slipped on a wet leaf, lost his footing and died on impact.  At least he wasn't left a quadriplegic, which would be a fate worse than death in the third world.  Considering the number of climbers and trees scales, the risk of death is very low, however of those that fall...  Most deaths occur on the early morning shift around the new moon.

His body was taken to his son's house and put on display in the front room, under a shroud of mosquito net and sheeting.  An all day vigil was held, with candles burning around the bed and the wife wailing continuously over the body.  Everyone from the area called in to have a gawk and pay their respects. 

The builder that led the team on our bedroom was on the job to make a fine coffin from solid teak.  A body won't last long in the November heat, so the burial was scheduled for this afternoon.  The custom is to play gongs for the first three nights after death to ward off evil spirits that may try and inhabit the soul before it goes to heaven.  Being that the dead man was laying opposite the house with the largest set of speakers in the village, the gongs were replaced with terrible music that went all night, spiraling into karaoke around 2am.  There won't be an evil spirit left on the whole island after that.

1 comment:

thanks for taking the time

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