I am currently staying with my closest friend in Bali, Kadek. She lives in a small, isolated village on the south coast about 2 hours from Denpasar. I arrived yesterday and will head off tomorrow. This is a very brief visit- mainly to check that all is well and thankfully it is.
Life here in Pengeragoan is very traditional. I just love staying in the village, whether my Mum’s, my sisters or Kadek’s because I get to relax and soak up traditional Balinese family life.
Kadek lives in a traditional Balinese family compound with the husband, her 2 children, her parents-in- law, her husband’s older brother, his wife and son. This is what their compound looks like standing next to the family temple looking westwards:
To the right you can see a tall thin statue. This is a temple dedicated to the family’s ancestors. Before going to school each morning, the children pray for guidance and protection from their ancestors. Here is a more detailed photo:
To the north of this small temple is the important family temple. Every family compound has one. During special ceremonies they are decorated beautifully. On other days daily offerings are placed there. There are many significant aspects about these family temples. They must always face in a particular direction and one interesting fact is that here at Kadek’s village, we are not allowed to sleep with our feet pointing towards the temple.
Next to the family temple is where Kadek and her family sleep in 2 rooms and her in laws in the third room.
Heading westwards, the next building is the older brothers’ and his family’s.
Then at the far point of the compound is the bathroom. There are 2 bathrooms side by side. The one on the left is the original one and the one on the right is the newer one built by the older brother.
Heading back along the southern most buildings, the first we come to is the older brothers kitchen.
We next come to a storage area:
The next building is the original kitchen where Kadek cooks each morning starting around 5am for both her family and her parent in laws. If Kadek is busy, her mother in law will organise the evening meal. There are 2 rooms in the kitchen linked by an internal doorway. In the right door, is the original fireplace with a hole in a concrete covering over the fire, large enough to fit a wok or saucepan, a large container of clean water and a small table for cutting up spices. In the other room of the kitchen is a gas stove top with 2 burners, a cupboard for storing dishes, and a bench.
The final building in the compound is the balai where the family gather for meals, to sit and chat – just like a sitting room. It is open and up off the ground so it catches the breeze and is safe from most pests. The balai is also where ceremonies are prepared for and during the ceremony,its a place where the priest sits and prays. The balai is the central point of a family compound, its importance only surpassed by the family temple.
My Mums village is similar except that her family temple is in the north western corner of the compound! I must ask about the significance of this!