Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Guess what you are having for lunch?

Those are not the words I long to hear. Here I am in the village, having lunch with all our relatives, workers on the house, and friends who happened to be around and I am served this.
Out came the story of how so and so went hunting and came across this, shot one and shared/sold among the villagers to eat. Its a Proboscis Monkey or what they call it as Rasung. I was made to understand this by the gestures, i.e. putting their hands to their nose and emphasizing how large the nose was, plus by the color of the fur.
Its quite common for the villagers to shoot and eat monkey, but a Proboscis Monkey, surely they know that its protected? I got the idea that protected is not quite understood, as everybody was going on as to how good a meal they were having and that the hunter had only killed one and left the whole bunch of monkeys to forage and live. It was also interesting to note that there was Proboscis Monkeys in this area of the woods, as I was under the impression that they were confined to certain parts of Sarawak only.
All in all, the meat was hard, chewy and tasted like wild boar. But its protein. Sometimes I wish I could do something more for these people... sometimes I think they are having a wonderful life, but I know the hard realities they face. They work hard in the hot sun, planting rice, pepper, and a bit of vegetables for their own consumption and waking up in the morning to tap rubber. The better off may have some chickens and even pigs. But those are rarely killed to eat. So they hunt, and the hunting is getting worse from what I gather. Not as easy as before where wild life was plentiful and easy to get. While we were there, two guys came up and moaned that they were up for 2 nights hoping to catch bats and did not get even one. It may look nice, beautiful, serene, but life in the village is hard.
Ernest
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