Wonderful Wogo


Kampung Wogo Flores Title Pic

7th January 2010

It was a long journey in the car from Moni to Kampung Wogo – a large traditional village – one of the largest and most traditional in the area, although {disappointing for me that…} electricity is now available in the village. But I couldn’t wait to get out of the car, stretch my legs and take a wander around.I spent quite a long time in the village, wandering around…the main structure of the village compound is two rows of traditional houses facing one another.

One of the main symbolic features of the village are the pairs of ngadhu and bhaga. The ngadhu is a parasol-like structure, about 3 metres high, with a carved wooden pole and a thatched roof. The bhaga is like a minature thatched roof house. The ngadhu and bhaga are placed strategically in the centre of the compound and stand in a row side-by-side.
The ngadhu has various functions and meanings, but basically they symbolize the continued presence of ancestors. The ngadhu is classed as ‘male’ and the bhaga is classed as ‘female’, and each pair is associated with a particular family group within the village.

Kampung Wogo Bhaga + Ngada pic collageThe traditional houses are simple, wooden houses on low stilts with tall thatched roofs. The two rows of houses faced each other across a wide open space with the ngadhu and bhaga in the centre of the open area. Also in the open space are human-sized vertical and horizontal stone slabs…I was to find out that these stone slabs are graves of important ancestors. I found this interesting as these stone structures {or megalithic tombs} can be found in other remote areas of Indonesia such as; Pulau Nias, in the Batak highlands of North Sumatra, parts of Sulawesi and also Sumba.

Another traditional link between the traditional villages in Flores and other parts of Indonesia like Sulawesi, are the buffalo sacrifices. The buffalo sacrifices are used for fertility rites, as well as ceremonies marking birth, marriage, death and house building. The important ritual of buffalo sacrifices was evident through the buffalo horns and the jaws, which hung on the outside of the houses. This is the same as in Tana Toraja, Sulawesi and also for the Minangkabau of North Sumatra.

Kampung Wogo house + horns + kids pic collage

I ended up being invited by a family to join them on their verandah, they were celebrating before a ceremony {not sure what the ceremony actually was} but I ended up joining them for quite some time…they offered me traditional red rice and ‘jungle juice’ – palm wine, which I drank from a dried coconut shell. I tried to resist and refuse the offering of food and drink, but of course they insisted and went on to explain that if I didn’t join them to eat and drink then something bad would happen to me…it’s ‘adat‘ {tradition}. I enjoyed the sweet ‘jungle juice’ and they enjoyed me taking loads of photos of them. They invited me to go inside their house, it was very simple, wooden floor and walls and no furniture. When I went inside, there were loads of people inside eating and drinking and celebrating and enjoying life….they all sat in a circle on woven straw mats on the floor.

Kampung Wogo Family House Pic Collage

After I left the house and the very welcoming family, I continued to wander around the village, all the local children followed me and I chatted with different people as I walked past their houses. I noticed too that ‘Telkomsel’ had found its way into the village! After a couple of hours I left and the journey was going to continue…on to Bajawa.

Kampung Wogo Telkomsel

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