Shannon’s Stories: A Blessing in Borneo

| January 11, 2010 | 2 Comments
Shannon Bushman – XXXoffroad

We had been pushing hard to exit a particularly nasty section of jungle in the middle of Borneo and my RZR was on fumes.  Having run two five gallon cans and the on-board tank dry a fuel stop was looking mighty interesting.  As we hit a paved road our lead guide informed us that the town ahead had been waiting for us to arrive.

With a collective groan we started “rolling rolling”.  We groaned because A: we were really tired and B: this has happened a few times on our journey and it was typically punctuated by a string of government officials giving speeches in Indonesian.  When you are really tired, hungry, need some time to work on your rig AND in need of fuel its really hard to get into listening to a series of government big shots give speeches in a language you don’t understand.  This had happened a few times on the trip.  The Expedition was a big deal and was being followed by a lot of officials. We had even once been treated to a PowerPoint presentation of the local economy!! Yeah!!!!.  So reluctantly we played the good guests.  After all lunch was in the offing.

As we rolled up the drive of a palatial looking government facility we were greeted by the sounds of drums and he sight of a local dance troupe.  I quickly noted the lack of a podium and microphone and thought this might be different.  It  certainly was different.  As we pressed closer we “foreigners” were singled out for special greeting as usual.  Alan McMullen from Australia, always a good sport, stepped forward to be our token representative and was presented with a lovely hat.  Sorry Alan, you looked…..great!

I have to admit that I know nothing of the true significance of any of what happened this day.  I can only assume the great hat Alan received was a simple welcome token but the blessing we were about to receive from the Dayak Shaman, Priest, Medicine Man or whatever he was proved interesting enough.  As dancers finished and we gathered closer to the source of the music our attention was focused on the chanting Dayak tribesman performing a ceremony.

I really wish I could help you understand exactly what was happening but I asked several people afterward and the general answer was “Its a blessing ceremony”.    In a nut shell our journey was receiving a traditional Dayak blessing and apparently it worked because we made it the rest of the way home without any major incidents.

The entire ceremony is in this video.  If the sight of chicken dying bothers you please don’t watch it I really don’t need your sleep loss on my conscience.

More to Come!!

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Category: Borneo Excursion

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