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Kuala Medalam is a riverside settlement of the Iban people. It is located in Mulu NP by the river Terikan.

"Family is the most important thing for us. A guest is family."

The lives of the Iban people are simple in that they are mainly an agricultural people. They continuously practice slash and burn techniques on their farmland and have been criticized by others for their destructive nature towards the forests of the land. Still, strong ties to magic and superstitious habits surround this culture in every aspect.
The Iban people are famous for their hospitality and family spirit. They embrace so-called modern ways but don't let go of their cultural heritage. The families of the Kuala Medalam longhouse showed us both their culture and their hospitality.

Longhouses

The longhouse is the preferred lodging of the Iban people, an entire village under one roof. The whole thing sits high on stilts and often pigs and chickens slug it out underneath for territory. Stairs lead up to a long veranda where chillies, rice, cocoa on other produce might be drying in the sun on rattan mats. Through doors on the veranda a long common hall opens up with many doors lining the back wall. Each door belongs to a separate family and opens first to a living room, then to the kitchen and bathroom. Everything is separated only by thin wooden walls. Each family is somehow related to the longhouse Tuai Rumah or headman. When a daughter is married the husband will move from his longhouse into his new wife's. The longhouse members will pool their resources and efforts to build an extension to house the newlyweds and their future offspring. This longhouses has about 50 rooms (bilekas) stretched out under the common roof. Communal events and celebrations take place in the common hall.

The photo is taken at the veranda while some woman with their kids were preparing dinner. They let me try all their strange vegetables.

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