The Jacks of all trades of Ba Kelalan


Living in a near-isolated village means one has to acquire a myriad of skills.

Looking up at the high roofs of Ba Kelalan’s many churches – with their exposed rafters forming intricate patterns – it doesn’t seem possible that they had been built entirely by hand.

Yet, they were. These huge churches, which can seat up to 2,000 people, were built by the villagers based on experience and, well, just figuring it out as they went along. As school teacher Sang Sigar says, “We are just kampung builders!”

It was Sang who drew up the plans for the impressive church of Buduk Nur, as well as its community hall and several houses.

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