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"Traditional houses at Maria village" Bima Things to Do Tip by theo1006

Bima Things to Do: 27 reviews and 106 photos

  Uma lengge at Maria village
by theo1006
  • Uma lengge at Maria village - Bima
      Uma lengge at Maria village
    by theo1006
  • Anti-rodent board of laminated bamboo - Bima
      Anti-rodent board of laminated bamboo
    by theo1006
  • Food stored in a uma lengge - Bima
      Food stored in a uma lengge
    by theo1006
  • Uma jompa at Maria village - Bima
      Uma jompa at Maria village
    by theo1006
  • Entering a uma lengge - Bima
      Entering a uma lengge
    by theo1006

Uma in Bima language means 'house'. An uma lengge is a house of traditional design, made of wood featuring a steep thatched roof. There are three villages around Bima, where one can admire uma lengge. At Mbawa in Dompu regency, and at Sambori south-east of Bima the old houses are just a curiosity . The only place where uma lengge are still functional is Maria village in Wawo district. Mr Nurdin, who heads the Bima Tourist Authority, kindly drove us to Maria in his own car.

Originally a uma lengge counted three floors, each with their own door. The lower floor served to receive guests, the middle floor was for sleeping, and food was stored in the top floor. However, in colonial times Maria village was completely destroyed by fire. It was then decided to seperate the food storage from the living area. That is why until this day villagers store their crops in uma lengge built for the purpose in a compound on elevated ground outside the village proper. Underneath the high roof of such a uma lengge is an open floor (bale-bale) where one can sit but not stand upright. The store room is within the roof and reached by a ladder.

Each family of Maria has its own uma lengge, but storing the food after harvest is a communal activity preceded by due ceremonies. The staple crop is - of course - rice, but other food is also stored in a uma lengge, like cereals, beans and spices. Once a week a family will take out the food for daily use - doing so more often is considered extravagant.

The food storage area lying isolated, it needs to be guarded. Three guardians versed in fighting techniques are appointed for a three year tour of duty. They are not paid, but receive hand-outs of food. The stored food has to be protected from rodents too. That is what the horizontal boards on the poles close under the floor are for. The same technique is common elsewhere, we saw it also in Timor.

Yet modern influence has left its mark on Maria. Some families have turned to storing their food at home - which explains that some of the 96 units are neglected and in bad repair. On the other hand new uma lengge have been built of modern materials. Because cogon grass (Imperata cylindrica) for the roof has become scarce, several uma are now of contemporary design with corrugated iron roof covering; these are named uma jompa or 'modern houses'. More interesting is that laminated bamboo has been introduced to replace wood. But still no iron, like nails and screws, is used in the construction of a uma lengge.

Address: Maria village, Wawo district, Bima regency.
Directions: 22 km or half an hour's drive from Bima along the Sape road you pass through Maria village. Here turn into “Gang Lengge” and proceed for another 2 km.

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Nov 12, 2011
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