Borneo Tattoos

"The tattoo image for the Kalimantan Dayak community is not just a decoration, but has a very deep meaning ". As it has for our volunteer Laura presently at JIwa Damai 

Borneo's illustrious tattoos are considered sacred, magical and are tied closely to the beliefs of the Dayak community. For the people of Borneo, as with all indigenous cultural practices of the world, getting a tattoo is closely associated with physical power and the spiritual world. Borneo tattoos are usually the intricate combination of images of humans, animals and plants in a single design, expressing the integration of all living things in the world.

 

 Just as a great warrior was tattooed to mark his achievements in the human hunt, women were tattooed as proof of their accomplishments in weaving, dancing or singing – as well as for protective purposes.

 

The Bungai Terung, which translates to the eggplant Borneo flower, is the first tattoo an Iban individual would receive.. The tattoo is located on the front of the shoulder (never the chest) to show where ones bag straps lie, to prepare the individual to carry the weight of their own world (passage of a person into adulthood). The Bungai Terung has a spiral at the center of the eggplant flower the Tali Nyawa, which means the rope of life and is identical to the underside of a tadpole which symbolizes the beginning of a new life.

 

The scorpion symbol, also sometimes known as kala, isactually based on the highly stylized image of the aso, the mythical dog/dragon associated with protection from malevolent spirits.

 

This tattoo is typically used by men. This tribal scorpion is still a very popular tattoo in Borneo, even if its original meaning got lost in favor of its spiritual meaning: originally Dayak warriors, who used to cut off their enemies´ heads, got the scorpion tattooed as a protection in battle. The same design, when tattooed on the throat, should protect his bearer from undergoing that same fate, by giving strength to the skin of the throat. Luckily, heads are not in danger anymore, but the meaning of valiance and courage is still deeply connected with this design.

 

 From each place the tattoos have different styles so the regional differences in his tattoos would tell the story of his journeys in life. A tattoo on the arm of a man is said to be helpful to other people.

 

All the tattoos, following the eggplant flower, are like a diary. A young male would go out on his own to find knowledge and from each place he went to he would get one tattoo to mark not only where he is from but also where he has been. Therefore, the more tattoos, the "torch" will get brighter and the path to the realm of eternity

 

Kalimantan is the third-largest island in the world and the largest in Asia. In English, we call it Borneo. Politically divided among three countries: Malaysia and Brunei in the north, and Indonesia (73%) to the south. The island is politically Antipodal to an area of Amazon rainforest, Borneo is itself home to one of the oldest rainforests in the world. Six major, and numerous minor, navigable rivers traverse the interior and function as trade and communication routes for the indigenous peoples who live here, namely the Dayak. Dayak, meaning “interior” or “inland” person, is the term used to describe the variety of indigenous native tribes of Borneo, each of which has its own language and separate culture. Approximately three million Dayak – Ibans, Kayans, Kenyahs and others – live in Borneo. Most groups are settled cultivating rice in shifting or rain-fed fields supplementing their incomes with the sale of cash crops: ginger, pepper, cocoa, palm oil. However several hundred Penan, nomadic hunter-gatherers, continue to follow a traditional lifestyle in the jungle, one that is rapidly vanishing.

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Goodbye picnic for Kerstin

Kerstin was our volunteer at Jiwa Damai. When she left, she prepared a picnic for the local team. Here is her message.

‘Thank you for being and giving me a family. I realized how much I miss mine after 9 months apart and it was so nice to get lots of new brothers and sisters and cousins and aunts and grandfathers here, at Jiwa Damai.

One picture from the good-bye cake picnic I invited them to. Komang is taking the picture. He is also just such a sweet person. So so shy but very hard working and a great talent for drawing.

The night duties made it possible to get to know each of them one on one. Really nice. And Laura is really like a sister to me.’

We are so grateful for all the volunteers and interns who stay at Jiwa Damai.

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Congratulations, Wira!

Wira, our head of the Lagu Damai foundation, after 4 years of intense studies has graduated in Social Politics with the degree S.SOS here in Bali. Some of us attend the ceremony, which was quite formal and of course with extended speeches, some beautiful Balinese dances and singing the national hymn etc..

Wira and his wife an daughter who were present is very happy and his family very proud of his achievement.

He received a diploma and a medal which was hung around his neck .
 

Care and appreciation of soil

To be able to truly honor and appreciate the earth, a caring and loving attitude  to oneself and others is a prerequisite. At Jiwa Damai we approach  working  with the soil and earth from a  multidimensional perspective.

The inner attitude of honoring and respecting that which gives us our physical life, is complimented with the in-depth knowledge of how to restore and heal the abuse the soil suffers. Here at Jiwa Damai we ground the theoretical design concepts of Permaculture, its principles of earth care, people care and sharing  with hands-on in our extensive gardens. Our  1 and 3 day intro offerings as well as PDC’s are embedded in a morning yoga class and evening heart meditation. Find out more on www.jiwadamai.net 

My Journey to the Peaceful Soul

My Journey to the Peaceful Soul

It is a sunny day and I look outside the window. The branches of this tree are bare. Naked. To some they might express – this is a place of death, no energy resides in this shape any longer. But I follow the branches all the way to the top. There, like little miracles, life finds its source, a rebirth in the dead branches.

I read somewhere that the German poet and writer Goethe once said everything is a metaphor. I think back to a moment in time when I watched the sunset in Vancouver and I concluded that everything is in everything. And you can find waves in the clouds.

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Shiatsu techiques

We have started to introduce some basic Shiatsu relaxation techniques this lat week. Margret is showing our volunteers how to make it a moving meditation. Each movement and touch and pressure is done with the out breath and as such it becomes a relaxing meditation in movement and receiving. Our two wonderful Mexican volunteers, Ana and Pao with Evan from Australia. Presently Ana is working with Evan on  a short video about each and soil and Paola is supporting the new HeartSelf-Intelligence website(www.heartself-intelligence.me) with graphics.

Join us as a volunteer at contact@jiwadamai.net

BioChar, the Miracle Ingredient for the Organic Garden

Being blessed with many coconut trees, coconut oil is one of the main products of our organic garden. So far, only the shell and the flesh have been used, while the remaining coconut husks have been burned. Considering the fact, the dry season is just about to start, we wanted to try out making biochar out of coconut husks as a soil supplement.

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Biochar adds many benefits to your garden and helps building up a healthy soil. Millions of microscopic holes provide a living environment for many different microorganisms and help holding back plenty of water. Also Nutrients are effectively locked up and are slowly released according to the requirements of the plants. This way, a loss of nutrients caused by too much rain can be prevented. Biochar can also be used in compost toilets, as a water filter or simply as a burning material. 

If you want to use biochar in the garden, it is recommended to saturate the biochar with nutrients before applying to the soil. This can be done by adding biochar during the composting process, mixing with fresh compost or watering it with compost tea. Applying unsaturated biochar directly to the soil could give plants a harder time to grow, because the majority of nutrients may be adsorbed by the char in first place.

The Principles of BioChar Production - Pyrolysis

If you want to make biochar, it is important to understand the physical principles behind the process. If you light up a fire, it is not the wood that burns in first place, but the released gases driven out by heat. The fire will burn these gases in a clear flame consuming all oxygen while forming a protective layer around the wood. As long as there is a lack of oxygen, the wood underneath will carbonize and turn into char. This is called pyrolysis. If no more freshly dried material is added and gases are no longer produced, oxygen can penetrate towards the coal, and the coal will slowly turn to ash. The key point to make biochar is to prevent coal turning into ash while maintaining a clear burn. It’s important to maintain a mostly smoke free fire in order to gain biochar with a good quality and less toxic substances caused by smoke.

To achieve the right process conditions, the physiology of the fire and the geometry of the pit are crucial. Lighting up the fire in a pit or a barrel helps suppressing oxygen flowing from underneath, causing the produced coal to turn to ash. As dry coconut husks are a good material to produce biochar, it can be hard to maintain a clear constant flame by just using husks. Therefore apply easily burnable material just as dry bamboo or wood in the middle of the fire and place the coconut husks around. This creates a chimney effect in the middle that will guarantee a good burning process.

We invite you to read the entire article from our German volunteer Phillip, who, with the help of Ella from Croatia and Evan form Australia demonstrated twice the process of bio charcoaling and enriched our Jiwa Damai soil with this precious fertilizer.

And if you like to visit our garden, or take part in our permaculture workshops, send us an email at contact@jiwadamai.net

Volunteers at Jiwa Damai

Here is our wonderful April/May volunteer team with its many different skills.
Phillip on the left from Germany, Evan our permaculture wizard from Australia, Ella from Croatia making the new critter control liquids from garlic, ginger and chilis, Margret, Jiwa Damai caretaker, Regina, our Hungarian recipe collector of indigenous local foods and Norbee, our website and video producer from Romania.

If you would like to join us, send us an email at contact@jiwadamai.net

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Charcoaled products

Ella, our Croatian volunteer and Phillipe our German volunteer, are recovering here the charcoal products after a 3 day burning in the ground, The materials burnt were mainly coconut shells. After digging a deep hole, the coconut fire was lit in the pit and brought to a high fire. Then the pit was covered with earth for 3 days. What you see is the result of a charcoaled coconuts which are extremely beneficial to be mixed with the earth to grow plants in.

If you would like to join us as a volunteer, send us an email at contact@jiwadamai.net