Longhouse At The Edge Of Labi: The Untold Story Of Teraja

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Nestled at the very end of the asphalt of Jalan Labi lies a modest wooden longhouse dwarfed by a surrounding enclave of lush tropical forest.

Built on stilts reaching two metres tall, the longhouse appears sturdy but worn, with accents of mint green paint on its stair posts and handles that frame an exterior of yellow wooden panels and doors in blue.

Sitting with silent authority inside the ruai — a communal corridor that separates the longhouse entrance and its private living quarters — is Jamit Anak Lasah, the patriarch of the sole settlement in Teraja.

He is short, stocky and still has full head of silver hair. His skin, leathered by the sun, wears all of his 78 years, but his posture holds firm we sit cross legged on the linoleum floor for an interview. “Our people built this house with our bare hands,” says Jamit proudly as he taps the floor. “There were no others that helped us build it.”

Despite researchers being drawn to its biodiversity, and thousands of tourists arriving to trek its many waterfalls and hills, Teraja still evades mainstream consciousness. Aside from trekking guides, online searches yield little about its history.

This is the untold story of Teraja — recounted by the descendants of its original inhabitants.