I was raised by my grandparents in Koto Kaciak village, West Sumatra for 4 years. I always remember my childhood as my happiest time. It had been almost 8 years since the last time I went back there, and things haven’t changed.
Koto Kaciak literally means “small town” in Minangkabau language. The village is located north of Payakumbuh town in Lima Puluah Koto regency, and part of 7 villages range called Tujuh Koto Talago. I left the village in 1996 and have been returning every 2 years for holiday, especially for Eid Mubarak. Since 1996 until now there weren’t many changes; the roads are still on the same size, coconut trees everywhere, schoolchildren in their uniforms walking to the elementary school nearby, the same old people pushing carts full of coconuts, men hanging out in coffee shops. Some of the old people that I knew in my childhood, including my grandparents have passed away, but life here comes in a familiar circle. Different faces, same situations. Perhaps that what makes the village such a peaceful and happy place because of the stability it provides, until you finally yearn for the city’s dynamic hustle and bustle.
walking on the small path, a short cut to the otherside of the villagelotuses that always bloom since my childhoodducks swimming, behind is the mosque where I used to spend my Saturday night atPincuran Tujuh (Seven Springs Mosque) where I used to spend my Saturday nights for religious study, but mostly to play with my friendswalking up
I didn’t meet many of my childhood friends, only 3. Several of my childhood friends stay in the village, working on their families’ lands, but many went to nearby towns and cities for work. My grandparents’ house is occupied by my oldest cousin. Her sons, my nephews, continue the series of mischief I left behind. But on the old days children were riding bicycles much larger than their sizes, now they are riding motorcycles. Definitely not the change that I like. Trashes are starting to pile up on certain corners, another alarming change. Back in the days we still used coconut and banana leaves to wrap packages. There was no problem if you threw them to the ground since they are biodegradable, but now plastic packages are littering areas such as the football field and other empty spaces. Perhaps elementary school teachers nowadays are not as tough as those in my days who would tell the students to do daily cleaning.
ripe cocoa pods ready to be harvesteda “rumah gadang”, Minangkabau traditional house with an equally cool VW Safarirumah gadangsan old house built during Dutch times and still very well preservedvillagers usually safe their money to build good houses, starting with good concrete foundations and roofing. Many of the houses take more than 10 years to build because of the small amount of money they could afford from time to timecoco beans drying under the sun
this old lady is a friend of my family. we met her along the way when she just got back from the spring pushing a cart filled with laundry, old coconuts, and ripe areca nuts
Despite some irritating changes such as underage motorcyclists and trash problem, the village is still green and lush. British people would call it quaint, and I couldn’t agree more. It might be selfish of me to say, but this is one place in the world that I hope will never change.