Janainah, an indigenous midwife. Even today, The Talang Mamak tribe (that lived inside and around Bukit Tigapuluh National Park) still believed in a shaman to help their labor. They called her ‘bidan kampong’, a traditional midwife who helps women during their labor.


“ I already helped the maternity for thirty years, hundreds of babies. None of them died during the labor,” said the old woman. Do not need to ask about her age, Talang Mamak tribe don’t have a record about it, a birth certificate is not necessary at that time.


Indonesian public health care, Puskesmas, is just 40 kilometers away from her village on the upstream of Gangsal riverbank, for them, the indigenous midwives are just a bunch of witchcraft with unhygienic practice. Medical students will inform you how horrible the conception and method of the traditional labor that passed to Inah by her ancestor. Actually, the proficiency of ‘traditional’ labor just like modern labor, it also has the capability to recognize the sex of the baby in the womb. Not like the doctor, the indigenous midwives didn’t need the fetal ultrasound to know about it. They have the power to know it in their own way. Some of you might be called black magic.

For a birth, Inah will be paid by rice, food supply, and sometimes money that she didn’t count. Talang Mamak tribe’s health practitioner just mind helping people, nothing back. They didn’t attach by price, despite what they learn for thousands of years just as complex as a medical study in university.

“Bidan kampong” or “indigenous midwife” is not a job, is a responsibility that you take until you died. Inah doesn’t make a living from maternity wages. She collected fruits from the woods, cultivate herbal remedies and other plants, rafting across the river, go swimming in the river, and laugh out loud. Talang Mamak Tribe laughs when they want to laugh, do not need a reason, do not bother to ask.

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