Sharing their kampung life with strangers


Guests gathering below a rambutan tree right after being welcomed with traditional music at Kampung Raga in Yan, Kedah. — Photos: ZAINUDIN AHAD/The Star

Welcoming strangers into your home can be daunting but many village families do so with an open heart.

They freely share their kampung customs, culture and food while providing a wholesome family experience for those who sign up for their homestay programme.

Zurina Yaacob, who lives in Kampung Raga in Yan, Kedah, has been letting strangers stay over in her spare room since the 1980s.

She said so far it has given her memorable experiences, besides teaching her the different perspectives and cultural backgrounds of the guests.

“We have been running the homestay for years, and have only pleasant experiences with visitors.

“Luckily for us, all of them have been kind and happily eat the food we prepare without any complaints, ” she said in a recent interview.

She noted that the guests. despite coming from different countries and backgrounds, often said they had a wonderful stay.

“We do not have much to share other than our simple kampung life.

“But they enjoy it and wish to take this experience back with them, ” said the 55-year-old retired clerk.

Zurina said they also have a durian orchard so she made sure her guests savoured the King of Fruits despite its pungent taste and strong smell.

“We welcome them into our home like foster children so to us they are our extended family for the duration of their stay.

“Once we had a Japanese couple and they were simply lovely, despite the language barrier.

“Surprisingly, they enjoyed our local home-cooked meals, ” she said.

Zurina, who runs the homestay with her husband Idris Ahmad, said she takes in a maximum of four guests only as they have only one room to spare.

The homestay programme, which Zurina is part of is among the oldest in Kedah, registered under the Culture, Arts and Tourism Ministry’s Kedah office.

There are 29 kampung houses with 40 rooms available in the Kampung Raga Homestay programme.

For enquiries, call Ahmad Fizal Md Thahir (013-466 8191).

Those interested can also email homestay_raga@yahoo.com or call the ministry’s Kedah office (04-732 8296).


   

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