West Timor, Fatumnasi Village
Fatumnasi is a small village in the mountains (about 1600 m) of West Timor, close to Gunung Mutis (mountain Mutis).
Qualitative research was undertaken among Dawan people living in Fatumnasi, West Timor, to investigate the reasons for the Dawan’s retention of traditional houses, ume kbubu, in the face of a national development campaign to introduce modern, “healthy” homes (rumah sehat). Indoor smoke pollution from internal fires and poor ventilation is believed to contribute to poor respiratory health among this population. The study explored Dawan cultural constructions of health to find that ume kbubu are fundamental to the Dawan’s sense of psychosocial well-being and ethnic identity. While rumah sehat are associated with prosperity, public image and social status they do not provide the warmth, security and emotional nurturance that the Dawan perceive as necessary for optimum health and to protect them from disease.