‘My aunt still sends money back to Indonesia.’
“I was born in Tana Toraja, in Indonesia. I lived there until I was in my second class of elementary school. Then I followed my aunt to Sabah. My mother had passed away when I was 4 months old. I don’t remember her. I don’t have a picture of her. My sister used to have a picture but it was torn. She had a heart problem.
My aunt took care of me when I was a baby. She was my father’s cousin. Two of my brothers and one of my sisters live here in Sabah, and the other three sisters are in Indonesia with my father. He has never married again.
I can remember just a little bit of the journey to Sabah. We came on a ship. It took two or three nights, from Makassar to Nunukan.
My aunt was married, but her husband was lazy to go to work. My aunt was the only one working. My uncle liked to gamble too. Now they are divorced. My aunt still sends money back to Indonesia. She sends money to her other adopted children, and to her father. I don’t know if she wants to go back.”
Lisu, 16, Torajan