Introduction / History The Kaimbulawa people live in four villages in Siompu District, South Buton Regency, in the province of Southeast Sulawesi. These four villages are Kaimbulawa, Waidawula, Lontoy, and Karae. The Kaimbulawa consider themselves descendants of a commander of the Buton kingdom named La Saompula. After waging war with the Banggai kingdom, he returned and placed the head of the defeated Banggai king on the reef on the beach of Kaimbulawa village and lived there.
The Kaimbulawa language is part of the Munic group, which also includes the Kioko, Liabuku, Muna and Pancana languages.
What are their lives like? The baruga is a tribal gathering place used for various purposes. If one of the people commits a crime but does not confess to it after a council at the baruga, they will die after three days. If they confess, they will be fined. The fine might consist of giving food to others in their village or walking through the village shouting the nature of their crime, as an announcement to embarrass themselves as a deterrent, so they will not commit that offense again.
Annual meetings are also held at the baruga to provide village boundary markers aimed at preventing troops from entering this area and preventing violations of the established limits. The cultural chief is called the parabela who is assisted by four Wacik, with a Penembuho who assists each Wacik. The cultural chief and religious leader work together in deliberations. Every cultural event is attended by the religious leader and every religious meeting involves the cultural chief.
Most residents are farmers and although their area is close to the sea, only a small percentage of them are fishermen. A unique crop of the area is the Siompu orange, which is very expensive. The tree bears fruit only once a year. They are sold for Rp 50,000 (about US$3.70) per orange and they are delicious. However it is very difficult to get the trees to bear fruit and they often die. Nowhere else in Indonesia a can grow Siompu oranges with fruit as flavorful as those grown in Kaimbulawa.
What are their beliefs? All Kaimbulawa people are Muslim although it appears Islam entered this area less than two generations ago. During Ramadan (the fasting month), the mosques appear to be mostly empty at prayer times; very few are attending. Apparently Islam is not yet deeply rooted in the community.