Puncak Borneo widow still in mourning, sees little meaning in Gawai celebration


Peni (centre) with Hope Place representatives after receiving the food aid.

KUCHING (May 26): Gawai celebration this year has little meaning for Peni Junau, 61, as she is still struggling to cope with the loss of her husband.

The celebration will never be the same again for the woman, who lives alone at her house in Kampung Giam, Puncak Borneo following the sudden death of her husband in October last year.

The devastation has driven her not to spend the festival with family members by her side this year.

She insists on spending Gawai alone, despite being urged by her daughters to go back to her village in Serian during the festival.

Non-governmental organisation Hope Place in a statement said Peni has four adult daughters, none of whom are living in Kuching.

For Peni to live alone is not easy as she has diabetes, high blood pressure and also kidney failure.

“According to her daughter, Peni always looks forward to seeing her grandchildren. But she has decided to spend next week Gawai alone as she is still in mourning.

“Her daughters have tried to urge her to go back to her childhood village in Serian, but she refused, saying she’s still in the ’pantang’ period,” the statement said.

Peni’s husband collapsed and died while tending to their vegetable garden. The couple used to tap rubber but now alone, Peni tends to the garden on her own.

Hope Place is assisting Peni with regular basic food aid after receiving a call from one of her daughters.

“Though living quite far from the city, Peni is grateful for her kind neighbours. They would assist whenever possible, like bringing her to the clinic for check-ups.

“Peni also has just applied for assistance from the Welfare Department,” it added.

Those interested to donate can contact Hope Place on 082-505987 for more information.

All donations are welcome and receipts will be given upon request. Donations can be done directly to its bank account (MBB: 511289001160). Alternatively, visit its Facebook page to get its Sarawak Pay/S Pay Global QR code.