Derti Manulang is the local Dukun (shaman) in the town of Lobu Tua, Barus, in Sumatra. She married her husband twenty years ago and at the time they were unable to afford to hold a traditional Batak cultural wedding. They had two children together and then sadly Derti’s husband passed away four years after they married, leaving Derti with a cultural wedding debt she had still been unable to pay for, and which meant that she had still not been recognised as belonging to the Batak tribe.
It had been 16 years since Derti’s husband died but now as her nephew Effendi was getting married and Derti had been able to borrow money from family, it was decided that they would include a special ceremony for Derti to pay off her debt, on the second day of Effendi’s celebrations.
It was a very emotional day for Derti and her family as she was to finally able to have her cultural Batak wedding, although it was celebrated with her two children, rather than with her husband. It was a day of more dancing, laughter, tears, eating and rituals and finally the receiving of Ulos from the community for Derti and their acceptance of her as part of their tribe.
Derti was so proud at the conclusion of the ceremony as it meant that now her 100 year old mother would be able to die in peace when her time comes, knowing that all her children have been custom fulfilled.