TheJakartaPost

Please Update your browser

Your browser is out of date, and may not be compatible with our website. A list of the most popular web browsers can be found below.
Just click on the icons to get to the download page.

Jakarta Post

'It gets really cold at night': 50-year-old homeless man lives in cave for past decade

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, February 4, 2020   /   04:56 pm
'It gets really cold at night': 50-year-old homeless man lives in cave for past decade The Jombang cave. (JP/R. Berto Wedhatama)

Many of the oft-overlooked homeless population across the country struggle to secure decent accommodation and are forced to brave the streets, but few are willing to take things to the extreme that La Udu has done.

A 50-year-old resident of Baubau city on Buton Island, Southeast Sulawesi, La Udu has lived as a recluse in a cave located somewhere in Kokalukuna district for the past 10 years.

“I have lived here for over 10 years because I don’t have a house,” La Udu said when the press visited his home in the cave on Monday as quoted by kompas.com.

La Udu went on to say that he had chosen to live in the cave because he did not want to become a burden to his relatives.

La Udu’s cave is located under a rocky cliff near a local beach, making it difficult to be found by the general public. He said he slept between a narrow cave opening on a makeshift bed made out of boat debris every night.

La Udu, 50-year-old resident of Baubau city in Southeast Sulawesi, sleeps in his cave. He has been living in the cave for a decade.La Udu, 50-year-old resident of Baubau city in Southeast Sulawesi, sleeps in his cave. He has been living in the cave for a decade. (kompas.com/Defriatno Neke)

“It gets really cold at night. I’m afraid of [being alone], but what choice do I have?" La Udu said. "When the tide rises, I retreat further inside the cave.”

He went on to say that he had once lived in his parents’ house, but ever since his parents passed away and his closest relatives got married, he has lived in the cave.

Read also: Poverty rate falls but disparity remains high

Being self-sufficient is a daily struggle, La Udu said.

“I eat sweet potatoes and kasoami [traditional dish from Buton], and occasionally fish. I sometimes sell some of the fish I catch, but not that many,” he said.

He said he was willing to move out of the cave should anyone offer him decent accommodation.

Kokalukuna Police village-level and public order advisor (Bhabinkamtibmas) Brig. Rabodding, who also visited the cave on Monday, said he had first learned about La Uda’s living conditions from locals.

“We will coordinate immediately with the local administration, as well as public figures to give La Udu [a decent home],” Rabodding said. (rfa)