Day 197 of 366: Blog Challenge 2012


Hello all

Here I am with two children from the village at Lombok. Note the state of the place.

Yesterday we left behind a very grotty Lombok and came back to pure opulence on our ship. It was an incredible contrast. The fact is, I am still coming to terms with what I saw yesterday in Lombok.

All night I was tossing and turning thinking of how dirty everything was and how poor the people seemed to be. We saw only a handful of shops that one could classify as ‘nicely kept’ and these were geared to the tourist and not to the locals. I wanted to bulldoze the lot and start again!

Considering that the Indonesian people can be so impeccably dressed when they wear their traditional costume, the places that they frequent and where they live is quite the opposite. I think I am still in shock about it all folks!

At least we felt we were helping out the economy when we spent our money purchasing items. And they sell themselves so cheaply when you bargain with them. We are such an affluent society and here we are haggling about a necklace for $7 instead of $10. Yes … yes … I know that’s the way that it is done in Indonesian society but in the dead of night, I did not feel good about it.

However, I did pay $35 at the village for an exquisite item (without haggling) as I felt so bad after watching them work.

The village we visited did not have running water; they draw water from an awful looking well. One house (read here ‘shanty’) had no doors, just a heavy curtain on one door to the outside and a makeshift door that didn’t close properly on the other. There was one decent house in that village and a nice temple (of course this is how it was everywhere).

Grandma wondered what was going on when I asked to have this photo taken.

The children were roaming around in the dirt playing while their mothers were weaving and their fathers? What were they doing? Sitting around smoking of course! But then there is Grandma who has been given a reprieve from weaving now that she is old and bent over. She is the one who seems to keep an eye on the kids.

And in amongst everything are geese and different sizes of chickens which are bred for the restaurant business. And of course there are roosters attending to every need of those lady hens.

One person in the village is a true entrepreneur … managing all sorts of interests.

The children attend school six mornings a week. They go immaculately dressed and sit in buildings that look pristine and beautifully kept, unlike everything else around them. In the afternoons, the young girls come home and weave for the afternoon. I am sure the boys probably sit around watching them!

The girl we saw was sitting on the floor (as they do) weaving an intricate pattern whilst watching TV through the window. What a shock we got when we realised this! So, in spite of primitive living conditions in Lombok, everyone has TV and internet access. It is a dichotomy of the highest order folks.

But, I really do believe that as they know no better, they appear to be happy. I did think that the women looked a bit stressed however, sitting all day from 9am – 5pm on floor boards in front of their houses, weaving. The one who showed me how to weave said her back was aching. We were informed she would get a break for an hour at 1pm for lunch. How nice …

Oh, but I must not be facetious must I? It is just that I am a tad over women getting treated badly in societies that do not value women. Now I have never really been a feminist but when I see women working in this way while the men sit around smoking, I do get cranky.

Enough of this depressing talk … but you do get my point folks? Spare a thought for these people now and then. In the meantime, let me be a total hypocrite and get back to my opulent lifestyle here ‘At Sea’ on the beautiful Dawn Princess …