Poverty (and happiness?) in the villages of Lombok

We hired a driver to country life in Lombok. Actually, I thought it will be a walking tour in rice fields, but it ended up with a lot of thoughts about poverty, happiness and empathy.

We went to village called Telebatu – it’s a small village in the middle of Lombok which was made to be a calm spot for tourists. Actually, tourists do not come here often so villagers have to live their daily life in rice and spices fields.

Local villager was our “guide”. It was quite funny, he took us to his garden and fields and showed us everything: “this is pepper, this is lemongrass, this is tomato, this is clove, this is clover, this is rice, this is coffee, this is lemon…”, “Stop here and I’ll take a picture of you; now stop here and take a picture; take a picture here…”, “This is my 4 month old son, do you want to keep him in your arms? No? Take him.” And I find myself holding his son:)) So our tour guide was really simple guy who knows English words of everything you can find in his garden:) Actually, the tour was nice and we were able to buy some stuff from them, e.g., I hadn’t seen or eaten cacao beans before. Here I’ve got this chance. After this tour we gave him some tips and he added these money in his pocket secretly. It looked like he didn’t want his neighbours to see that we gave him money:) I guess he has some dream and saves money to fulfill it.

Later we visited village of weavers. I thought it will be just another tourist trap with couple of weavers who only weaves when tourists are nearby, but I was wrong. It was quite big village with no land just bare walls and super small houses. So you have no choice but to weave. They have a joint shop and couple of contacts in Bali to export their fabrics. However, it seems that business isn’t successful, because you can smell poverty in their village.

Our driver told us about Indonesia and corruption in their Governance. Even though it’s democratic country, their are not happy about highly corrupted officials. You can be employed to public agency only if your family member works there. Similar to my country, huh? Actually, you could feel that in Indonesia people face the same problems as we do, it’s just we earn more money (and spend them because of bigger prices). The biggest difference is that they can’t travel because of poverty and it’s a dream of most of them. I felt that it’s very difficult to fulfill their dreams for them because of lack of tourism, export, land and education. Most of them go to schools and learn English, but they do not have money to buy computers and they do not have enough knowledge to understand how to make business (it’s sometimes almost impossible to do business if you only have 3×4 meters house and nothing more).

Anyway, I don’t want to upset anyone. These guys have Sun and sea – and this is something what we’re seeking here in rainy Europe. We spend our days in full time jobs to pay for living and dream about hammock by the sea. Poverty (and happiness) is everywhere.

P.S. photos will be published in couple of weeks.

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