Somewhere in Indonesia | A Sumba Special

Somewhere in Indonesia | A Sumba Special

Somewhere in Indonesia, is a place called Sumba. 
An island.
Called the forgotten island by some.

Traditional Sumbanese huts

​An island unspoiled- slowly being recognized by the outside world.
Unique in its traditional homes and ikat weaves and known among the surfing community for its waves. 

Dry season in Sumba.

An island where foreigners are foreign and locals stay local.

Somewhere in Indonesia is an island called Sumba.
And somewhere on that island are friends heading out to collect spoils that the low tide has brought forth.

A man on a lagoon. Hoping and waiting that a tourist would need a raft. 

Weekuri Lagoon, Sumba
A newly built, long, white "road."
Along which one can find desolate, beautiful, white sand beaches, 
And safari-like sunsets.
Somewhere in Sumba are children, clad in their Sunday's best- singing at church.
And their parents proudly watching- at them and us.
Somewhere in Sumba is an animal walking to its death.
A sacrifice made by tribes...
Animal sacrifice, a Sumbanese tradition
Traditional Sumbanese items sold in the villages. Lots of fertility necklaces.
​...​tribes who have held on to their rituals, traditional homes, and that are now making way to the curious tourist.
There are clans, there are leaders, and there are rules.
Do not show up to their village without a gift.

Betel nut being sold at the market.
Visitor record keeping book, next to betel nut gift.

Somewhere in Sumba is someone selling betel nut.
Someone chewing betel nut,
Someone spitting betel nut,
Someone accepting betel nut as a gift to enter her village or home.
But when you enter, do not walk on the tombstones.

​Somewhere in Sumba are tombstones that rest in villages
And inside lies their deceased.
Somewhere in Sumba are girls making their way to school.
They know that the distance would be worth it-
A better life.

Rebuilding a house
Somewhere in Indonesia is an island called Sumba.
A special place that feels like a world away, 
A great escape...

When traveling to Sumba:

 1. Mentally prepare to be in a place that doesn't have many basic amenities- restrooms or toilets that easily flush, ATMs and WiFi- think #bushlife
2. Pack lots of hand sanitizer, wet wipes, tissue, bug repellent, and a torchlight.
3. Be wary of bugs like centipedes and scorpions. 
4. This island has just started receiving tourists, and many hosts are trying to develop the island in a more environmentally friendly way. So please carry your reusable water bottles.
Sumba Surf Camp

​5. Accommodation options on the island are limited. There are one or two very nice resorts on the island, but they are costly. In general, bungalows and "resorts" are basic. Sumba Surf Camp is a great option, even if you aren't a surfer. The bungalows are new and very tastefully decorated (think glamping). The owner is French and prepares amazing meals (with vegetarian options) every day. 
6. Hire a driver and guide for at least the first two days, then you can skip the guide and let the driver take you around the island. 
7. Ask your guide for clear instructions on how to enter the villages and how to show respect. Do not walk or stand on the tombstones in the villages. Be careful as locals living in tribal villages may be territorial and aggressive, but many are also very friendly and hospitable. 
8. Go with a guide or at least a driver when visiting the villages and remember to always prepare betel nut as a gift to offer upon arrival, but do not feel obligated to buy craft made in the villages.
​9. Sumbanese are still adjusting to the presence of tourists on the island and may sometimes try to intimidate guests. You will most likely be asked to pay a fee before entering most places- even a wild lookout or walk down to a beach will cost you. Try not to let it ruin your trip. 
10. Ikat. You may see many villages selling ikat, and the East of Sumba is known for its Ikat weaving. Ask your tour guide or host beforehand what is an acceptable price to pay for the blankets so that you don't get ripped off on the spot. Please note that the tour guides are also sometimes intimidated by the villagers, be aware of how your behavior affects their relationship with them as well. 
11. Pack lots of dried foods that you can eat on the road. Like nuts, granola bars, chocolate. There aren't any fast-food chains, and there's a lack of restaurants in general. There are a few local food stops, but you may notice that it is not that sanitary. The best place to eat is at your accommodation's restaurant. 

Weaving at Ratenggaro Village
12. Visit as many beaches as you can. Most are empty, so feel free to do a little skinny dipping!
13. Try to contribute to the island and community in whatever way you can. It could be as simple as picking up trash that you may see along the beach, or buying food or toiletries at the local market, and distributing to any of the many villages in need. 
Lunch (rice) being prepared for the villagers

​ 14. Take it all in, the people, the landscape, the natural beauty, the sunsets, the emptiness. This island is a gem and won't be "the forgotten island' for long. 
Until My Next Adventure, 

XX Shanya
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