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Monday, 30 December 2013

The Bajau of Wakatobi, Indonesia - Page 2

Written by Caitlin Kelly
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Two tin-can buses and a seven hour boat journey later, Hoga Island was my new home. It was a glistening green diamond in the center of an ocean; the cool breeze seemed to be a gift from God, away from the 40 degree celsius heat. The palm trees towered so tall, I felt a ping in my neck as I gazed up. How I had escaped the baking heat of the jungle, and ended up in paradise, was beyond me. 


I spent a week learning about fish species, part of the biodiversity course I had signed up for. Although I wasn’t too keen about sitting on a plank of wood for three hours a day, the content was quite captivating, so I endured the pain in my behind, learning about brightly colored fish and various types of coral. 

Finally, my last seven days arrived… it was culture week! That Monday, I leaped out of my tiny wooden bed, yanked open its mosquito nets, and skipped to breakfast. It was rice…again. I guess there’s no point in breaking a four week pattern right? 


The first day was spent in a stilt village, which we traveled to via canoe. Here we met a tribe of sea gypsies; the Bajau people. Traditionally nomadic, this group had settled, living off the fish of the Wakatobi national park and vegetables from nearby Kaladupa. As soon as we ventured onto the wooden platforms, we were engulfed by the children. For a moment, I suspected my hearing would be forever damaged from then onwards. These children were small, but their voices were like airplanes ripping through the atmosphere. They had on red cartoon tops, and yellow sports trousers, many of which looked similar to those that my mum had donated to the charity shops when I was little. 


We spent the next couple of days playing endlessly with the little critters, who had energy in abundance. We visited Kaladupa, a larger island, known for its potato farming and… yes, they had tarmac roads! Were our bodies relieved. Despite this, the island was still beaming with culture. The houses were modest, but brightly colored; blue, pink and green. Flowers and overgrown plants framed the homes. 

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Last modified on Thursday, 02 January 2014

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