Km 14448 – Wanaka, New Zealand
This is it! Since Turkey we have been travelling through Asia (from a geographical perspective) and the two Indonesian islands Bali and Lombok are the last Asian ground we travel in (for now, at least). After almost two years in Asia we are about to travel to the third continent of our journey.
We travel really slowly around these islands. Often we go snorcheling and we even go diving two times. We really try to enjoy Asia one last time before we will be travelling in expensive Oceania soon. While snorcheling it is like from the bird’s perspective – everything can be observed from above and with some distance. While diving we suddenly are very close to the underwater creatures, fish and corals. Tiniest details are visible. Totally fascinating! There is such a diversity that it is almost impossible to name everything we see, even just right after the dive. Only three percent of the underwater world are explored. This short video shows (especially in the last scene) how unbelievable this world is.
After snorchelling and diving in Bali we escape from the global tourist epicentre towards Lombok – one island tfurther owards the East. Already on the ferry we feel the relief and we find what we had searched for: quiet rural roads, beautiful nature, friendly and curious people.
On the small island Gede in the South West of Lombok we discover a remote beach and an abandoned roof made out of dry palm leaves. A coconut grove behind us, the turquoise sea in front of us. Think of Robinson Cursoe. I can follow his example and improve the little shelter we had found. Later I climb a palm tree and come back with a coconut and several scratches. We snorchel again, cook semolina and enjoy our adventurous life. A campfire at night and above us the immense „tent of 50.000 stars“.
Back to Bali. Piter James is our host in Denpasar and the same age as us. Here his moving life story: It all begins as his mother from the far away Peru travels to East Timor (back then still part of Indonesia) to work in an aid programme as a nurse. Here she gets to know her future husband and James’ father. On the same day of James’ birth, his father dies of a heart attack. Seven months later his mother dies because of a serious disease that she caught. Piter James read all this in his mother’s diary. Little James ended up in an orphanage. The orphanage head, a Dutch guy, gave Piter James his name and his official religion „Christian“. On night a young boy ran into the bedroom and reported from the anal rape of the „Christian“ Dutch guy. In the same night Piter James and 6 further boys escaped from the orphanage. They ran to the harbour, hid on a boat and arrived days later in Jakarta, the country’s capital. From an orphan child to a street child.
The street forced him to be independent. He started to bake bread and to sell it as a street seller. You might assume that the story doesn’t end here when you know the title of his one man bakery „Bread Pit“. Piter James is a creative and smart person. With the other street kids, they asked in a school to be allowed in the class. Every morning before the school started he was baking the bread that was to be sold after school. Teachers and fellow students supported him. He fought for more and received a scholarship to study Anthropology. Through a friend he received a job in an enterprise for modern communication means (smartphones). Today he has his own enterprise and produces solar batteries (this is his homepage). From a street child to an entrepreneur.
Everyone can try to be touched by this story, to feel for Piter James and to then develop a feeling for other people’s life reality, what they have to go through. To then try and look at your own life and to realize how much luck you have and to not take privileges for granted. Thankfulness and humility and are two words, for example, that are rarely heard these days.
The taxi driver who takes us to the airport with our boxed bikes, seems to be touched by our story and hugs me as we say goodbye. Oh Asia, we will miss these human surprises.