Life

A Visit to a Remote Indonesian Village Without Electricity

I have been drifting in the sea of ​​Indonesia for a long time and have not been to the shore. I do not dive, and I am afraid of getting dark spots. I only occasionally swim in the sea when it is close to dusk. Every day, I count the stars, look at the moon, and capture the beautiful shadows of the sunset. After dinner, I go to the long table on the deck to draw portraits and write articles.
  The weather in Indonesia is hot and dry, and I spent most of the afternoon in the cabin. One afternoon, seeing my daughter and the staff rushing out with large and small bags of snacks, I followed out curiously. It turned out that the yacht was very close to the shore, and there were many children wearing bright sweaters and shorts standing on the boulders in front of us, looking at us intently. The daughters and granddaughters took a small boat to deliver several large bags of snacks. Seeing that the people on board were friendly, the children all took off their undershirts and sang in the air. After a while, boom! Boom! Boom! The children on the boulder jumped into the water one by one like dumplings. There were small black heads in the sea in front of me. I immediately took a picture of this shocking picture with my mobile phone.
  Their little heads came out of the water and climbed up the ladders of the yacht. They all giggled excitedly and looked at me anxiously with their big eyes. Due to the language barrier, I went back to the cabin to find some food for them to show my kindness.
  At night, I asked the tour guide about the nearby villages, and he said, “Look at the lonely lamp on the opposite coast. It has been 5 years, and even if someone wants to help, they have to get approval from many departments, so they have to give up.” The staple food of the villagers is corn. They fish, weave cloth, and grow crops to make a living. They also take these things to the town to sell , Most of the money I got bought rice and flour. As for the income, if you are lucky, you can get 35 US dollars a week (1 US dollar is about 7 yuan), usually 18 to 25 US dollars, and sometimes you have no income for a whole month. I asked in surprise: “Then how do you live?” The tour guide said casually: “They don’t have any expenses, and it’s okay to have a full stomach. It’s summer all year round, and one person only needs three pieces of clothes.” Confidently asked: “If there is no electricity, there should be no toilets, mobile phones, computers, and TVs. What do they do at night?” The tour guide smiled: “Let’s chat.” of weaving.
  I decided to go ashore the next day to have a look, and the next day I would sail to other places. If I didn’t go, I would have no chance. I exchanged all the Indonesian banknotes in the captain’s hand.
  When the boat docked, one or two children enthusiastically came to help pull the boat. I took some Indonesian banknotes out of my pocket and gave them to them. I was deliberately looking for opportunities for them to earn income. They were stunned for a moment. Obviously, they had never encountered such a situation before, and the tour guide whispered to them not to speak out. This is not a tourist area, they rarely see people from other places, and they will not try their best to beg like children in some tourist cities.
  The girls went ashore with me, and they suggested that I do my part in getting electricity. The village head led us to a house, which was filled with khaki-colored things that looked like gasoline barrels. This is for power supply, and he said it was broken, and it would cost a lot of money to repair it, and it had to go through a lot of procedures to make it. I thought to myself, we are leaving tomorrow, and this is not something that can be done immediately. The village head could see what I was thinking, and said he was already very happy to have someone care about me.
  The streets of the small village are clean, and there is not much garbage. Even if there is no flush toilet, there is no peculiar smell in the hot weather. An old man was doing carpentry in front of the door, and a woman next to him was concentrating on mashing corn. I stopped to gossip with them, and the old man said kindly that his carpentry was just for fun, and that the corn mashed by the woman was their main food. As I was walking, I saw a moving picture in front of me. A beautiful woman was sitting on a low wall and breastfeeding, with a five or six-year-old little girl next door snuggling beside her. The woman was only 19 years old and had bare feet. I gave her the white sandals from my big flower bag, because I noticed that except for the village head, almost no one here wore shoes.
  I was very interested in where the villagers lived and asked to visit their houses. The people here live in one-story houses. When the curtains at the door of the family were opened, a woman was weaving with her back facing us. I wondered how she could work in a corner with no light. Several of us helped her weave Pull the machine to a sunny place. There are two small rooms next to it, one with a bed and messy bedding, which is the bedroom of the husband and wife, and the other room with corn stalks, without a bed, where her son sleeps on the floor. This house, except for the loom, can be said to be barren.
  Then we visited a larger house. There was a small old wardrobe in the room. There were chairs, a thermos bottle, and an earthen stove in the room. There is a small attic full of corn stalks, which is said to be used for cooking fires. This one is considered wealthy by comparison.
  I have made a new discovery, which I have never heard or seen before. Some people have one or two rectangular tombs made of marble in front of the gate. The design is simple and plain, some are off-white, some are black, and they look very tasteful. Children sit on the smooth coffins. play. It is a custom among villagers who believe that the deceased will protect the family. The tour guide said that it doesn’t matter if they live well or not, but the tomb must be good.
  The only school in the village has 3 classrooms, 1 class per grade, and only 3 grades. I was followed by a lot of children who watched the excitement, and I invited them all to the classroom and asked them to sing the song they sang yesterday on the boulder again. It was a local love song, and they sang it with great enthusiasm. The children were all innocent and lovely. I gave each of them the banknotes I exchanged the night before, and gave them an unexpected afternoon. When taking a group photo, they all waved the banknotes in their hands at the camera, with joyful smiles on their faces. When I was a child in the countryside, I used to fantasize about how wonderful it would be if a celebrity came to the village to give gifts. The children on the island made this dream come true for me.
  When I was about to board the boat, I saw some women gathered under the shade of a tree. There was a row of tables at the front, and behind the tables sat a few well-dressed men, as if they were holding a conference. After inquiring, it turned out that a foreign public welfare organization was teaching women how to weave sarongs (cloth wrapped around the body in tropical areas, hand-woven), and taught them how to manage and run small businesses. I asked if they had any for sale? The village chief was very clever. He collected the sarongs woven by the women and carried several large cloth bags on the boat for us to pick. I asked all the staff on the boat to come out and pick them out as gifts for them. My daughters and I were also caught in the middle and happily snapped up shopping to relieve the craving for shopping for a long time. The women waved and laughed excitedly on the shore. After paying the bill, I asked the village head to donate the remaining Indonesian banknotes on my behalf. This afternoon, I saw the joy from the heart of many people, and the happiest was myself.
  People in this village live and work in such peace and contentment, I guess the village chief must have contributed a lot. Although he grew up in a remote countryside, he is neither humble nor overbearing, humble and polite. He told me that he didn’t have the financial ability to go to school after graduating from high school, and the village head had to retire after more than ten years, and he had to retire after 15 years.
  Back in Hong Kong, my mind is still full of island scenery. In a prosperous and advanced metropolis, at the magical moment when the sun and the moon meet, what you see is not colorful rays of light, but lights that gradually light up in every window.
  The urban buildings in front of me are towering into the sky, and on each floor, there are many people working hard in front of the computer one after another. So many people and things, everyone, everything needs electricity. I thought to myself, if this is only powered by one lamp, I’m afraid I won’t be able to survive for a moment.
  Thinking back to the village I visited, feet on the ground, head in the sky, 3 pieces of clothing, self-sufficient, no electricity, days passed. Maybe they can never imagine how urbanites live, and urbanites can’t imagine living like them.
  On the same earth, people seem to live in two different worlds. I will remember that I met people from another world under the guidance of that solitary lamp.

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