‘Selamat Datang’ – welcome to the island of Lakkang, near Makassar.
– a special treat for the writers attending the literature festival.
The travel by coach allowed us to see some more of Makassar city. Then a special ‘platform’ boat carried the writers over the waters onto the island – to the local Indonesian writers this may be a familiar site, but not for me. I was enchanted with everything from the moment we stepped on the boat.
The life- simple and serene – with 300 families from the same clan settled in stage/ platform houses and paddy fields of rice and other crops growing around the village area. You could walk the whole village within an hour.
We caught people in their everyday life doing their chores; unfazed by Urban and foreign visitors. Children taking boat rides to go to High school off the island. Adults were washing clothes in the communal washing area; mothers or grandmothers swinging the baby to sleep in a cloth hammock, women boiling corn cobs to sell; men building a platform house.
There are smiles and warm greetings everywhere. We, the writers, are all very respectful and appreciative of the way of life on this idyllic island – impressed by the local islanders’ skills in self-sufficiency to support their families through fishing, agriculture and connection to the urban world of Makassar through the use of boats and motorcycles. There is no access to the internet on the island, but we see TVs.
Some of us from other parts of the world are bowled over by the lush green, tropical jungle growth, with tall trees and bamboo shoots reaching to the skies. Villagers enjoy the tropical fruit from the mango, papaya, bananas, guava trees, in their gardens. We visit a school and small children in light brown uniform rush to greet us. Our wonderful camera man is busying clicking away all the moments.
We are honoured with warm hospitality of a marvellous dinner feast of fish, prawns, rice and other dishes in one household, served and cooked by the women from three houses. It is Friday – almost all the village men go for the afternoon prayers in the 2 mosques. I peep into the prayer large hall and see it half full. We, the writers appreciate the visit and as a gesture of thanks we take the literature festival to them. In a large communal meeting area/compound, the ‘pohon’ the villagers are invited to listen to oral poetry.
There are lively performances by the Indonesian and foreign poets. My regret- I don’t write poetry – so I could not share my writing with them!
There are moments in life that you want to pocket away and treasure– the visit to Lakkang was one such moment for me!
SEE BELOW FOR THE FULL GALLERY OF PHOTO’S: