Dry and Sprawling: Lombok

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Came back a few days ago from Lombok, an island off of Bali. In all the time that I've been in Bali (almost 6 months in total now) - I have not bothered to explore Indonesia at all. It's terrible and embarrassing! When I was in Mexico, I always wanted to see more and would be just kind of amazed when I would talk to people who would just go to the same place in Mexico over and over.

Bali, at least for me, right now, is this vortex where I don't really feel the need to leave. The island itself has a lot to explore that I have yet to see and even that feels like a whole big thing in itself.

Anyways. My neighbor has a non profit organization, Hairdressers Without Borders, where she goes to developing countries and teaches people there how to cut hair. She was going to Lombok and seeing an opportunity to finally see another part of Indonesia (although haha it's only half an hour away by plane - baby steps yah?) I asked if I could tag along (by helping her haha...take pictures) and she said yes.

I don't really have many pictures (that aren't of washing, combing and cutting hair) to show because we were working for most of the day and would just go out to dinner at the end of the night and pass out shortly thereafter.

But here are some snaps:

This is a tiny thing and might be completely wrong, but you can automatically see the difference in wealth between Lombok and Bali by this corn. In Bali, everywhere there is the option to have sate, grilled meat on a stick - but in Lombok, most of the time you just see this corn. Maybe it's not so much a matter of wealth but that they really like corn haha. Which isn't such a bad thing cause it's delicious. Especially with a coconut. And a nice sunset:

Lombok is known for being a less developed island and to have really beautiful scenery. I didn't get to see much of it, but I can tell you that what I did see, it was really dry at some part, and then lush and sprawling at others.

The actual volunteering. First off, you need to know that Lombok has a really strong Muslim religion. You hear several mosques all throughout the day, religion, religion, religion. Rather than seem like a spiritual thing - it seems more like a limiting thing that contains the people and island's potential. It made me finally see or at least feel the difference between religion and spirituality. I haven't really seen or experienced a lot of Bali's religious ceremonies so this is still probably somewhat ignorant, but from what I have glimpsed, there is something lighter to Bali and I feel like that it's cultivating a spirit, beliefs and a holistic approach rather than a set sort of rules that are just like, wait, where did these come from and why are we following them.

Hearing the mosque all the time and with the dry climate and undeveloped lands, Lombok just felt really heavy. The women get the shit end of the stick in everything.The typical wage is incredibly low and the job options are limited and are again, not increasing the potential of the people and the island.

So for these women to even want to show up (consistently, prepared, and on time) and to learn a new skill that could (and hopefully provide them with a new source of income or at the very least, instil more confidence and independence in them) - is big. Watching the students, the transformation was so fast, at the beginning of the week, they would be shy, really quiet, and kind of scared (some would shake while holding the scissors and tentatively touch people's heads)- but as the week progressed, they would open and you could see the confidence beginning to form and ideas and dreams materializing.

 Us being there for a week is a small thing and who knows might not lead anywhere.

Or maybe everywhere.

I hope.