I’d like to share a little story with you, it might take a wee while so this is part 1 of an unknown amount. If we are friends on facebook you'll have seen some posts about this island already - now here's the why behind them...
The "photo film" (my first attempt at it I want to add!!) you see above is of Pulau Medang, a beautiful small island located at : 8.1398° S, 117.3910° E. It is a small island in the East Indonesian archipelago, tucked into the Sumbawa subdistrict. To get there you need to first fly to Sumbawa and take a 3 hour trip by motor boat journey across the waters.
Why do I know about this place when many Indonesians have never heard of it?? A man called Amir, a pretty cool guy who lives on Medang. As with the best of meetings it was through a friend of a friend of a friend that we got to chatting. The video at the bottom of this blog is Amir's work.
One day about 2 years ago, after an evening of red wine drinking at a friend's place, a few of us wandered down to the Singapore Boat Show to meet a friend of the friend. There in the marina was the most magnificent boat - Vega. She stood out amongst all the other boats at the show - not hard to do really as she is 127 years old, wooden with stunning rigging and sails. Even if you don't like boats, it is hard not to fall in love with the Vega. She was made to stand the test of time and she has survived many a tumultuous sea delivering items to far out Indonesian islands one of which being Medang. As I stepped aboard I was ‘rudely’ introduced to Shane, and I mean rudely as he has a wicked sense of humour and also to his wife, Meggi who is quite opposite to Shane! Oh and not to forget Scourge the cat who decides whether or not she wants to talk to you - typical cat…
It was a fun afternoon hearing about their adventures and what they do and little did I know then that I would end up living on a remote island in Indonesia, working for Bawah Reserve and being part of the Bawah Anambas Foundation and Shane and Meggi would come into my life again.
On a 2 night stay in Batam, I found out that the Vega were moored in the marina next to where I was staying - coincidence or what and once more I boarded the old beauty for a coffee, beer and chat. This random, and meant to be so maybe not so random…. meeting lead to me being introduced to Amir, to whom I have been speaking since and exchanging ideas and knowledge of each others lives and passions. My aim has been to find out what Medang needs and how I can be of help.
Being on Bawah now for 6 months and having had the opportunity to visit the islands we work with has been a huge eye opener for me. No 'supermarket', limited electricity, unpredictable wifi…. Some islands can grow produce, others can’t - their shower might be a well that catches rain water and you scoop it up and splash it over. It is so far away from what I knew existed and to be honest, I love going to these places, they really ground me.
A little more about Medang (translated from Bahasa Indonesia)
Pulau Medang is from what I can see in the photos, a beautiful small Indonesian island in the Indonesian archipelago, tucked into the Sumbawa subdistrict and home to 3000 inhabitants. To get there you first need to fly to Sumbawa on the eastern tip of West Nusa Tengarra and then take a 3 hour trip by motor boat from Goa Beach to Pulau Medang. The people live in 2 villages Bugis and Bajo. There are 3 ethnic groups and customs - Bugis, Bajo and Mandar - living in harmony with each other. The majority of the inhabitants make their livelihood as fishermen, farmers and labourers as well as cow, water buffalo and goat breeders. It is a simply beautiful island full of potential for tourism; sandy beaches, hilly ridges, mangroves and great local food.
There is however a down side to Medang and as with many of these out-lying small islands, plastic pollution is rife.
The villagers didn’t know that throwing plastic into the sea was not a good thing to do for the health of the island.
Most of us now know different, but on these far away islands the news hasn’t reached them yet and we are playing catch up and I really believe that it's not too late to catch up,
Watch this space....
In Bahasa Indonesia
Pulau medang adalah salah satu pulau kecil yang terletak di utara pulau Sumbawa secara administrative masuk dalam pemerintahan Kabupaten Sumbawa kecamatan labuhan badas. Pulau medang dihuni oleh kurang lebih 3.000 jiwa penduduk dan terdiri dari 2 Desa yaitu Desa Bugis Medang dan Desa Bajo medang terdapat 3 suku, adat dan bahasa yaitu suku Bugis, Bajo dan Mandar. Mayoritas penduduk dipulau ini bermata pencaharian sebagai nelayan sebagaian sebagai petani dan pekebun serta peternak sapi, kerbau dan kambing. Potensi wisata yang dimiliki yaitu Pantai Pasir Putih, Danau, tebing alam, hutan mangrove, dan beberapa wisata adat dan kuliner.