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It is a tiny Indonesian village, between sea and mangrove, in the bay of Weda. My visit is the evening attraction for the hilarious kids.
March 2013. Weda ResortHalmahera, North Moluccas, Indonesia. There are a handful of bungalows, for diving or birdwatching tourists, far from everything, between the sea and the jungle.
The perfect place to disconnect.
I've given up on the dawn jungle excursions for bird watching - not really my thing, I prefer water and fish.
But I improvise a small walk, at the end of the day, in the nearby village. Its name: Sawai Itepo.
The path leads to a black sand beach. At the end, the village.
It takes only a few minutes to cross this stretch of mangrove, used every day by the inhabitants of Sawai Itepo. Some of them work at the resort.
The cove is really beautiful.
Of course, there is the inevitable pile of garbage and plastic waste where pigs and dogs feed, at the edge of the beach, and also some shacks not very shiny, built on a marshy ground... But the soft golden light of the end of the day gives a peaceful atmosphere, really serene, to the place.
There are traditional boats and fishing nets on the beach, small fields and wooden shacks behind the coconut trees.
A bunch of children saw me coming from far away. They run and shout, without daring to approach me at first.
The adults greet me politely and laugh a lot when they hear me ask permission to take pictures: "Boleh photo?"
The Weda Resort helps the local population with an education program through the Sawai Ecotourism Foundation. It gives me a good excuse to engage in a semblance of conversation and visit the village.
I ask to see both schools, in my lean bahasa indonesia. "Di mana sekola?" The children, more and more numerous, show me the way and escort me along the dirt streets.
The schools are solid buildings, like the church. Here, the population is Christian.
People are enjoying the mildness of the evening, sitting in front of their door. They chat with friends and watch me pass by with an amused eye. "Sore! Sore!" Good evening, good evening!
The laundry dries in front of the cottages, some of them hard, most of them wooden. Some of them, painted in bright colors, are more dapper than others and seem relatively comfortable. Through the open windows, one can sometimes see a sofa in the main room that serves as a living room...
But other shacks are frankly miserable, with their ramshackle walls, assemblies of old boards and bits of rusty metal.
Here, there is electricity - and TV, thanks to satellite dishes - but no running water yet.
I manage to ask their names for the boldest kids. "Siapa nama?" What is your name? One by one, they introduce themselves.
And as always, they are the ones who end up asking me for pictures, delighted to be reflected on the digital screen.
When I take the way back, three girls who did not dare to speak to me at the beginning, hail me.
They also want their photo! Let's go for some final smiles.