Sawai Itepo Village. Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013, Indonesia.

An Indonesian village

  Indonesia: Weda [Halmahera] + Bangka [Sulawesi] - March 2013

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 

It is a tiny Indonesian village, between sea and mangrove, in Weda Bay. My visit is the evening attraction for the hilarious kids.

The mangrove

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.

Weda Resort. Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013.
Weda Resort. Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013.

I gave up on the jungle birdwatching tours - not too much of my stuff, I prefer water and fish.

Mangrove. Weda Bay. Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013.

But I improvise a little walk, at the end of the day, to 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 piece of mangroves, taken 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 heap of garbage and plastic waste where pigs and dogs forage, at the edge of the beach, and also a few 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.

Sawai Itepo Village. Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013, Indonesia.
Sawai Itepo Village. Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013, Indonesia.
Sawai Itepo Village. Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013, Indonesia.
Sawai Itepo Village. Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013, Indonesia.

The village

There are traditional boats and fishing nets on the beach, small fields and wooden shacks behind the coconut trees.

Sawai Itepo Village. Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013, Indonesia.

A bunch of kids saw me from far away. They run and shout, without daring to approach me at first.

The adults politely greet me and laugh a lot when they hear me ask permission to take pictures: "Boleh photo?"

At the entrance to the village of Sawai Itepo. Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013.

Weda Resort helps the local population with, inter alia, 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 alleys in the ground.

Schools are hard buildings, like the church. Here, the population is Christian.

Sawai Itepo Village. Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013, Indonesia.
Sawai Itepo Village. Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013, Indonesia.

People enjoy the sweetness of the evening, sitting in front of their doorstep. They chat with friends and watch me with an amused eye. "Sore! Sore! » Good evening, good evening!

The laundry dries in front of the cottages, some of which are made of hardwood, most of which are made of wood. Some of them, painted in bright colors, are more dapper than others and seem relatively comfortable. Through the open windows, you can sometimes see a sofa in the main room that serves as a living room...

But other shacks are downright miserable, with their crooked walls, assemblages of old planks and bits of rusty sheet metal.

Here, there is electricity - and TV, thanks to satellite dishes - but not yet running water.

Sawai Itepo Village. Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013, Indonesia.

I manage to ask their names for the boldest kids. "Siapa nama?" What's your name? One by one, they introduce themselves.

And as always, they are the ones who end up asking for photos, delighted to then be reflected on the digital screen.

Sawai Itepo Village. Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013, Indonesia.

When I go back home, three girls who dared not talk to me at first, hock me.

They want their picture too! Let's go for some final smiles.

Sawai Itepo Village. Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013, Indonesia.



If you like the "village" atmosphere and the smiles of children, I invite you to reread these articles, published during a trip to Borneo in 2009:
Derawan (Indonesia): Kids' balls
Mabul (Malaysia): A village full of life

  Indonesia: Weda [Halmahera] + Bangka [Sulawesi] - March 2013

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  1. Hello and thank you Corinne for this guided tour of this small village, this is especially what we are looking for in our travels. Unfortunately we do not always have the opportunity to live so close contact with the local population ... know how to ask, exchange, share moments of life ... .I must make this effort, and then people indulge, they are happy to talk about their life, their history, respect is the basis of these exchanges, thank you for sharing with us beautiful images these meetings!

    1. @Yves Guenot: this little visit of the village was very nice, but for the real exchanges, one should not exaggerate anything: the discussions were more than limited, because of the language barrier ...

  2. Many liked text and photos, in resonance.
    The one in the church clicked in my retina, I saw in superimposition the church that opens the film "African queen" 😉 , all anachronism kept!

    1. @Ysbilia: nothing to see, indeed ... I realize that I travel quite often in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country, in corners where the population is Christian. Every little village has its church. Sometimes there is both a church and a mosque.

  3. Your photo of the outrigger canoe with the golden light of the evening leaves me dreamy and contemplative .... It poses well in the foreground with its raw wood which takes the hue "gold" and contrasts with the black sand.
    The Indonesians and photos, always a hesitation at first and then they insist to see themselves on the digital screen and get tired ... your smiling portraits, pretty faces of children.
    Religion a whole story but a lot of respect except when conflicts erupt like in Sulawesi for example. When you tell an Indonesian that you do not have a religion, he does not understand ... I'm an ET there!
    Strongly following or other magical moments of your beautiful escapades so dear to your heart ... with the weather it warms the heart and the soul.

    1. @Lisemet: That, the Indonesians and the photos, that's quite a poem... That said, I also gladly lend myself in exchange to their requests. There's my paper clip in a lot of Indonesian mobiles and digital cameras !!! 😆

      Like you, I know that I happen to be an alien if I ever come to reveal that I do not have a religion, either with the mulsumans or the Christians, so often I pretend to be to have one, otherwise it is very complicated to explain ... and incomprehensible.

      For the rest, everything goes well, always. The exchanges, however limited they are sometimes because of the language barrier, are all the same. Exchanges of smiles and laughter make up for the real dialogue. I know that I am just a visiting visitor, but these moments remain to me, and are part of the little joys of the trip.

  4. Your blog is a marvel, sincerely, I discovered yesterday, and since, unable to win. We delight with stories of your adventures, we escape and we marvel a little more in front of each of your photographs. I'm flying to Sulawesi this summer with my family, and going through your many experiences, I must admit that I'm impatient to soak my fins in the Tomini golf course.
    Congratulations to you, and thank you for sharing with us these images and moments of happiness, simple but so rewarding.

    1. @Inès: thank you for this message, which means a lot to me! 🙂 Sulawesi is really a fantastic island, where there is so much to discover !!! My two previous trips to Sulawesi :
      - In 2010 :
      - In 2007 :

      In a few days, I will continue the story of this March 2013 journey. After Halmahera, I went to North-Sulawesi, for a few days, on the island of Bangka... 🙂 To be continued, then !!!

  5. @Corinne: Oh! That all this reminds me of these children from the villages of Flores... 🙂 Smiles, kindness, in short, we had a good time with them...That's also what I like when I travel : meeting the villagers, the kids...Well, obviously, we are also strangers in their eyes, but there I was never asked for money, unlike in Africa...It's a change! And for me, the welcome in Asia has a lot to do with my attraction for this continent... 🙄

    1. @Didier: in many Indonesian villages, the spontaneity and kindness of the welcome is really touching, even if we are, of course, only tourists of passage ...

      The only time kids asked for money in Asia, it was in places with high tourist traffic (including Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Bali ...). But in less frequented corners, and in small villages like the one I'm talking about, never.

      Yes, globally, in South-East Asia, the reception towards foreigners that we are is really remarkable. For my part, I also appreciate this region of the world because I can travel alone everywhere, without ever being bothered. I arouse possibly astonishment, curiosity, laughter, but always in tolerance and respect.