A day in the life on Gili Gede by Andrew Bishop

15 September 2016

With an early sunrise it’s tempting to get up and make the most of the days here on Gili Gede, a remote island off the coast of Lombok. Jogging around the island as dawn breaks the island is coming to life; the sun rises very quickly here so it’s not long before the sun is shining and the temperature rising. The coastal path around the island brings me first to a small village where already the children are making their way to along boat to cross to the main island to school, whilst others walk to the west side of the island to their junior school. All smartly turned out in their uniforms, today two – who seemed to be brother and sister – decided to run with me for a while. Lacking any local Indonesian language we were at least able to exchange names, but little else.

The chickens are clucking, chicks running in their shadow, keeping out of the way of the approaching stranger, whilst the more sedate goats, mostly on rope tethers, simply glance up briefly. Women sit on small stools beside the beach cleaning the morning catch – most likely landed by their husband fishermen who will have been out most of the night.

Passing people on the path it’s apparent that everyone has a task, a purpose, some carrying baskets of produce on their head, others simply waling to work. Occasionally it’s necessary to give way to a scooter, mostly seemingly carrying a child to school, or the odd bicycle, but mostly people are on foot here.

In places the path is need of serious repair, but they weave around the island connecting the various communities, the life artery keeping the island working.

Proud land owners sweeping up leaves are already starting to light small bonfires giving that special aroma characteristic of leaf bonfires worldwide; jogging through the bonfire haze the smells are soon replaced by others – today being of a freshness after some early morning rain showers. And of course the varying cooking aromas – helping to get the taste buds working and building up an appetite for the end of the jog!

The people are all so friendly, some perhaps a little suspicious of this early mooring jogger, but generally a bright smile and a friendly hello. What a great way to start the day on the island of Gili Gede, the stopover port for World ARC in Indonesia.