Monday, 13 December 2010

Finding my Feet in Flores

Wow, tropical storms, plagues of insects and my first dose of running to the toliet! Last night I was awoken by my first proper tropical storm on Flores. It rained heavily, thunder rolled and flashes of lightening lit my dark house up as though I just put every light on for less than a split second. It was intense. I lay there, musty with sweat thinking about the roads we were driving a couple of days prior and wondering how many boulders might have been dislodged from the mountain sides and rolled onto them? How many trees may have fallen like the one I saw laying dead straight across a road in town that took the electricity wire with it just before I went back to Bali?
Yip rain here is more than just an inconvenience that means you have to wear less nice shoes. Speaking of shoes, Im not a fan of the feet fashion here! Everything else seems comparable, but shoes – I don’t know where they get the designs! I can’t even begin to start explaining, they are gaudy!
Today I have arrived in the office with a tummy full of fried banana the neighbour kindly brought round for me for breakfast and I am reading about Indonesia’s cocoa industry. Tomorrow I will be visiting a trader for Mars so I am looking forward to that...don’t think there will be any tastings however as they are not producing here, it’s just beans at the moment... maybe I could ask them about the cloned trees they are engineering!  
The way they farm here is lots and lots and lots of farmers have little pieces of land and they have trees with lots of different things – coconuts, coffee, bananas, mangoes, cocoa they are all mixed in around each other. Its beautiful because it looks wild however most of those plants are not native (coconut and banana are), and I’m not sure its the most efficient way to farm, judging only from what I know a farm is from home – square fields with one product. Luckily, they didn’t hire me for my knowledge of farming! I have however, just been to another meeting about self-sustaining farming, or, farming for local consumption and they talked about focusing on indigenous plants and capturing traditional techniques which I think sounds good because native plants have more nutritional content than the rice they fill themselves up with three times a day here.
They have a big problem here in Flores of diabetes or high blood sugar, and it is mainly caused by a diet of rice, fried foods and a lot of sugar intake. People are not fat but I guess they are not free from health problems either...I was wondering how they could do it! I enjoyed the meeting but I did start to think, what exactly do they need me for here, the room was full of university graduates and experts. I was also wondering how after being here for 3 weeks did I manage to ask such key questions and why were they only asking them to themselves now?? I think I am going through a questioning phase!
There is still so much to learn, which includes language. I’m defiantly not a natural at language and it isn’t fun or something I enjoy, studying is a chore for sure, but I will make myself do it and keep at it because I am improving, albeit slowly.
I made a great effort with the cleaning on Sunday, its my only day off and i spent a full 7 hours properly scrubbing and washing and bleaching, and mopping everything except the bathroom so the kitchen which was in the worst state is now 90% livable, I just need a fridge and then I will be set!
I am suffereing from a slight bought of homesickness right now because its coming up to Christmas, I miss my nana and I’m wishing I could be home to enjoy all the Christmas parties with my friends! I am however only 9 days away from going to Perth for Christmas and New Year with my mum, dad, Scott and Linzi, so that will be brilliant as we can celebrate properly together.

Love to you all - I hope you are enjoying the Christmas season and I wish you all the best for the New Year!

PS Having problems uploading pics but will get them up when I can.