Undiscovered paradise: Haruku island

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August 8th 2011
Published: August 11th 2011
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Haruku Island


form village Oma, Haruku
This tiny island is in the south part of Moluccas archipelago, located east of Ambon Island and south of Ceram. The postman never rings here. They do have electricity. But form me the hot water springs give more thrills. There is no banks, hotels, museums, supermarket, nor shopping mall. Only time, abundant of them. Spending time on the forest growing nutmeg, hunting wild pigs, looking for shells and fish at low tide. Reading is not a favorite passing time here (I guess literature is discovered when suffering becomes unbearable...). Women are looking for each other lice. Children playing barefoot. Men hanging on the street talking to each other.

Is this simplicity enough? For a life time? My ancestors were born and died here. For centuries. I believe that I see less suffering in their faces compared to faces that I see in Jakarta or other big cities in this country. They wonder how it feels to fly in airplane or stay in a hotel. While they sometimes want to escape from it, remoteness seems to be a blessing for them. The sea, Banda sea, protects them from outside world. I wonder whether living in and together with nature is our basic and deepest instinct.

Unfortunately, the modernization has marked its way here. The discovery of plastics is not accompanied by the thought of how people get rid of it after the use it. At least not in this place. Recycle does not mean so much to them. Centuries of using only natural material like banana or sago leafs as packaging material seems to be over. Trashes and garbage just lie on the ground along the path. Well, once in a while they throw them to the sea, to get rid of them. That what I heard from my uncle. That is a pity. I guess things are not perfect.

Some facts and tips:
Haruku has several villages, both christian and muslim. A village is either christian or muslim (not both). The fastest way to reach this island is by taking the boat from Tulehu (Ambon Island) to village Haruku (Haruku is a name of the island and on the villages here). It takes appr. 15 minutes. Go only during october-february because the sea can be rough outside this period. Don't forget to take your own life jacket; like many in Indonesia they don't have appropriate safety requirements. Haruku village seems to have a lodge, but this I am not sure. I am staying with my family at village Oma, a 20 minutes drive with motorbike from Haruku village. Bathroom, shower and toilet are not common. They go to a community bath or to hot springs to wash everything (bodies, clothes, motorcycle). Many do 'toilet' on the beach. It seems that nobody speak English.

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