What a whirlwind the past 3 months has been!
We hit the ground running in Bali, well Sydney really if you include Bunnings, Ikea, ILVE, kitchen warehouses etc. We had an extensive ‘to do’ list before getting on the plane to Kupang where the one and only highlight is ‘Ace Hardware’…. (let me tell you it truly IS a highlight when you have been around here a while!). With 60kg overweight from Bali, another 100kg being shipped, you can imagine just how ‘interesting’ our ferry crossing was to Rote!
Preparations for our Soft Opening
Our ’soft opening’ was set for June 24th with 13 extra guests arriving on the same day. We had less than 7 weeks to complete the kitchen fit-out, build another family-sized hut & the first of 2 couples treehouses… Plus training staff, planning a menu and PRACTISING the menu!!
To say that we were ‘racing the clock’ would be a gross understatement, though I cannot find the words to express this time of preparation adequately!! And here is the result…
Our first real guests
On the day of the arrival of our guests we were still without mattresses to sleep most of them as the truck which was meant to arrive 1 week earlier was still a ’no show’! Don’t ask me how…??!!! But somehow everything fell into place just in time! We felt like the newest competitors on ‘The Block’ as we finally unwrapped & hung the beautiful ‘custom-made’ mosquito nets, curtains, cushions & bedding from Bali. (Thank God their flight was late!)
Now here we find ourselves 4 weeks on and 1 week since our last guests have returned home. I’d like to tell you that it was a ‘breeze’ but I’d be lying! Nothing is easy when you step out & do something for the first time…. What I can say is that it was a huge success with everyone wanting to return… probably next year! How can you not fall in love with this place!!
People in Rote know whats important
Today we travelled to ‘the big smoke’ of Ba’a, the main town 1hrs drive from here, as we needed white cement. (Yes, back to building now) Supplies are very low at the moment as the ferry has not been running due to strong winds and huge swells. (Great for surfers, not so great for just about everything else!) Everything comes by ferry…Petrol, LPG, food and most supplies. Anyway, Noah wanted to try fishing from the wharf as he has noticed plenty of locals trying their luck there. As I sat and watched I was reminded of what an EXTRAORDINARY place this is. As he sat there with his lovely ’Shimano’ fishing rod from Australia waiting for bites with his bait of leftover bread, the man sitting near him with his rod made from bamboo & coke cans came over and GAVE Noah some nice fresh ‘fish’ bait to use. Not long later Noah got snagged and lost all his tackle. The man approached again and GAVE Noah one of his precious hooks. This IS the way life is here. Simple. Generous. People here seem to really know what is important.
I read something yesterday describing how we, in the western world, are ‘marketed’ to, with the aim being, dissatisfaction with ourselves….The more we have, the more we want. As I looked out at our neighbours farming seaweed, I saw our ‘friends’… They are, by far, the happiest people I have ever encountered. Their lives are simple… revolving around the tides… and what is important to them? Their family, their community, their faith.
This is why we are here!
I pray you would come…Yes, to benefit those in need…. but who is in need?? Come, let this place and this people help you re-discover who you are, the simple life, and what really is LIFE!
Until next time…
Nat, Matt and kids