Heaven in Sumatra

Sungai Pinang…the road leads you to heaven…A sheet metal veranda protect us from a torrential downpour, typical of this season. We’re in Indonesia leaned on a wood table coloured with the Jamaican flag. On the walls the are waves, palms and surfers painted and a banner that says “Welcome to Riki’s beach house”. We enter and we see a guitar and a drum, books and decks of cards, domino and chess, a football ball and surf board. The guys in the kitchen offer us coffee, tea and juices and they prepare a wonderful laid table with food for lunch and dinner. The guests rooms are four simple bungalows.
Riki is an Indonesian boy full of dreams, he speaks English and french and he has the eras ready to hear the world, because like us he has the desire to travel. He was born and grew up here, in Sungai Pinang, a village on the west coast of Sumatra with only 1600 souls. He married Ana, a parisenne girl met in Borneo four years ago. They have a kid called Alicia, blond like her and black eyes like him: the couple have a great project: to help the young people of the village to study and open their eyes beyond Indonesia. For this reason the couple have transformed the old housing of the grandfather in a beach house for tourists. With the earning of the nights the pay the accommodation for seven poor guys in the city Pinang, the closest to the village, where they can go to school. Other 12 guys thanks to the housekeeping of the beach house can save some money and learn English from the guests.
The light of the lam changes of intensity and sometimes disappears. “They brought electricity just two years ago” says Riki “before we used to have a generator and we liked the candles light”. Then he continuous to tell us that until 2007 the only way to leave the village was to board on the fishermen at five in the morning , the same boat which collect the fish before selling it in the city. Since six years the workers have opened a path through the impervious jungle, a road not easy to across, almost impossible by bicycle. “In a way I’m happy that the path is dirt, because it’s a good deterrent against the Chinese entrepreneur” says laughing Riki, happy that his village stays authentic.
The authenticity of this place in fact is perceptible from the first impact: the football ground disconnected, the football goals on rough wood and the lines of the penalty box excavated. In the centre field buffalo and goats, a shepherd, children with air of celebration and curious families of our presence. During the day a pasture, and before the sunset the most beautiful stadium of the world for all the inhabitants of Pinang. All around huts with bamboo roof mixed with high coconut palms and over colourful fishermen boats rest on the sand looking at the ocean waiting to go out. After all the slowness, the tranquillity and the simplicity of a life style linked with the past, make this village and especially his people an unforgettable paradise.

Marco and Giovanni

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