Monday, July 10, 2006

Your basic paradise

So this was our real destination - Katiet, population 400 or so, a surf mecca and your basic tropical paradise. Katiet has one of the world's most famous surf waves, called Lance's Right. You've probably seen it in advertising, even if you've never heard of it; it's one of those perfect, glassy tubes surfers love to play in.

Under the tree are Dave Jenkins, the guy who started Surf Aid, and Brendan Hoare, a consultant who was arriving for a pretty cool two-week study of agricultural practices to figure out how to help the locals achieve a more varied and healthful diet.

The staples here are taro and banana. They don't provide enough nutrition, so kids' growth is stunted. The interesting thing is, it's not quite clear why their diet is so limited. It appears the Mentawais were forest-dwellers until relatively recently. They may have moved to beachside areas like Katiet because the food in the jungle had been depleted, or they may have been rousted out of their former homes by a 1950s campaign to "civilize" indigenous tribes. At any rate, they aren't great fishermen, and they don't have a strong tradition of working with the soil to make it more fertile, so they aren't making full use of the resources around them. That's what Brendan is hoping to help them improve.


Cazzie!!! said...

Well done to a guy like Bredan, may there be many more people like him out there to help people realise and use their resources wisely :)
Sad about the kids' growth being stunted. My boys eat like horses and are skinny as ever, yet my girls are lovely and just plumping up before their next growth spirt. Thanks to our lovely fresh foods here in Australia I am so thankful they are able to eat good foods daily :)

Mary K said...

Wow - that place looks fabulous. Are you going to be doing any surfing yourself?

ace said...

i feel bad about them kids in mentawai, but i have to question your good faith in posting such lovely pictures when i'm stuck in the traffic in JAKARTA???????

(off crying)

michele said...

that place is freakin' gaw-jiss! (channeling my uncle's boston accent here).

wow. i hope you went swimming at some point??

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