Sunburn: something  you try to avoid as much as possible. Yes, I put on sunscreen, but being in the back of an open truck at the hottest time of the day does not really help (especially with my light skin). But in the end it was all worth it.

Adventure is calling

After starting the day with a nice, no-rice breakfast, we got the offer to be toured around the area. Of course, we could not refuse this, since the Italian owner of our accommodation insisted on it and come on, who does not want to be in the back of a truck for a sightseeing tour of the beautiful island of Sumba? Although, it was one of the first times this ‘safari’ was done so I was quite nervous. Firstly, our fellow European, who has been on this green island for ten years already, showed us around his latest project: an accommodation. Lots of bamboo and wood was to be found on the ground, since most materials are available in the area. Locals were working on making furniture with this wood, which will be placed in the rooms. However, these locals also found the time to quickly build a bench to make us a bit more comfortable during the bumpy ride we were about to experience.

The Royal family or just tourists?

While holding on to the truck and looking to the incredible landscapes Sumba has to offer, I realized how lucky I am to be here. Especially when I saw the people sitting in front of their self-built, traditional houses, as if they did not have any purpose. However, the smiles on their faces and seeing the children playing outside happily made me believe that this life the live and they seem satisfied with it. Also, when we were driving around, I noticed how all people were waving at us, as if we were famous. Is it just the friendliness of the people or their surprise of seeing tourists on a truck? Whatever it was, I felt welcome on the one hand, while uncomfortable with the feeling of ‘fame’ on the other hand. What would happen if more tourists would come to the island? Would this still be an authentic experience or would it be like a theater where locals are ‘acting’ in order to make a living?

All in all, the combination of sights and feelings makes it an experience to never forget.

Written by: Dominique