The magical land found us
Coming to Flores in March can be a wet experience.
However arriving at Komodo airport in the midday it was sunny and beautiful weather so we decided to start our expedition directly buy renting a motorbike and taking of for Ruteng where it was said not to be so hot for a westerners to live.
A few months ago in Bali we started to plan for having our own little jungle paradise in Flores and now we were on our way to find a place outside of Ruteng to fulfil our dreams.
After leaving Labuan Bajo we drove Jalan Trans Flores towards Ruteng but already after 30 minutes driving it started to rain, but we were equipped with good rain coats and rain trousers so we decided to continue anyhow. But as usual here the rain increased in intensity and we had to stop under a big beautiful bamboo bush. What to do? Why were we stopped her just outside of the Melo village? We had to find shelter so after a few minutes more we stopped at a warung asking the Bapa if we could stay overnight there.
The Flores hospitality is big so we were invited for changing to dry clothes and later dinner with the family. After eating and coffee and ours of talking, we explained that we were on a mission to find a peace of land outside of Ruteng,
W had a good night sleep and were invited for breakfast when the Bapa suddenly told us that he had a peace of land in Pesari, 5 minutes down the road, very close to the big beautiful bamboo bush. We didn’t take so much notice of that fact as we only had Ruteng in our minds.
It was a wonderful tour to Ruteng but no success in finding our jungle paradise. We felt a little disappointed and went back to Melo and decided to stay one more night before going back to Bali.
Again the Bapa started talking about his land and to be polite we decided to take a look at it. The land was almost not accessible as it was all jungle so we could hardly see anything but trees and bushes. However the feeling was very strong and magical. The land was surrounded by mountains, one of them Mount Mbelliling we learned later. It was like the power from all the mountains was concentrated at that land.
Back in Bali the strong feeling of the land was still with us and it didn’t go away. We started to ask ourself -why did the rain started just outside of that warung, -why no success in Ruteng? Was there a higher energy that wanted us to create our jungle paradise there? Maybe we were not supposed to find a land. Maybe the land was supposed to find us. It is a known fact that the harder you search the least you find, but when you let go the things that is meant to happen occur.
Was it the land calling us to create our jungle paradise there? We had to go back to Melo to find out.
The months passed but in August we finally made it back to Melo. The energy was still there and we both felt that we had to get that magical land, and we did!
Living traditionally in the nature
A few months later we moved to Pesari for a life in the jungle. We built a traditional Flores house from natural materials like bamboo, wood and hijuk from Palm tree. The old traditions in Flores are very important so to get the blessing from the local people we performed a first stone ceremony with Bapa Tua Golo (the old man in the village), Bapa Desa (the head of the village) and all of our new neighbours.
We felt so good living in our jungle paradise. No electricity, no internet and no running water. Every morning a trip down to the small river on the land where we took our morning bath. Solar lamps for light. Organic food from our garden and the neighbours gardens around us. A wonderful experience that we soon felt we had to share with others. It is nowadays so much forgotten how it is to live in connection with nature and there must be others that want to experience the same, even if only for a few days or weeks.
By end of 2018 five traditional bungalows, built with bamboo and alang-alang, was ready for guests. Mango, avocado, snake fruit and many other fruit trees was now growing. Papaya could already be harvested. Planting vegetables became our passion. We experimented with Cassava, beans, tomatoes, cucumber and all other types we could find. Some with great success and others not, but we wanted to try to plant everything to find out what this land wanted us to cultivate. Slowly slowly we started to be more self-sufficient regarding food.
Planting and creating gardens was a delicate balance between planting new and leaving what was already growing on the land. We had no intention to change the structure of the land or cutting down trees, but we had to find out what could grow in harmony with what was already there. Permaculture in the jungle!
Sharing the living experience
In January 2019 we finally were ready to receive our first guests. Even if we now were connected to running water from Mbelliling we were a little nervous how our guests would be able to cope with the natural living experience we offered. We didn’t have to! The first guests had booked for one night but ended up staying one week. They also felt that magical energy and didn’t want to leave.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared over open fire, working in the gardens and preparing food together with the guests was a great success.
Waking up at 4.30 in the morning to the sounds of the nature, the birds and our rosters. Meditation under a tree and yoga before breakfast also added to the magical experience