Living and working on a very remote island, we don’t have the possibility to purchase things just around the corner. Whenever something breaks, we have to first try and repair it before we can consider buying something new. And even if we do decide to buy new, there is always the problem of importing material from outside of Indonesia which usually ends up being very expensive because of the high import taxes. So, we try to find another solution. If it’s something that is not too big or heavy, we sometimes ask friends and family who come to visit us, if they could bring some of it in their luggage. And Maya carries tons of material with her whenever she comes from Switzerland!
If it can be fixed, our technical and construction teams will do everything they can to fix it. They’re amazing what they manage to repair. For example, have you ever tried to weld cooking pots? I guess not, I certainly haven’t. Well, here we do that. With the salty air, the corrosion is very high, so pans and pots suffer a lot and need to be maintained regularly. Which may also mean welding if they break or have a hole somewhere. We also replaced the plastic handles on the pots by nice wooden ones after they broke. And our construction team even removed the rust from our freezers and covered the lid with a fresh coating so that it looks bright and shiny again.
Take our various Yamaha outboarders that our boats are equipped with, for another example. Some of them have been in use for 10 years already, and this in salt water! You would think that we would have had to replace them a long time ago. But no, thanks to excellent maintenance, they are still in good shape and in daily use when we have guests. Even now, that we didn’t use them every day because there were no guests for almost a year, they were still maintained on a regular basis, as if we were to go diving again tomorrow (I wish…).
Ventilators, water taps, the coffee machine, scissors, you name it – we fix it! It is not only a matter of money or availability of material, but also a question of not throwing away things so quickly. Especially in an area of the world where recycling is not a given option and waste management still in its infancy. We hardly throw away anything, even at the office. From used paper that we re-use as scrap paper for our notes or for prints that don’t require a fresh paper, to ribbons that we used for a birthday gift or some kind of decoration - we keep it and re-use it whenever possible.
Apart from re-using and repairing things, we also build from scratch on the island what you at home would probably buy in a shop. Our wheelbarrows, for example, are hand-made on the island. And if you have visited us before, you may have noticed the rack that holds the water gallon in your bungalow. These are also made here. Things like cooking utensils, cooking spoons, etc., everything is made from local wood by our construction team. And the latest addition to the series are beautiful wooden buttons that our assistant Surya sowed onto the fabric roofs of our dive boats. Together with the Velcro, they will help prevent the roof from being torn off by the wind when driving at full speed. Oh, and by the way – the fabric roofs are also made and repaired on the island. And if the sowing machine breaks down because the corrosion is getting too much for it, guess what happens? We try to fix it!
The idea for this week’s blog post actually came from yet another one of our DIY activities. Whenever there is a celebration of any kind, we decorate the resort with leaves, flowers, ribbons, food or whatever else fits the occasion. Be it a honeymoon decoration in one of our bungalows or the nicely woven palm leaves for a religious holiday – we always put a lot of effort into details and often create something out of whatever we have available. The next holiday coming up will be Easter. So, we had this idea for a... no, wait! I’m not going to give you any spoilers! Let’s just say that we needed some funny bunny ears. Well, my office colleagues didn’t need much convincing to get busy and after 2 days came up with this:
I never even dreamt of working on a remote island in Indonesia, but life has a way of taking care of itself…