Due to the Corona virus, our resort is closed and the island of Pef shut down for external visitors until further notice. All tourism activities have been banned by the Regent of Raja Ampat, and we had to put ourselves into self-quarantine to protect the island and our employees. At least the ones that are still here, since half the staff chose to go back home for an undetermined period of time.
So, the island is rather quiet at the moment. And this time it’s not the same as when we close for cleaning and renovation three times a year. Nobody knows when we will be able to reopen the resort. On the one hand, we are all very happy to be here and feel comparatively safe on our remote little island. On the other hand, we don’t know how long we will have to stay here and whether we will still have a job once this crisis is over. The financial loss is huge and for a small resort like ours, this is dramatic.
For now, we are still busy trying to teach our employees how to stay safe, e.g. how to wash their hands correctly, to keep their distance and most importantly – not to mix with anybody from outside the island, not even with their family or friends from the villages. This must be very hard for them as they are used to living in big families, and the ones with relatives in nearby villages used to have them come over to Pef to visit on a regular basis. This will not be possible for an indefinite time, unless they go back home and don’t return until the crisis is over.
This also means that we will not buy any more fish from local fishermen and no fruit and vegetables from the village nearby. Bad news for me since my diet mainly consists of fish and vegetables and fruit… We have rice and dry foods for quite a while, so we are not going to starve, but the meals will definitely be less varied.
You may think: «What’s her problem? She’s on an island in paradise and she’s complaining about the food?!» You’re right, of course. I shouldn’t be complaining. But it’s probably more the underlying feeling that this crisis may take a lot longer than we think, that gets to me. I feel, Indonesia may take a while to fight the virus because it’s such a big country with comparatively few medical resources compared to western countries that are struggling already.
So, what do we do in the evenings, now that there are no guests around to entertain? Dinner is a rather quick event now, and afterwards, most of the employees go to their rooms to watch movies or call their relatives and friends. The first evening, I felt a bit lost, as I like to be around people, and I am not an early sleeper. And there’s no TV or streaming of movies here as the internet is too weak. But I will soon get used to the new rhythm and probably read in my room or have a chat with Maya or someone else that speaks English well enough (as you may remember, my Bahasa Indonesia is still not at a level to have a proper conversation…). Time will tell, and it will be ok.
Having no guests around also gives me more time for sports after work: workout, jogging or go for a snorkel at the house reef. I used to think, our island is small and there’s not enough space to move around. Now, it has suddenly become rather big compared to the apartments and houses my family and friends are currently confined to. I guess, it’s all a matter of perspective…
I never even dreamt of working on a remote island in Indonesia, but life has a way of taking care of itself…