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The people living in this small coconut farming village had had very little interaction with white fellows prior to me, so upon arriving I quickly found that I would be surrounded by villagers at almost all times of the day/evening. This was great as it enabled me to learn about their lifestyle, but also quite difficult due to the language barrier. Eager to learn and fearing they’d quickly grow tired of staring at me, I used this opportunity to learn some basic words of their native language. With most of the villages there speaking the Indonesian language too, I was able – by using an Indonesian dictionary, to figure the Mentawai translation and in return provide them with the pronunciation in English. This proved to be a fantastic relationship building exercise as it created an avenue of communication between us. I’ll be forever grateful for the good nature of those living in that small village; they were extremely welcoming and very patient with me. Including Si Jablah who seemed just as eager to learn as I was, often calling past my hut with a list of Indonesian words he’d written at home chasing the English translation. For as long as I was there, he was keen to learn, which was very inspirational. I’ve uploaded a small conversation snippet for your perusal here too, enjoy.


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