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Indonesia: Iris Foundation Expedition to Forgotten Lands





Carnet de voyage du photographe Jacques Bravo dans les peties iles de la sonde en Indonésie. Ile de Sumbawa


July 14, 2015

The boat does not obtain authorization from the harbor master's office to leave the bay this morning, because the seas are very rough offshore. Never mind, this will be the opportunity to discover the island of Sumbawa. After a hearty breakfast on the boat, we take the shuttle to reach the village of Lamere in the small harbor where we are sheltered.

The village of Lamere, on the island of Sumbawa


Small traditional shipyards shaded by coconut leaves where artisans work in groups of two or three are scattered around the port. Everything is wood, nothing metal. A few hand saws and electric drills, and simple hammers and wood knives make it possible to obtain beautiful boards at least 3 cm thick. We haven't seen the bending system. The planks are assembled by pegs of a red wood which swells in water and which also has medicinal properties acting on the kidneys, says Agus, our guide. Between each plank are placed strips of thin corky bark for waterproofing. Subsequently the slits are still caulked with bamboo powder or wool.


Children are laughing everywhere and entire families are on their doorstep. All the inhabitants are happy to see us and to have their picture taken, we have a beautiful escort, children, goats, roosters, ...

We find the atmosphere of our villages of yesteryear, where life is transported to the street ...

The houses are made of wood, on stilts, clay on the ground. All kinds of rubbish litter the ground. There is a satellite dish in front of most houses and the cell phone is everywhere ... a curious contrast to this simple life.

The teacher invites us to his house, he tells us that there are 500 children in the village.


In the afternoon Agus finds three taxis that allow us to go to Oicaba beach and the village of Wera further north.

Along the way we meet only a few large trees, only large tamarind trees remain as well as a few mango trees in the villages. In the surroundings: thorny Acacia , Jatropha gossypiifolia , Calotropis gigantea , numerous invasive Lantana , Ziziphus (jujube), some Pandanus odoratu s, but the diversity is poor. The crops are mainly maize mixed with peanuts or rice fields recycled into peanuts or shallots in the dry season, and a few banana trees.

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There are trees that are widely used as barriers and as fodder, cut and tortured in all directions. They neither flower nor bear fruit, what species are they? Riddle that we will not solve.

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Further into the countryside, we stop at an artisanal brickyard, where young girls show us the manufacturing process in a general good mood.

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In Oicaba we discover a black sand beach with beautiful rollers, in which we throw ourselves with pleasure. Agathe finds a large dead tetraodon (ball fish) from which she retrieves the teeth. In the rocks there is a natural source of hot water to rinse off.

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The evening light is already there when we arrive at the village of Wera. On the beach is an absolutely remarkable traditional shipyard. A prow of a boat under construction attracts us, under a palm roof. Only the bottom of the boat is built, it seems abandoned, it has a very beautiful curved line, it is 40 meters long. Agus tells us that it takes two years to build a boat like this. This is a cargo ship.

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Children play and dream of crossing ...

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And the teens in mob show off on the pier ...


Further in the village, on the edge of the beach, a woman is weaving fabrics. We hear the click of the loom. We end up buying him several “ Songket ”, colored grid fabrics, usually worn around the waist. The news travels quickly, in five minutes other women arrive with their goods ...

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