Just over a year ago I had the privilege to spend time on the beautiful island of Gili Air in Indonesia. It was everything we imagine paradise to be. Golden sands, turquoise seas, palm trees, stunning sunrises and sunsets, and the most lovely welcoming people too.
The impact on the Islands was huge. Even once the infrastructure was back in place, and the residents and workers had worked tirelessly to repair the damage, tourists still stayed away. People were afraid it might happen again. In the meantime, the local people, a lot of whom had families to support on the main island of Lombok, were struggling. Workers were being laid off, or given unpaid leave. Restaurants were almost empty. It certainly wasn't paradise for the people trying to make a living.
Yet, they continued to carry on. They did the best they could. They delighted in every new visitor who showed up, making them feel welcome and appreciated. They live in what is known as the Ring of Fire, a major area surrounding the Pacific Ocean where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. Whilst I was travelling in Indonesia there we frequent reports of volcanic activity, powerful earthquakes and even a devastating tsunami. It was really sobering to realise that natural events like that were a part of everyday life. Fortunately, they didn't all have the devastating impact of the August 2018 earthquakes, but the possibility is there always. Yet, life continues.
What really struck me spending time with local people was their resilience and resourcefulness. They kept going, even when facing daily uncertainty.