It was another beautiful morning. The Wonderful Kaibobo Team got up early to go jogging, to see the sun coming up behind the scenic hills and the villagers going to their farms. Though, we reached our limit after only 10 minutes. Jogging in Indonesia is just not comparable to a run with a refreshing breeze waking you up from time to time like in our home country. With our arms on our knees sustaining our body, full of sweat and longing for water we suddenly heard a voice bringing us back to life again. A voice unbelievably smooth but at the same time full of enthusiasm: “Hello, good morning! I am Uncle Tom.”
We thought we were dreaming but it was reality: Us – half dying – but a 70-ish year old man quickly and lively passing by at 6 o`clock in the morning. And he was even talking in English to us!!
“We definitely have to interview Uncle Tom. He is amazing!” -Wonderful Kaibobo Team
On Wednesday the 31st of May in 2017 we took the motorbikes and were brought to Thomas Louhatapessy to see his farm and to listen to his storytelling voice to hear his own individual story about life in Kaibobo.
“I am Tom! I was born… and raised on the 2nd of May in 1945… iiiiiin Kaibobo.” Was Thomas´ lovely first sentence during our interview.
At the age of 13 he went to Ambon for six years to attend three years of junior economic high school and additional three years of senior economic high school. In those six years, our charming Uncle Tom had the chance to learn English and he was very proud of himself since he was able to communicate properly in English.
WKT: “Your English is very good, uncle Tom!”
UT: “Oooh, no, only a least. But many long time ago I could speak with eeeeeverybody in my country. Now English tongue feel weird.”
In 1964 he came back to Kaibobo where there was now a lack of possibilities to practice his English skills. Right after his time in Ambon he joined his parents on his farm in Kaibobo. A farm which he is now working on together with his lovely and beautiful wife Agustina, as well as his daughter. Approximately 4 days a week they spend their time together with Rimba, a 13-year-old, happy and healthy dog. Every Saturday they come back to Kaibobo to go to church and to spend time with the community. Tom and his family have always been working hard on the farm which is now three times bigger than before.
But we were also wondering about their living conditions since their farm was in the middle of the rainforest with only very simple facilities. But Tom and Agustina just smiled at each otherand offered us a closer insight of their daily routine: They don`t need much. They get their water out of the river, boil and drink it and take their shower. When it comes to food, they get provided by the beauty of nature and with all the fruits it has to offer. Being a farmer, for Tom, means being independent. For him it means living and sweating for his family and in addition to that, he can even do workout.
Tom lived out of Kaibobo for years, he worked for the church and the government. He was even the Kepala Desa (the head of Kaibobo) from 1984 to 2001 but at the end he realized that for him materialism doesn`t matter. He is happy with small things. With his family, his farm and the Kopra they harvest, the shared love and the simplicity in life. All of this offers him the job as a farmer and he would never change the decisions he made because he is living in true happiness. He has a gorgeous family, a nourishing farm and lives together with a community who has become a big family. A community which still greets each other with a big and welcoming smile in the faces. A community with its own language, traditional dances, songs and art.
Never had he thought that there was something missing in his life, until he met us on the road that morning talking in English - He finally has the chance, to practice his English skills again.
“I hope god bless your program and your plan to make Kaibobo bagus.” -Uncle Tom
It is all about the small things - the simplicity in life – which is the main key to true happiness.
- Thomas Louhatapessy, who was born and raised in Kaibobo.
Conducted on: 31-05-2017
Published on: 01-07-2017
Written by: Teresa Cancola
Photographer: Teresa Cancola