Back on Track

Transportation has improved (above) for travel in the highlands of  Sulawesi since we first began visiting the communities in 2003 (below)

Transportation has improved (above) for travel in the highlands of Sulawesi since we first began visiting the communities in 2003 (below)

Some of you may remember from the March 2013 Threads of Life Newsletter that we discussed the dilemma we had with our Sulawesi weavers using synthetic dyes to achieve their red color. In January 2013 a group of us from Threads of Life and the Bebali Foundation met with the heads of each weaving group to discuss this problem. We met ‘half way’ between Bali and their villages. This was in Mamaju, Sulawesi: a day’s travel and 800 km by air for us, and a day’s very rough travel over 70 km by road for them. We then spent 3 days dyeing together to discuss recipe proportions as well as plant resources.
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Traveling with Threads of Life to Remote Sulawesi

Slide 1

A young boy flies a kite on the streets of Mamuju.

The long, arduous trip up to the remote villages of Toraja Karataun is made shorter by a flight into Mamuju, the capital of West Sulawesi. Mamuju is a new city, with a large population of transmigrants from Java, and very little character of its own. The growth of cities like Mamuju drives home the importance of preserving the diversity of traditional cultures.

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Weavers At the End of the World

Slide 1

y trip started off with a big surprise – the new airport in Makassar!

Whenever I am getting ready to go to visit our weaving groups in West Sulawesi I have the feeling that I am going to the end of the world. I now bring along my own provisions of food, and acidophilus tablets to balance my stomach as food is often hard to come by. Then I hope that the travel conditions will have improved somewhat from previous years. It has been two years since I was last able to make my way to the remote area where the weavers live and while I worry about the travel I think about what they have to deal with all the time. My first big surprise of the trip was seeing the new airport in Makassar which is positioning itself for international arrivals in Indonesia!

 

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Field Notes Sulawesi

Slide 1     How exciting to have a box of textiles arrive at Threads of Life office from the weavers of Karataun, central Sulawesi this week! Karataun is the most remote area Threads of Life works in. I have to fly from Bali to Makassar, then take a ten hour bus drive, then another day ride in a battered jeep crossing rivers using motorized dugout canoes, and just going until the roads run out. At this point Daud (our Torajan field staff) and I switch to motorbikes for another day, and then walk the final distance. Its about three days in total to get there.

 

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