News from Sulawesi, Timor, Sumba and Savu

We have great faith in the weavers and the strong relationships that we have built with them over the last twenty years. We will do everything possible to help them continue weaving. Below is news from four islands.


In the communities we work with on Sulawesi, woman have begun to grow patchouli to sell its dried leaves for the essential oil market. They say that the income is equivalent to that of vanilla, which is a high profit crop. We have yet to see whether this opportunity will lead weavers away from their looms.


We were sad to hear that Ibu Angela Molo, Mama Rosa’s mother, passed away. In this situation, all weaving activities within the clan are generally suspended for a year of mourning. This impacts both community income and Threads of Life’s supplies, which is why we need to work with many villages to keep our business going and make sure we are still around when the mourning is over and weaving begins again.

In the domain of Boti, where all the roads were washed out during Cyclone Seroja two months ago, the village remains isolated. The community is comfortable with this as they have always maintained their subsistence agriculture and the closure helps them keep the village closed until this pandemic has passed. Indigenous communities everywhere — be they Native American, Aboriginal, and certainly the lesser visited indigenous communities of Indonesia — are very vulnerable to this virus.

For communities that use the fertile lands along rivers, the rains caused by Cyclone Seroja caused huge flooding. As you can see in the above photograph from one of our communities in Amanuban, all crops were lost. The flooding brought huge rocks and lots of sand down from the mountains and many fields will have to be abandoned until their fertility returns.

Savu and Sumba

Savu and Sumba were perhaps the hardest hit by Cyclone Seroja and people are having to rely on government assistance. In many parts of East Sumba, the only crop to survive the storm was peanuts.