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Indonesia: Ancient nomadic people living on stilts | SLICE

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badahos have been nomads for many years but they are now settled along the indonesian malaysian and philippine coasts about 500 000 of them live near the ocean in houses on stilts leaving behind their lapa the houseboat gathered in small villages installed on the s tran the badahos continue to link their fate to the ocean even though they are no longer nomads the ocean that feeds them and shelters them bringing the resources they need for such a life balances over the water and in harmony with its surroundings louder his father towdill and his son audi are going to their village [Music] located on the south east of sulawesi in indonesia on kadalupa island in the heart of the wakatobi archipelago sempela was created in the 1960s by the indonesian government in order to settle the badaho families living along the coasts of this [Music] archipelago today just like louder and his family about a thousand of them have settled down in the village sempela with its wooden walkways and unstable houses is typical of this kind of village even louder himself has a hard time evaluating how many there are i can’t tell for sure but i think there’s at least a dozen villages on stilts in the archipelago alone it means a couple of hundred villages at least over the whole sulawesi thousands of people belong to the bajo community [Music] we all speak banjo [Music] village is located one kilometer away from the shore in an area that dries out during low tide however during high tide the village seems to float on the sea the houses built on stilts are connected to each other making it easy to contact other families in this village on the water one learns to swim before knowing how to walk the kids go in the water when they’re very young however they truly learn how to swim when they’re around 10 years old if you can’t swim around here it can quickly become a problem [Applause] [Music] [Music] sampela lives to the beat of the fishing activity the badaho’s only livelihood right next to the houses or a bit further away from the village an endless stream of pirogs can be seen throwing and bringing up their nets lauda however is an apne fisherman just like his father was only a handful of them continue this ancient tradition the techniques are passed down from generation to generation like a secret jealously guarded you drop it in the water you drag it around like this and the octopus thinks it’s a friend so it gets closer and bam you harpoon [Music] that’s a good bait we can catch crabs with this [Music] the badahos believe the ocean is home to many gods they are the ones deciding whether the fishing will be good or bad in order to attract their benevolence it’s a good idea to speak with the shaman the middleman between men and gods i have a service to ask from you i like good weather on the day i’m leaving [Music] if it turns bad we can’t fish enough to make a living django is here to help us and prevent something bad from happening if we don’t keep the promises we make to him can turn against us [Music] [Music] it’s a habit of mine to make an offering to bojango because i believe in the spirits of the sea they look after us they protect us from illness they heal us when we’re in pain or have a headache i go see bojango for all of this [Music] is to be a man of the sea i can’t live without it or away from it it’s different from people living on dry land they’re not like us they don’t work on the sea they don’t have the same relationship with the ocean you can shoot all kinds of fishes with this gun especially the ones living among corals they’re hard to catch with nets when i dive i can go where regular fishermen can’t it’s um it’s an advantage the badahouse honor the ocean that feeds and protects them a free space shared by everyone without fences or title deeds to find food one has only but to dive in areas full of fish often located near the coral reef surrounding the archipelago [Music] the turquoise water contains an incredible number of multi-colored fish almost 3500 species come to find shelter in this warm and shallow area the environmental impact of badaho fishermen is limited they only fish what they need to survive they free dive following ancient techniques passed down from generation to generation thanks to this some members of the community such as louder are able to go down deeply for several minutes it’s all about the legs trick if you want to go down properly you have to make circular movements like pedaling and pushing with your legs at the same time i usually dive up to 22 meters deep i can stay underwater up to five minutes but it’s difficult to hold my breath for so long in our community i’m seen as a good fisherman not all banjos are able to stay underwater for such a long time my father was pretty good at it i hope one day my son will be a good fisherman too louder continues to dive whilst his son and father watch over him he’s gathering the fish he needs to feed his family as the day ends it’s time to head back home [Music] louder doesn’t need a map or compass he knows every nook and cranny of the coast the long shape of a creek the shape of a hill or the color of the seabed are his landmarks sometimes he leaves the village for several days hoping for a good catch but even if he goes away from the village his knowledge of the coast allows him to always find the way home good job boys it’s a good catch most of today’s catch is shared amongst family and friends the rest will be sold on the market the village women take care of that the market is located on the big island in front of sempela it’s one of the few opportunities badahoes have to meet people from the land louder thinks both populations are on good terms but the villages still perceive the badahouse as nomads as sea gypsies on the market the fish is sold from bottom to top from the boats to the docks people from the land dominating people from the sea the symbol perhaps another characteristic only women come this is no job for a man men fish and women sell what they bring back and that’s a good thing too since they’re not very skilled with money is more a girl thing then we use the money from the sales to purchase rice bananas and coconuts to cook although the bad hoes still move around to fish their sedentary life puts a limit on their freedom of yore the houses on stilts are like boats standing still that allows them to keep alive the deep connection they have with the ocean their nomadic life is now a fading memory that only the village elders still remember [Music] once upon a time we used to live on boats life was much tougher then finding something to eat wasn’t easy we followed the fish to be able to eat we knew where they were but sometimes we were wrong and so we had nothing left to eat it’s different today you can always find something to eat it’s not something you’re constantly obsessed about you find fish everywhere on the market your neighbors give you some i honestly wouldn’t wish for anyone to go back to that time life is much better today [Music] by settling down the bada hoes have improved their life conditions even the strong rains that come without warning are easier to deal with when living in houses rather than on boats located a couple of degrees south of the equator sempela adapts its rhythms to the sudden and violent storms but rain isn’t a disaster here rather a moment to rest the villagers gather inside the houses to take shelter every generation joins in this moment of peace is an opportunity to relax and talk with the family the women cook they prepare the fish for everyone privacy doesn’t really exist in badaho houses they all live together in a place shaken by the wind and with a floor open to the sea this floor is really handy i can just throw away peelings and fish leftovers it’s easy to clean and it’s also a way for us to feel the see freedom is very important for us even though we’re living in a village we feel like nomads we can leave everything behind and go out at sea [Music] we’re happy to live in houses but if we have to leave sempila tomorrow that won’t be an issue that’s what it means to be a badger to feel free [Music] living with the badahouse in sempela is an opportunity to discover a people passionate about the sea they are ready to make any sacrifice to maintain their connection with it their willingness to build their future together with the ocean around them is [Music] admirable you


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Indonesia: Ancient nomadic people living on stilts | SLICE
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