Gili Trawangan, ground to a halt very suddenly in mid-March when all fast boats were cancelled in hope to prevent the spread of the global virus pandemic.
In the first few weeks whilst Gili Trawangan, and many regions of Indonesia, weren’t on an official lock down, local heads and Local Groups on Gili ensured the security, disinfecting and checking entries all around the island, as well as the businesses took serious measures and safe precautions independently to close down, self-isolate and send staff home to their villages. The island has been reduced to having a few cafes and warungs open, empty beaches and no bars open or music late at night. Numbers on the island are at an almost all time low, the island itself is on lock down, with strict measures restricting travel to and from Lombok to just boats full of food and petrol supplies.
We are using this time as safely and productively as possible in hope that when the times comes to reopen again, we can all be proud of a sustainable clean and greener island for tourists to enjoy long into the future!
Our final Debris Free Friday was free of beer, but we still managed to clean 75kg with around 25 volunteers! 😊 Since then, we have started a virtual campaign of Find It Fill It. Discouraging people to meet up in groups and gatherings, doesn’t mean we still can’t keep our island clean! Gili Islanders simply take their own bags to the beach, carry out a short beach clean and take photos and send in the results. We hope this inspires more people to start cleaning small scale areas, while the photos sent in are truly inspiring to us!
With no tourists and snorkel day boats, comes a phenomenal reduction in boats anchoring on the coral reefs daily, the reefs are getting a short chance to recover, and fish, turtles and underwater wildlife are enjoying silent reefs, with no noise pollution from boat engines and no divers around! The reefs are truly flourishing and are enjoying a well-deserved rest and recovery period. Sadly the increase in fishing and illegal fishing activities has skyrocketed. The marine authorities, like everyone else, have closed and are not allowed to patrol. Many of the local fisherman that had reformed to tourism for an alternative and more sustainable income have had to turn back to fishing, simply to have food on the table each day.
Regreening and treeplanting
Being forced to spend more time on land rather than under the sea, we are aiming to make Gili greener and more rich than ever before. Suparman spends his days tending to the tree nursery, and spent his birthday with his favoruite hobby – planting trees! His mission, by the time the island opens again: To plant a new green layer of trees all around the dump to seal in bad smells, sights and purify the ground of the island’s central. If you have time to help, pop into his pizzeria and find out what the weekly activities are!
Every member of the tourism industry effectively lost their jobs overnight. We have been encouraged to stay at home, so we are helping islanders to take the garden, start planting and making small vegetable patches, great for the mind, great for the soil, great for the stomach! We are still selling bags of compost suitable for potting seeds and plants in your garden, and also small vegetable plants such as tomatoes, chillis, eggplant and cucumbers!
Reduced waste collections + grass hunting
Daily waste collections of the FMPL have been reduced with business closures, and our staff force has gone from 32 local collectors and recyclers to just 7. Struggling to pay their salaries with little donations and rubbish pick up payments coming in, we have reduced work force, sent staff home to be with their families, and tried to cut all outgoings down to a minimum.
The trash ponies and their food and nutrition is now a big priority. The motorcars have been put into storage, but we can’t do the same for our trash ponies! Our dear friends at the STUD horseriding adventures have started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for horse food, pellets and grass as the rainy season finally eases off and grass isn’t so easy to find and cut on Gili or you can donate to help feed the island horses and our rubbish ponies via PAYPAL.
Our resident cat lady is working around the clock fostering and nursing countless litters of kittens, whilst working together with a team of passionate individuals to monitor and feed cats that previously were fed at warungs, scraps from bins (even these are empty now!) or owners who had to leave unexpectedly. We are now kindly asking for any donations possible to continue to buy food for Trawangan’s cats and ensure the other Gili Island communities have a good stock of cat food also.
We hope to see you soon!
We are aiming for a beautiful green and clean island when it is safe to open to tourists again – and if you are still on the island isolating… YOU can help us!
If you love Gili Trawangan as much as we do, and would like to donate to islanders in need then please check out:
Gili Eco Trust – prioritizing funds to feed the rubbish ponies whilst waste pick-ups at a minimum and STUD riding ponies – the only ethical horse riding company on Gili T.
Pituq – raising money for food parcels to impoverished/unemployed struggling in Lombok
Cats of Gili – feeding island strays and abandoned cats. Now it is Ramadan, even warungs are closed in the day of existing islanders.