PHOTOGRAPHS I SALLY CONDRO
Desa Sasak Ende is the cover story of the seventh volume of the international edition of think archipelago magazine. It followed Sally Condro’s account on her visit to a cultural heritage site in West Nusa Tenggara. Go to the archive section to read the whole magazine.
The native village of Sasak Ende, two hours ride from the city center of Lombok, has been a major international tourism destination in this island.
It is an expansion of the tourism-oriented rural area project, following the success of Desa Sade, where hundreds of household have thrived there relying mostly on selling souvenirs and hand-woven fabrics.
Other villages where the conservation of clothing, house types, language, and even way of life are conditioned in such a similar model, are Tetebatu and Sukarara. These tourism villages are all located in the Special Economic Zone of Mandalika, a tourism economy model of West Nusa Tenggara province. So far the national policy seemed to have worked.
The near absence of trash along the road and in the vicinity is an evidence just how serious the local administration takes the steps to keep the prime status of this place of interest.
After enjoying the long stretch of stunning paddy fields scenery, visitors arrived in the village and welcomed by the village chief. His short introduction about the village was a useful narration to understand the living condition and the local custom.
He told that life in Desa Sasak Ende is always in harmony with nature. Cows and calves are regarded an asset of high value. These animals live under the same roof with the village inhabitants.
The locals perceive them as true partners and deserve an exceptional reverence. Everything that comes from cows must be put to use efficiently. In an extreme instance, cow dung is used to harden the floor in each house.
The dried cow dung left no foul stench. The inhabitants also hold a philosophy of mutual respect that is symbolised in the typically short front doors placed in every house.
By bowing your way down into the house, you pay respect to the host. It goes the same with the host welcoming a guest at the door way.