Riung and the Otonomi Homestay

Enjoy a ‘’bright’’ tourism … come as VOLUNTEERS

Welcome to RIUNG!

For information contact:

Armando WA: +62 81 339 596 083/
or Gilles Tel. : +62 81 337 168 954

Email: donnacona50@yahoo.ca

Come and live a very unique experience !!! (Flores island, Indonesia)

Riung is located at arm length from a turquoise sea and, surrounded by 17 islands with white sand beaches, Riung is seen by the newcomers as an option on paradise…

Here, nature and calm come together with the warm climate of daily lifeThe sun rises on the sea and will set down far away behind the back of the mountains.

The exceptional quality of such an environment is also nurtured by the fact that the local people is composed in equal parts of Muslims and as many of Catholic faith, who share life together in harmony since generationsHere, a feeling of togetherness and of fraternity is an essential part of life and seems as ‘’natural’’ and ‘’easy going’’ as it is of our closeness with the sun and the seaWe all know it, the simple fact of smiling brightens our daily lifeCome and get on board

To the contrary of Labuan Bajo and its ‘’fool development’’ which – at the other end of Flores island – is taking the shape of a new Chinese Miami with new big sky rise hotels making shade to the natural panorama, here in Riung the daily life is still shared with the simple scale of human values.

So be it, the Otonomi Homestay is taking care of promoting this challenge with the people of Riung : we invite you to participate in an original nature-culture program of activities and projects making of our seaside villages and communities a model of development for the suite of the world

We offer you the adventure of an exceptional stay in Riung, if you wish to get on board – at your own rythm – to accompany some projects and activities of your choice such as :

Each Saturday morning

… with a group of school children we take a boat in direction of one of the 17 islands of Riung where we will clean the plastic trash from the white sand beaches and take care of the friendly environment in the Riung Marin Park.

It is also a given opportunity, after our collective lunch meal, for you to do some snorkeling and observe fishes and corals around the island and/or (if you prefer) to teach to the school children how to do snorkeling and get the passion to preserve their own small paradise.

Each Saturday morning, it is a ‘’rendez-vous’’, a nice experience to share

Each Wednesday morning

… with our Master Diver Acang accompanied with a group of young adults involved for the protection of their mother land, we take the direction of the most beautiful ‘’spots’’ of corals where our team – diving and snorkeling – will assume the follow-up of their corals maintenance and cleaning program, as much as the transplantation of new corals at designated locations identified in our ‘’corals regeneration master plan’’It is also the occasion given to improve the data bank of ‘’reef check’’ listing all the families of fishes, types of corals and species of invertebrates to be encountered in our Riung Marin Park.

A very unique sens of belonging, and for sure the feeling of freedom riding hair blowing in the wind on this turquoise sea together with the members of a young team proud of the commitments of their generation and easy to let go spontaneous laughs.

Each Wednesday, this community project dedicated to the maintenance and reproduction of corals and reef checks are offered to you as a sure road to friendship

Tuesday and/or Thursday

… are dedicated each week to a program to be implemented in the surrounding villages with the local families : the collect of ‘’plastic trash’’ street by street, hamlet by hamlet.

The original idea to make a success of such a program was simple, just needed to think ‘’out of the box’’ and go further than copying the usual models of ‘’recycling trash’’ as imported from NGO’s of western countries. Simply put, the Otonomi ‘’perspective’’ was asking to think about the basic needs of our people at the same time we wanted to ‘’clean their environment’’.

So we have initiated in partnership with the communities an ‘’exchange program’’: two kilos of plastic trash is exchanged for one kilo of rice !!!

Such is this weekly field trip to the villages, often taking the shape of a big party, a ‘’happening’’, with a lot of fun and laughs with our local leaders and the families involved. But we do not forget the importance of the tasks at hand: not only the surrounding of their houses and the side of the street have to be taken care of, but as a common goal there should be known and remembered that the mangroves on the sea side are the oxygen providers for all life, human, fish and corals, and the plastic trash piling in the mangroves will not disappear and continue to pill up, up to the moment we organize a ‘’Big Tuesday’’ of mangroves cleaning…

Indeed, Tuesday and/or Thursday you have a ‘’rendez-vous’’ with life in the villages… and let me tell you that it is ‘’very typical’’ and you are welcome to this other side of our strange planet…

Other activities and projects to discover

… Otonomi suggest that you meet some of our local partners and go with them ‘’fishing in a traditional canoe’’ to be shared with a fisherman of M’Barungkeli village;

on the other hand, if you prefer to stay on land, we can guide you to all the stages of the transformation of coco nuts from the harvest of the palm tree to the traditional production of ‘’coconut cooking oil’’, as initiated by a Farmers local Coop in the village of Thado ; as we say in French, in our program there are different activities and at least ‘’one for each taste’’… for example, if you want to be invited to an elementary or secondary school to bring your ‘’personal contribution’’ in a class during the English conversation course, it would be a very positive activity for the kids, helping them to ‘’break the distance’’ between each of them and the tourists coming to the Riung area And I’m sure you will enjoy this occasion to open up with the spontaneity of Riung children ;

accordingly, if you are interested to discover the traditional culture of the Riung people, two days a week at the end of the afternoon at the ‘’Pesona Youth Community Center’’ there are courses and practice of traditional dansing proper to the ancestors culture which is still alive in the Riung area (the open space of the Youth Community Center welcomes you, a lot of activities are happening there, from ‘’English courses to computer classes, karaoke and the sky is the limit… (interesting to note that the name of the Community Center as ‘’Pesona’’ in the Indonesian language means ‘’Marvelous’’) ;

but, if by a gift of the gods, you would prefer to give some ‘’activity’’ to your muscles by taking the shovel and mixing some sand, rocks and cement powder … our Otonomi water projects technical team always have some projects going on in the area, either to finalize the installation of a water distribution pipe line in a village, or to build a big ‘’Reservoir’’ to guarantee water distribution flowing, or simply being involved to build a sanitary complex and toilets for an elementary school…

For sure the contribution of an additional pair of arms is always welcomeBy the way, you will appreciate that the ‘’fraternal’’ spirit bringing together the team and local volunteers at the working place is always part of the real deal for a working day ;

Moreover, it should be remembered that one of the most successful projects going on and on with Otonomi is the creation of ‘’model gardens’’ once water flows in the villages of the dry areas…

For those of you who have a ‘’green thumb’’, just give us a couple of hours in those ‘’model’’ gardens and our local guys will be so grateful and happy to be with you and share the moment in their small gardens …

And what about our Homestay Otonomi in Riung?

For those of you, passing by Riung, who will join this ‘’tourism and volunteer program’’ sharing some time, energy and pleasure in our different activities on the ground, we will provide you access to the ‘’chic and swell’’ Homestay Otonomi (good large rooms with air conditioned) to a minimum price of *Rp100,000 by night (only if indeed you intervened as a ‘’volunteer’’ at least half a day in the project or activity of your choice) Please note that you also have access to the ‘’collective’’ kitchen of the Otonomi Riung Homestay if you prefer to cook yourself instead of going to the restaurant… (*Rp100,000 = +- $ 6.50 US / night, breakfast included)

Short story out of it : Riung is waiting for you, hopefully you will join our team of multinational ‘’warmly inspired’’ eco-volunteers… such is Otonomi.

Welcome to RIUNG!

For information contact:

Armando WA: +62 81 339 596 083/
or Gilles Tel. : +62 81 337 168 954

Email: donnacona50@yahoo.ca

An experience to share, an unforgetable trip

The ‘’Program Otonomi’’ – initiated on Flores island in the year 2,000 by the Québec (Canada) writer and activist Gilles Raymond – is strong of very deep roots in the heart of the Riung people.

Indeed, in the ‘’wide area’’ of Riung with its 12 villages, we already have installed water access systems from springs located far away in the mountains to communities which were deprived of drinking water such as the villages of Marotauk, Damu, Ruki, Taenterong, Benteng Tengah, M’Boras, Thado, Wangka Selatan and Latung.

Our main concern was to start from the very basic and essential need : without water access, no development possible For Gilles, after 22 years well spent in the midst of Flores families, the significant words come easily : ‘’water is more than water, it is a blood vessel which brings us to the heart of the people’’.

One day at a time : follow-up of our projects in Riung

The gods given Riung area, on Flores island in Indonesia, have the potential to be recognized as a world renown Ecotourism destinationSuch is the aspiration to improve for a better life in our small fishermen communities and villages.

In the Otonomi ‘’language’’, our ‘’strategy’’ refers to a very concrete talk to be walked uponVery simply, a strategy comes to life from a vision intended to bring together different ‘’players’’ and different projects on the same field, being part of and sharing the same action plan according to concrete targets to be delivered within the rhythm of a common agenda of implementation.

So, this proposal submitted to you is part of such togethernessAs a matter of fact your stay in Riung means more than the usual superficial tourist agenda to go snorkeling or diving in proximity to the white sand beaches of the Riung 17 islands

We welcome you to our nature-culture program, all ears to what you have to say coming as a volunteer in our ‘’space for life’’

Please take note that our ‘’plastic trash recycling project’’ is part of a well integrated development program, meaning that it is linked to the activity of ‘’maintenance and transplantation of coral reefs’’ held each WednesdayFrom that point on, our target is larger than the activity of cleaning only the 17 islands and the surrounding villages but also intends to address the major problem of plastic pollution accumulating layer over layer of trash in the precious mangroves by the sea shore.

As part of the same story and being as important as this menacing plastic pollution, we also take into account the ‘’human factor’’, including (1) our concern for the weakness and fragile livelihood of the fishermen’s families in the dry Riung area and (2) seeing that ‘’in the time there is a changing’’ we give a chance to the involvement of the young generation

Welcome to Riung and help us protect the pure beauty of the 17 islands