2 – 12 November 2009
We noticed from early on how different the sea gypsies from Wakatobi lived compared to their Bajau relatives from Sabah, Malaysia and the Philippines. The Bajo from Wakatobi reclaimed land and had sturdy houses on top of their new land. We heard from Sugi how complex the situation is because the new land comes from mined corals. It is a very sensitive issue and one we noticed and felt right away when we stoped to photograph the coral miners.
I had a long conversation with Sugi about his fears and hopes for conservation in this area. Wakatobi is 100% marine park divided into different take and no-take zones. He asked me, “See these two old women working so hard to earn a living? How do I tell them to stop what they may have been doing for many many years in the name of conservation?” He asked me a question I do not know the answer to.