Although a few years old, observations from the article “Life on the Mentawai Islands” in The Guardian in 2010 are still true today.
Most noteworthy is the paragraph explaining the reasons for the islands’ poverty.
“The islands have been despoiled of enormous sums in resources by the loggers, fishermen from the outside who have used dynamite to plunder the stocks of the reefs, and a famous, although unregulated, surfing tourism industry. Yet 70% of island residents live below the poverty line, and barely 23% make it to the end of middle school, in part because half of the children are malnourished, with stunted growth.”
Much has been in the news recently of the reef bombing but little underlining the fact that it is not the local Mentawai people carrying out this insanity, but rather by people on boats from neighbouring Sumatra. The Mentawais and the their people have so much to offer, much of which has already been taken. It would be a crime if these islands and their people remain a pawn in other people’s desires.
For the full articles please click on the link below.