We were all having the time of our life! A group of 4 friends on a paradise island named Lombok with beautiful beaches, kind people, delicious food, good weather, and all the amazing things you can imagine.
Soon COVID-19 started to be a global problem and not just a simple virus. So we had to make a hard decision, going back to our countries, as advised or staying in Lombok.
Before going on with our story (you can already guess the answer 😁) let us present ourselves.
Sara - Paulo - Liza - Tiago
We are all longtime friends, but this is the first time we went traveling together. We love Nature, Surfing, and eating Tempeh so being "stuck" in Lombok seemed like a really good deal for us. On the other side, we didn't know what consequences this pandemic could bring.
We didn’t know if the locals would be fine having us still here. We didn’t know if our families would support our decision and we didn't know if Lombok would be prepared to face COVID-19.
So we had a lot to think about! First, we spoke to our families. They were skeptical but in the end they supported our decision. Thank you families 😁
Secondly, we had to figure out if the locals would be ready to have us as the “extended guests”. Fast we could understand, that this is the time they need us the most! We spent one night talking and discussing all the pros and cons and…………(drum rolls)...…………..
We decided to stay!
Everything changed very fast. Within one week, after we made our decision, almost all the tourists escaped back to their countries and there were no more people getting to Lombok. Although we were happily safe, we saw that instantly a lot of shops, restaurants, and small businesses were closing due to the lack of tourism.
A high season without tourism?
A financial catastrophe for all the locals around us. Seeing all of this happening was heartbreaking and we started to wonder how we could help this lovely community.
Of course, by staying here we were already supporting the local restaurants and accommodation but this was still not enough. One day, after surfing there was this local woman selling some handmade products on the beach:
Beautiful Sarong towels, cute shell bracelets, and Rattan accessories. Every Piece was different. She told us that she didn’t sell anything during the whole day yet. “No Tourists, no business“ she said.
That was when we realized it!
We have to help them by selling their lovely products! With our knowledge and tools, we decided to create an online selling platform for their products. This will be the bridge between the local artisans and the rest of the world while the real tourism is shut down. This is our way to help.
We started exploring the local products and we fell even more in love with all the amazing people and the things they can do!
We created a website and a brand that we call "Sasak Market".
But what is Sasak?
Here a short explanation about Sasak:
Sasak is the name of the people that live mainly on the island of Lombok, Indonesia, numbering around 3.6 million (85% of Lombok's population).
They are related to the Balinese (from Bali Island) in language and ancestry, although the Sasak are predominantly Muslim while the Balinese are predominantly Hindu. According to local tradition, it is believed that the word Sasak came from sa'-saq which means "the one". Sasak people mainly live from agriculture, fishing, and crafts.
Was it easy to enter these villages, you ask?
Driving through one of the main roads, we passed by two of the main Sasak villages from the South of Lombok: Sade Village and Ende Village.
Due to the COVID-19 situation, these villages are not able to receive any tourists and can’t share their beautiful community and products.
Luckily from outside we could see some of the amazing Sasak architecture. We especially liked the big structure called "Lumbung", made of natural materials like bamboo and straw, giving a nice rustic style to the village.
There was a man in front of the Sade village that gave us some more information and told us that they do a lot of handcrafts but right now they can not let anyone visit the village.
With the help of some local friends and some calls in Sasak, we were able to meet someone from the village that exclusively brought the products to us.
Together we chose the best quality products from the villages and from the island, all eco-friendly and 100% handmade from the Sasak people.
See the products we chose for you.
Finally today we are launching our first Blog post to everyone. We hope to give you a good insight of Lombok and the Sasak vibe, and that together we can support these lovely people.