The island Gili Gede and her people
One can walk around the island Gili Gede (translation: the big small island) in 6 hours. A kind of walking road, partly paved, is around the island. There is no motorized traffic, except the boats on the sea. There are 4 bigger villages and 4 smaller villages. The total number of inhabitants is 1500 people. There is a head of the island (kepala dessa Gili Gede) supported by heads of the small villages (kepala dusuns).
There is one big school hosting 200 students from 6 up to 14 years old. The education level is low and learning tools are limited. Secondary education is only possible for children from families with more income and who having family on mainland willing to house the children Most of the teachers work on voluntary base. There is one paid head master and two other paid professionals.
Also there is a health post on the island, recently open in 2011, special for consultation and checking the health of pregnant woman and young children.
Most inhabitants live from fishing, pearl farming, small shops and public boat transport between the island and the mainland. For the women it is very hard to find work, many girls often marry young at the age of 17.
In the future employability in tourism will increase hopefully in a responsible way. At the moment (2015) are 4 resorts on Gili Gede. But in near future there will be a lot more! A lot of investors already start buying and even building for increasing touristindustry.
At the moment there are no restaurants at the islands, so guests are bound to eat at the resorts, but of course welcome to buy and to try local caught fish(tongkol) grilled above coconutwood fire. And in some villages some women try to earn a living to sell some fried bananas and some other small dishes.
Some people earn their money with gold mining on the main land. But many people are already killed by irresponsible mining. So we hope knowledge and awareness about the consequences of gold mining for the life of humankind, quality of well water and nature will grow and effect the politics.
The religion on Gili Gede is mainly islam, with animistic Sasak influences. People of Gili Gede are very open, spontaneous, curious and kind to visitors. And guests are very welcome to attend several celebrations and events.
And all love to learn English!!