Our House and our Businesses are Destroyed by the Earthquake in Lombok
On the 5th of August just before 7PM a big Earthquake 7.0 happened in the north of Lombok. There are no words to describe this experience. Immediately afterwards the power went off and there hasn’t been electricity since. There were quite a few aftershocks and for 90 minutes there was a tsunami warning. The whole experience was quite scary but we didn’t had much time to think or panic. Our small boutique hotel Villa Nangka is located at almost the highest point of Gili Air. A good place to be. We decided to gather everyone at the field next to our property and start providing blankets, pillows, water and beer for everyone. Good thing we have a hotel ; -)
As soon as the sun was coming up on the 6th of August people wanted to get off the island as quick as possible and there was a big chaos at the harbor. Around 1PM most locals and tourist left to Lombok. We decided to stay as we knew the chaos would be even bigger in Lombok. And where would we go? Our home is here.
The situation at the moment is surreal. Our beautiful paradise is completely destroyed. Everything we worked so hard for over the last 3 years disappeared in less than a minute. There was another earthquake last night and we still keep having aftershocks.
The last 2 days we’ve been in survival mode and tried our best to look after everyone providing shelter, food and drinks for tourists and our friends. We set up a camp in the empty field next to Villa Nangka and have been sleeping under the stars. For now we have enough food and water and we run the generator every now and then to charge phones and torches. It’s incredible to see how quickly human beings can adapt to a new situation and try to make the best out of it.
Little by little, a little become a lot
I’m not the kind of person that like to hold my hand up but today I will put my pride aside; we need money to survive the next following months as we have to close Villa Nangka and our beloved Gili Shark Conservation Project and slowly start from scratch with rebuilding our dreams. Even though we have to close for an unknown time we want to keep all our staff. We are not providing just a job and a home for them but they are supporting their entire family with their salaries.
Staying strong & positive
We want to be strong and positive. With the help of our friends and family and you we will get through this, rebuild our little paradise and hopefully welcome you one day in Villa Nangka.
** A little bit about us **
Once upon a time, 2012 to be exact, a girl named Rose arrived on Gili Air and instantly fall in love with this magical island. She found a job as a scubadive instructor and started calling the ocean her office. She found an secret getaway in the middle of the island called Villa Nangka and started calling it her home. And there, under the Nangka tree, she fell in love again.
“ I didn't plan on falling in love with him. And I'm pretty sure he didn't plan on falling in love with me. But one day it was pretty clear that neither of us could control what was happening to us.”
The name of the man that stole my heart was Andreas. A freedive instructor that came to the island in the same year as I did.
In September 2015 we found out that Villa Nangka, the place that we both started calling our home, the place where we fell in love, is for sale. We looked at each other and started dreaming about how amazing it would be if we could buy the place.
We went from daydreaming to actively making plans and after two months of hard work we got the money together to buy our dream.
“For us buying the place where we fell in love and which we call our home away from home was a dream come true. Not only because it gave us the opportunity to offer people a unique place to stay on Gili Air but also because it gave us the opportunity to give something back to this island that gave so much to us.”
Giving back to the ocean and the local community
So imagine you just bought this amazing property on a small tropical island and you get the opportunity to use this property to give something back to the world. We started the Gili Shark Conservation Project; a grassroot conservation and data collection program that provides critical information that proves that we need to protect out sharks and our oceans.
To achieve this, we are gathering scientific data to prove that this area is in fact a shark nursery. We have 1 more year to gather this data before the policy makers reconvene and reexamine the parameters of the Gili Matra Marine Reserve. We have multiple projects that work towards this goal including underwater video surveillance, roving survey dives, photographic identification, and time lapse projects.
Besides spending a lot of time in the magical underwater world, we also love to be in the field and give back to the wonderful community of Gili Air by running a Plastic Free Paradise campaign to create awareness and reduce the use of single-use-plastic.