It felt like entering an oasis. My perpetually busy mind slowly dissipated. Turning into a childlike awe, as I walked the stone path up the hill to enter Boti – the last kingdom in West Timor.
This hidden village is one of the last communities on the island that still practices the indigenous beliefs (‘Adat’). A way of life that is deeply connected with Nature, one that I was very curious about.
Here, life is communal. And I couldn’t help to notice how self-sufficient the village is. Governed by a king who is responsible for the community’s wellbeing and protection. Every day, they work together growing all their needs, from herbal nourishments to cotton for weaving.
What they need, Nature provides. And for hundreds of years, they never even had once a bad harvest.
As I sat there on the King’s porch overlooking the lush settlements, I wondered what made this possible. And when he finally answered, the simplicity of it still haunts me until today:
“Kita jaga Alam, Alam jaga kita.”
Without Nature, there is no life. That when we take care of it, it takes care of us.
From taking to giving back. This reciprocal relationship is what led us to this island 2 years ago, as we expand our Mama Kapas program to Eastern Indonesia. Helping women farmers scale their indigenous cotton tradition to change how our clothes are being grown and made.
Finally being here after coordinating remotely through the pandemic made me realize how much we still have to learn. From something simple as how the free-range cows love to eat cotton plants (must build higher fences to protect next year’s harvest) - to challenging what our modern society considers as progress (is more really more?).
To me, this truly is the soul of our work. That through something simple as what you wear today, we are connected to something bigger. The soil where the materials are from. The sun and rain that nourished the cotton. The hands that guarded this culture for generations.
And the ripple effects our choice can have.
Imagine the change that can happen if we bring this mindset beyond our wardrobe. In the lives of others and the health of our planet. What will your life look like then?
Your nerd who cares,
P.S. This is one of the culprits who ate our cotton for breakfast, lunch and dinner :')