As a long-term nomad, I have stayed in a LOT of different places. One of the most memorable was a homestay on Ataúro Island in Timor-Leste.
Families on Ataúro are opening their homes to visitors in an effort to generate a new income stream for their community, which is in the midst of change. I spent two weeks in a homestay on Ataúro while working with conservation NGO Blue Ventures last spring.
Read my story about this experience and meet a few of these pioneering families on the Blue Ventures’ blog Beyond Conservation.
On a bright quiet morning last May, a boat and its captain rested patiently on the tropical seas around Ataúro Island in Timor-Leste. A reflection of the island’s rugged coastline glimmered on the water’s glasslike surface as three orange buoys glided silently along, marking the presence of scuba divers from conservation NGO Blue Ventures. As the captain monitored the seas, the divers explored Watu Aii, a sloping reef with a dense flourish of colorful corals and lively fish.
It seemed a sleepy morning, until a riot of hoots and hollers erupted near one of the buoys. One voice rose above the others shouting, “Mola mola! Mola mola!”
This is the beginning of a story I wrote for Blue Ventures after spending six weeks as a volunteer in Timor-Leste. Amos’ family has relied on the sea for their food and livelihood for generations, but he believes they must now look to a new future. To continue reading about his journey of becoming a scuba diver and conservation advocate, please visit the Blue Ventures’ blog.