3 August 2009

Ollong family in Hila

On invitation we visit the Ollong family in Hila village on the north shore of Ambon island. First we are met by mr. and mrs. Ollong, who are both born in or near Hila and moved to the Netherlands after the independence of Indonesia. Their youngest son is Riad, born and educated in the Netherlands and since three years living in Hila. He has set up a nutmeg processing business. Farmers from the area of Ambon and from Banda bring their nutmegs to the big sheds behind the house in Hila. There are several wooden dryers to get the wet out of the fruits. The nutmeg fruit contains one hard nut, covered with a red thin layer of the 'flower'. The red parts are processed for the foelie, the nuts itself will be grinded sooner or later for the nutmeg. The foelie has to be checked very intensely and every day 20-30 ladies are working on that.

At 4 o'clock working time is over and because one of the nieces of Riad celebrates her birthday, the ladies can't resist the music for the children's party and start dancing in the garden behind the family house. Also Mariet has to show her talents.

With Riad we visit the Fortress Amsterdam, a fysic remnant of the Dutch occupation of Ambon in the time of the spice trade. It is interesting how a young Dutch entrepreneur with Moluccan roots is working now in the spice trade himself.

Another five minutes' ride with the 'ojek' (betjak) and we arrive at a still older monument: a small mosque, originally build in 1414 en removed in 1664 to the new location. It has a beautifully thatched roof (with leaves of the sagopalm) and all natural building materials. Except for the loudspeaker (and cassette-tape) that have replaced, as in many mosques, the muezzin who calls five times a day the moslims to prayer.

Slideshow Hila