Monday, December 12, 2016

CONVERSATIONS WITH A RINJANI PORTER


If you look to the right of this page, ' Conquer Mt. Rinjani ' is right there on my to-do's. It's an active volcano in Indonesia, with the crater sunken into a lake. I knocked it off the bucketlist a couple months back. 


There are zero facilities on Mt. Rinjani so the only comforts you have are what you can take with you. It's near impossible doing this trek yourself ; you have to hire porters to carry your tents and food. 



Powered by Tim Tam.


***

The night before our trek, we stayed at Senaru - a small village in the highlands just next to Rinjani. It is commonly used as the base for trekkers raring to go up the mountain. Aside from the few hostels and warungs to eat, there really isn't much else to do in Senaru. There is not much emphasis on schooling and there are no ways for teenagers / young adults to and interact and socialize which involves hobbies, learning, leisure, etc. There had been a wedding in the village of Senaru right before we started our expedition, and I was talking about it with my porter (who was born in Senaru).

Me: So how do young adults meet others in Senaru? 
Porter: Well you know, you hang out with your friends around town then you see a girl with her friends. You ask your friends if they know any of her friends, you add her on Facebook and start chatting then you ask her if she wants to hang out. Then over time you guys become a thing and maybe get married after a couple of years.
Me: Lol lol lol lol lol



Quiet highland village of Senaru. 


***
Porter: You know, I used to work an office job in Mataram (the biggest town in Lombok). But I decided to leave and become a porter instead.
Me: Why?
Porter: I prefer working as a porter because unlike the office job I don't have to deduct expenses for food and commute to work. Another plus point is all the interesting people I meet and take up the mountain. Besides that, in an office I used to receive a fixed salary per month of IDR 1,800,000 (RM550~ / USD140~). As a porter, you get paid for each trip you make up the mountain so your salary all depends on how fit you are and how hard you can work. In a month I make an average of 8 trips and receive IDR 3,500,000 (Rm1200~ / USD265~) including tips. 
Me: What do you do with your money? 
Porter: I save it at home. (There are no banks in Senaru)
Me: Yeah, but there's only so much paper notes you can hoard. What do you do when it comes to a certain amount?
Porter: Oh! Hmm, we invest it in assets when we have enough.
Me: Investments and assets? Interesting! Tell me more. What do you invest in?
Porter: We buy a calf, then we rear it for a while and sell it when it's big enough.
Me: How much does a calf cost?
Porter: About IDR 5,000,000 (RM1500~ / USD 400~)
Me: How long does it take to rear it to a fully grown cow and how much can you sell it for?
Porter: It takes about 1.5 years and we sell it for IDR 15,000,000 (RM4500~ / USD1200~)

Me thinking in my head
* So it takes them 1.5 years to generate an ROI of 200%? That's actually a really kickass investment strategy! *


That big red blob is actually me pondering life on the summit of Mt. Rinjani.