There are now four resorts being built across the street from our house; many changes have taken place since we’ve moved in some short 6 months ago. The forest behind our house has been chopped away to cultivate gardens, many of which are just rotting away – the demand is too little for the crops is too little – with more forest being cleared down the road from us, and now two more resorts being developed across the street.
The hill beside our house is being torn down; the dirt used to fill in the low spots of this new resort bed.
They also claim to be building a “Pondok Pesantren” or Islamic Boarding School, in the forest behind our house. Our landlord, a Muslim Papuan, was given our current house (where we now live) in exchange for the use of his land as a site for the school.
We hope (and pray) that the school will include courses such as math, geography and English (some modern schools do) and not only teaching of the Quran/Arabic/Muslim history and way of life.
This is just a small example of the “development” happening in Raja Ampat – there are many new resorts from incoming Indonesian and Chinese investors are being built on the beaches between Waisai and Saporkreng, and as am I writing this, the irritating drone of a chainsaw is gnawing away at another part of forest nearby… soon the natural part of Raja Ampat – the “Last Paradise” will be lost.