Bena Village is one of those stops on the Flores Island tour in Indonesia that we found wonderful and surprising. The village is maintained as traditional, but people really do live and work there, mostly as weavers.
The thing is, the people are truly wonderful.
There was a moment when our guides were helping Tim down some slippery stone steps and he slipped. Everyone had been watching and a collective gasp went up, then, when Tim got to his feet, everyone cheered.
On our way out, I no-language chatted with one of the women, Maria. She thought that both Tim was a good man, and that it’s good I was looking out for him. Don’t ask how she got that across with no common language, but she did.
Bena Village is a cultural stop on your tour through paradise – and I truly mean that, Flores is a paradise – and it’s well worth your time.
I saw kids walking to school along the roadside and I wondered if they realized that they were attending school in paradise. I’m sure they didn’t see it that way, but that just shows you how perceptions are so relative. What I saw as paradise, they probably just think of as plain old home.
Of course, I’m sure paradise still has its challenges, but it is gorgeous to visit.
Oh, and the blind flute player in the video is awesome. After this traditional song, he played a couple of western-style favorites. To be honest, we liked the traditional songs better – when played on his flute.
I don’t know if he plays for everyone, or if he had a special affinity for Tim, with them both being blind and all. Word of another blind guy travels around a village fast.
Pro Traveler Tip: In the case of the Flores Island tour. If you have the option, skip Todo Village. It’s overpriced and seems to exist only to separate tourists from their money. Bena Village is much more pleasant and authentic.