What’s your name?
How did we meet each other?
You came as a guest to our shop in Labuan Bajo and I ended up becoming your tour guide on a 3 days boat trip.
When and where were you born?
I was born in Ruteng on the island of Flores on the 19th of January 1981.
Did something important happen the year you were born?
I cant remember anything right now.
Where is your family from? Do you have brothers and sisters?
Both from Ruteng. Yes I have 14 brothers and sisters. My father had 4 different wives. 3 at the same time at some stage. My mother had 4 children with my father.
Do you know why your parents decided to call you Marta?
They are Catholic and in Flores people named their children after the calendar from the church. But not everybody call me Marta, most of the people including my mother call me Ica.
How do you make a living?
I’m working as a guide and also community project manager for the company Wicked Adventures.
Which NGOs or projects have you been involved in Indonesia?
Swisscontact, WWF, eco Flores and wickedgood.
Have you been facing big challenges in your life so far?
Yes and I overcome every challenge every time. For example I survived the big riots in 2001 in Lombok when the Muslims chased the Christians and threw stones at us. They burned 7 churches and several houses. So after this I stayed in a refugee camp for one month before the government sent us home. Once I finally came back home I found out my father had died and nobody had told me.
I also survived a very heavy road accident in 2012 and left the hospital only 7 days after as I felt I would die there if I did not move on. (Ed: Marta was riding a scooter when a car bumped into her from behind. She hit a tree and her helmet came off. She ended up with 27 stitches on her skull, broken face bone and a broken leg and arm and was in a short coma. She then had heavy memories loss for 6 months).
What do you like the most about your country? What do you like the least?
I like the beautiful people and the panorama. I hate the government.
I always say that I was born in heaven until you see the idiots that run this country.
A place in Flores that you would like to recommend and why?
I like Moni. It is not massively exploited like Labuan Bajo.
In Indonesia in general, I recommend you visit Aceh. It is a very special place. The tradition there is to roast everything with marijuana as it is considered one of the best medicinal plants. So you’ll see that however people are mostly Muslim they roast their coffee or buffalo meat with marijuana.
Is there something in the actual world that gives you hope?
I think people remain too silent in general. When something happens on a big scale, people run away. I think people should step up and fight back on time when things begin to happen.
But I think that while you still breathe, you hope.