Flavours and stories of Timor’s Mollo highlands
Lakoat.Kujawas is a West Timorese literacy and archive centre that runs a monthly M’nahat Fe’u Heritage Trail (January to August) introducing travellers to the landscapes and food heritage of the North Mollo highlands.
The Heritage Trail trips are day trips, but an on-site homestay can be arranged for a small fee.
When the Heritage Trail is on hiatus, Lakoat.Kujawas hosts residency programmes for creative professionals and Timorese food workshops for travellers.
THE DIFFERENCE YOU MAKE
When you book a tour with Lakoat.Kujawas or shop via its social media accounts, you help to fund local children’s educational programmes like the To The Lighthouse writing club, photography exhibitions, and performing arts productions — activities that are otherwise scarce in rural Timor.
Revenues from the Lakoat.Kujawas tours, artisan food production, and tenun partnerships fund the Lakoat.Kujawas cooperative, which is a source of income for adult members.
The cooperative is designing a collective savings programme for Lakoat.Kujawas families.
Meet Dicky of Lakoat.Kujawas
Taiftob is a four-hour drive from Kupang, the largest city in West Timor and capital of NTT province.
Kupang’s El Tari International Airport has domestic flights from Jakarta, Surabaya and Denpasar (Bali), and international flights from Dili (Timor Leste).
Lakoat.Kujawas member Hendrik Tamelab drives a seven-seater car available for private charter, or as a shared shuttle — fares are usually not included in tour packages. Enquire with Lakoat.Kujawas.
About the host
For a small additional fee, Dicky’s parents provide two rooms in their family home as a homestay.
These rooms are shared with other guests; guests are far and few in between for now, but up to six may be staying with the Sendas at a given time.
Dicky’s father Ignasius Senda is a retired policeman of Flores origin, and mother Ferderika Kamlasi is a respected home cook and a master of old-school Timorese cuisine. They should be addressed as “Bapa (Senda)” and “Mama (Rika)” instead of by name.
Kapan has cold nights, especially between June to August, the Southern Hemisphere winter months. Bring a light jacket with plenty of light warm layers. You can also buy a local tenun scarf from Lakoat.Kujawas (for less than US$20), which also makes a good keepsake.
Although Heritage Trails are a day trip, do spend a few more days there and get to know the lovely community.
Lakoat.Kujawas plans to offer more homestay options in future. For off-site accommodation, inexpensive hotels are available a 30-minute drive away in Soe, the capital of South Central Timor regency.
Bring books to donate to the library. Good choices include Indonesian literature, illustrated encyclopaedias, illustrated school subject explainers, children story books, graphic memoirs of historical events, and books for learning simple English.