0087 The Leper and the Indonesian
This is Randi Hacker with another Postcard from Abroad from the KU Centers for East Asian Studies and Global and International Studies.
Daeng Abu of Indonesia made money diving for abalone until he got leprosy which caused lasting damage to his eyes and limbs. Because people were afraid of his illness, he and his wife seized the chance to move to a barren island—believed to be haunted. For 44 years now, they have been reef champions. They protect turtle eggs and guide baby turtles to the ocean. Sea turtles are crucial to reef health because they eat algae that can kill coral. The couple dissuades fisherman from using cyanide and dynamite because it destroys coral. They teach people that “killing the coral kills the catch” and encourage everyone to protect nature. Despite his blindness, Abu works to preserve his memory of its beauty. Yeah. It’s another man-gets-leprosy-man-moves-to-desert-island-man-saves-coral-reef story. They never get old, do they?
With thanks to Jennifer Duhamel for this text, from the KU Center for East Asian Studies, this is Randi Hacker. Wish you were here.