The story of Dany and Upik, two boys who did not grow up with much but are now on the way to owning

Dany and Upik are two of the first people that I met during my own travels to this part of Sumbawa. Before the idea of Fair Nomad was even born, we were camping and surfing together on some of the most beautiful and untouched beaches I have ever seen through my own travels.

Even back then, they would continuously impress me. It is seldom that I have met two individuals with such a good work ethic and who never complain about anything. In between surfing sessions, one of them would always be cleaning or arranging something while the other was cooking or en route to gather supplies for us. Never once did either one of them ask for anything in return, bar for the company of a bule (foreigner) to improve their English and learn more about the western world.

All through my first stay in the area, I had noticed that most of the local kids I saw in the water, when they managed to get some time off from school or their laboring jobs, only had what appeared to be snapped surfboards that had been roughly put back together. So one evening, after another lavish meal with the boys, we were trading stories in front of a fire and I asked them where the other kids got those boards from. Upik told me that sometimes he manages work for the only russian-owned and run B&B in the area for miles, Whales and Waves. An Aussie guide, employed full time by Whales and Waves, called Bradley, sometimes snaps his boards and when he does he gives them to Upik who then carries out his own repairs as best he can in order to give the broken boards to his local friends who surf but could never in a million years afford their own board. He then confessed to me that everything he knows about fixing boards he learnt from trial and error and that the boards he fixes often snap again - he then dropped his head and said that his dream was to learn how to fix boards professionally and have his own surf ding repair shop. Dany, who was sitting next to us, turned to us and said that he too would give anything to do something similar. It was clear that the both of them were desperate to escape having to move to Maluk and find a job in the mines for one of the big extraction companies.

Little did the both of them know, during my stay in Bali before and after the Sumbawa chapter, I broke a few boards myself and made a point to find the best, most cost-effective guy out there to fix my gear. This is when I met Hary, from Pecatu Bali. Not only were his jobs always at a fair price, but he was notorious with all the other fixers and shapers in the area for the quality of his work and his prices. They all hated him! I will always remember one particular instance with Hary when I had snapped my only longboard at Ulus; Hary was asking me for 700k IDR for a fix, which was close to the price of a second hand short board. I sat on the floor in front of his shop for ten minutes pondering my next move when he walked up and said: "Can I give you some advice brother?" - I looked at him quizzically and replied "Yes of course". He sat next to me, offered me a cigarette and after lighting it said "Money comes and goes. Boards come and go. Be happy and think of what's important in life brother." with a huge grin on his face.

Thus began a long-lasting partnership that would, to the unawareness of both Dany and Upik, change their lives forever.

To cut a long story short, a week after the inception of Fair Nomad, after sorting out a bunch of logistics, Danny and Upik made the trip to Bali for the first time of their lives to be the apprentices of Hary for two months. Their entire trip is being sponsored by Fair Nomad, including living expenses, accommodation, a scooter to move around, and a monetary bonus at the completion of the two month so that they can do a bit of shopping in Bali before returning to the rest of Fair Nomad team and their families in Sumbawa.

Most importantly, we are also paying for all the material and tools they need to open up their own shop in their village, close to our campsites. Upon their return will begin a whole new chapter of their lives, one they could only have dreamed of would it not have been for the support of Fair Nomad and all our volunteers.

Follow the amazing journey of Dany and Upik on our facebook page here!


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