Alon alon, asal kelakon

(2018)

We spend the first night of our walk across Jakarta Bay in the fishing community of kampung Dadap. Later that night, rain begins to fall. It continues for a good portion of the night, and when we wake the next morning, much of the kampung is waist-deep underwater. Water like a blind creature enters homes. Much of the next day we wade through the flood waters, meeting the women who can continue to work shelling muscles on middens raised above the surrounding areas. These middens form a tangible basis for residents’ claim of a right to live in the area, as they themselves have made the land their houses are built on with the persistent everyday labour of retrieving mussels from the sea and shelling them. Salvage work, an accumulative land claim. They are modest accumulations – middens made of waste, the debris of human activity, but they are rarely uninhabited.