sourcing natural thatch

Sourcing natural thatch in Indonesia delivers a delightful surprise

Posted on: July 20th, 2016

What I love most about my job is that I get to travel the world, sourcing natural thatch and other materials, from some of the most talented Artisans around the globe. It’s always an adventure as I am never sure what exactly I will find! No two pieces that are carved or weaved are ever the same.


sourcing natural thatch image

sourcing natural thatch image

Indonesian artisans at work


It’s hard to describe the scene at the factory I just visited; it’s so different from anything you would see here in the States. These amazing Artisans squat on concrete floors, no commercial tools, and were weaving raw dyed hyacinth and natural thatch into the most magical masterpieces to create a custom product for our client. Their work is so detailed and intricate. I stood in awe as they worked, chatting amongst themselves and laughing shyly as I praised their work.

I always return feeling invigorated and inspired. This time, I was given a lagniappe.

We were waiting outside the factory for more products to be demonstrated. It was so hot and humid; I reached into my bag for a clip to tie my hair up. As I looked down these two big green eyes were looking back at me from the floor.

Stray kitten image

Stray factory kitten

It was a tiny kitten and her head was falling back and she looked dehydrated. I reached down and picked her up. This little thing curled into the palm of my hand and fell asleep. This was a kitten with half a tail, HUGE dirty ears, sores on her tummy, patches of fur missing and, of course, those big beautiful green eyes. My heart melted and I knew this was going to be a long relationship if she survived.

Finding a vet in Indonesia was a task, but with the help from the staff at the factory I met Dr. Jimmy and his intern Eva. The clinic was on the 3rd floor of an old building and consisted of one room. The waiting room, doctors desk and surgery table were all in the same room!

Cinta kitten image

Cinta getting TLC from the vet

Dr. Jimmy took the kitten and gave her anesthetic, stitched her wounds, cleaned her earns and gave her antibiotics. That night I left her at the vet in a crate under a light bulb to keep her warm.

Each night I returned to see my little girl I now called Cinta (pronounced Chinta – “my love” in Indonesian). Her strength was remarkable, in 2 days she was a different kitten. I couldn’t wait to go play with her each night. I knew I could never leave her behind so started the paperwork to have her fly home.

It really does take a village to move a kitten. The staff at amaZulu, Inc. were amazing, offering encouragement and researching all the legal documentation needed. My regular vet got involved and contacted me with vaccinations needed. I can’t thank the people at the factory enough; they truly made this all possible. They found an “animal relocation” company, organized the vet (Jimmy) to board Cinta and negotiated all the deals.

Cinta and Eva image

The vet’s assistant fell in love with Cinta, too

Another very special bond was created during this time. Each night I went to the vet I would talk to Eva, Dr. Jimmy’s intern, as Cinta sat on my lap and played. This is a bright young lady who is in a career for the pure love of animals, in a country where they really need vets. There are so many strays and abused animals roaming the streets. I had to fly home and leave Cinta in Eva’s wonderful care while her paperwork was being processed.

Eva and I texted each night and, true to her word, she sent videos and pictures every day. I would sit and tell her all about America and how it truly is a country where dreams do come true.

“Our” dream for Eva is to fly her to the States to do an internship with one of our vets, so she can continue to give the best care to those animals so desperately in need, back in Indonesia.  It looks like this dream will become a reality within the next couple of months!


Cinta kitten image

Happy, healthy, and loved

Fast forward one month:  I picked up Cinta at Miami International Airport, and it was a joyful reunion.  Cinta is now the proud owner of a South African businesswoman.


This business trip to source natural thatch turned into a wonderful personal journey. I wonder what lagniappe the next trip will bring?



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