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I first came to Abene on a drum and dance holiday in 1999 and realised very quickly that a special relationship between the village and myself existed and had to be developed.

Since then, I have discovered more about the village and its inhabitants who have always been very welcoming and keen to show me their village and explain their way of life. I soon realised that Abene is a place dedicated to the Arts, whether it is performing arts such as traditional percussions, dance, songs and theatre or craft arts such as traditional batik painting and woodcarving. It reaches its climax when Abene Festivalo, the annual festival of traditional arts, takes place in winter.

In October 2006 my son Malang was born and I decided to come and live in Abene so that he could grow up in a child friendly enviroment.

I opened the first internet cafe in the village and the locals started learning what computer as well as internet access could mean to them. It has attracted a lot of interest from foreign visitors too and my plan is to extend access to computer use and internet access to children and young people. I teach computer use and English, and have lately taken on the Marketing & Communication section of Abene Festivalo's organisation committee.

Laurie Marie

Copyright (L.Marie)