At the intersection of Jalan Mampang Prapatan and Jalan Kapten Tendean in south Jakarta, Indonesia is a “village” known as the “Banana Republic,” because it is surrounded by a banana plantation. One-fourth of Jakarta’s 10 million residents live in conditions like these, in homes built of scraps, with no paved roads, streetlights, electricity, or running water, using communal showers and toilets.
Jeremy, a Jakarta resident who works in the advertising industry and is originally from Singapore, has listed the Banana Republic on Airbnb, inviting guests all over the world to share the hut of a local family for just $10 a night. The listing includes a full slideshow of the area, with droll captions like “Enjoy a quiet moment in the shade” over an alleyway choked with debris, and tongue-in-cheek descriptions of amenities:
“You’re not going to be served iced tea while you watch the sun set or be given a massage just before your three-course dinner…if you’re lucky, the children will share their toys with you.”
Jeremy put up the listing to raise awareness and funds for this neighborhood, located just next to his offices at the ad agency Iris Worldwide Indonesia. In particular, he mentions, as the annual rains are coming soon, the locals need to pay for unclogging the nearby river to forestall flooding and replacing roofs on many houses. “This type of accommodation may not be your cup of tea, but by renting this space, you give them a much needed boost of income that will eventually help ease their worries,” he says.
It’s possible to contribute directly by making a “booking” through the site even if you are not planning to visit. Reached for comment, Airbnb said this was the first they’d heard of it.AK