Our journey begins this evening (January 11, 2016), at Adisucipto International Airport. It felt nervous yet excited to meet new people. We already learned something from this first meeting: "Smile is the universal welcome." That warm feeling when you see somebodies welcome you with a happy face was really comforting.
"We came with the same purpose: TO LEARN."
We straight away went to the Guest House, put the luggage in each room, then gathered in the meeting room for the "meet and greet" session. We had our dinner while discussing about the rules and regulations as well as other important information needs to be known during this trip in Indonesia, including how to use the toilet here. All of us have read the profile of the people or organizations we are going to visit and gained brief knowledge about the history and culture of our destination areas. We ended the day with the changemakers spirit, imagining what tomorrow would bring.
The sun started to rise, brighten up our morning. Breakfast is a great time to get to know each other more, sharing about our languange and culture.
We went to Gadjah Mada University (UGM), one of the top university in Indonesia, to meet the students who study Korean literature there. The UGM students explained about their university, the Indonesian traditional games, traditional foods, and its popular and historical places in Korean language. That feeling when you meet somebody from other country who can speak in your language so well was really something. Next is Ewoo School students' turn. They presented various things, ranging from the funny video they made in their school, the famous K-Pop and K-Drama, until the sad story (tragedy) of the sinking of MV Sewol in 2014. Surprisingly, they brought some local snacks and distributed them after the presentation about K-Food was done. Mmm... Mashita (맛있다)!
Further discussion was held in a smaller group (we were divided into 4 groups). We stayed in the small group until lunch time as we will experience having lunch like the local students in the campus canteen.
Our journey continued with city tour to Malioboro, still in the form of small group. Four chosen students from UGM went along with us throughout this changemaker trip, mediating the communication between the local people and the Korean students as they understand both language well.
On the way back to the Guest House, we bought some Mangos and Rambutans for our supper tonight. This is the first time they tasted Rambutan! [I personally was amazed by how they help each other to peel the Rambutan or cut the mango and share the fruits to each other.] The sweet taste of mango and rambutan wrapped up our lessons today.
Another new experience has waited us today. We met one of the Ashoka fellows who concerns about human right, especially in religious sector, Father Suyatno Hadiatmojo. Yes, he is a Catholic priest, and is building an interfaith movement to reduce religious conflicts across Indonesia. From the discussion we had with him, we can conclude that when there is one common goal, people from various religious backgrounds are developing respect and understanding for each other in working together to achieve the goal.
Thereafter, we moved to one of the villages where Father Suyatno runs his movement. We would stay there for the next 2 days, living in the home of the local family. We gathered in a Joglo to meet our "family", then go to each of their houses. Each family "adopted" 2-4 children, while the translators stayed in the house next to the Joglo so that everyone can find them easily in case they need help for translation. It is interesting to see how the Korean students were trying to communicate with the local family. Some of them utilized dictionary, some used body languages, while the others tried to draw their intention. One travelearner said that eventhough they did not understand the local language, amazingly, they can understand what the local was trying to say through looking at their eyes.
The first agenda in this village was field orientation. We walked around the village, enjoying the fresh air and green scenery here. Oh, and we did not forget the most important thing here: taking pictures! Landscape, group shot, jump shot, selfie, wefie, we capture all of them, on every single moment. Hashtag narcissism, hashtag yolo, hashtag lol. #URtravelearner.
The sun began to set. We went back to our home to take a bath and have a dinner, in the local way. If we noticed, some families served almost the same meals for dinner. One of the "mother" explained that in this village, people often share or exchange the ingredients that they have with their neighbors. After recharging our energy, we gathered again in the Joglo and did an evaluation, sharing our thought before and after joining this Changemaker Trip.
The majority of the residents here are farmers, they raise cattle like goats and cows. Every morning, before sunrise, they milk the goats and cows, then they go to the farm to harvest the crops for the cattle's feed. Rather than just doing a typical morning walk, we explored the farm and helped our family to harvest the crops. We managed to collect enough crops for the cattle faster than the scheduled time, so we decided to wander around the farm. We discovered a variety of bamboos there, ranging from the big one, called "Bambu Petung", until the slim bamboos. Also, there were a lot of fruit trees and plants, such as pineapple, avocado, and jackfruit. Fortunately, we found some pineapples and jackfruits that are ripe. We picked them by ourselves and ate one jackfruit right away on the spot. Fresh from the oven! This is also the first time the Ewoo School students taste jackfruit. They said that it was really delicious and tastes like pineapple + banana(?).
Soon as we got home, we helped mommy to cook lunch. We peeled garlic, red onion, ginger, and turmeric for the seasoning. Triggered by the curiousity, the Ewoo School teacher ate the garlic. He pretended that it is tasty and persuaded the students to try it too, hahaha... Eventually, we tasted all of kitchen herbs.
Travelearners have a huge intellectual curiosity.
We are not afraid to try new things.
On the afternoon, we learned a Javanese traditional dance called "Jathilan". It is the most popular folk dance in this village. The dancers ride woven horses, following the rythm of traditional music played by gamelan, a set of Javanese music instruments. In the real show, normally the dancers are possesed, using the power of music and dance to channel with the spirits. Nevertheless, here, we learned the basic movement only and not the dance which incurred spirits.
A changemakers trip would not be complete without a changemakers talk. We sat in a circle and discussed about what is a young changemaker, why does the world need them, and how to be a changemaker. Ara Kusuma, one of Ashoka Young Change-Makers (YCM), shared her experiences in running social projects. Her first movement, "Moo's Project", concerned on the welfare of cow farmers. As an integrator, she tried to develop an incorporated village based on home industry and optimilize the cow's potentials. It was started from a DREAM, which then be SHARED to many people as they might have the same dream or might be able to help us in attaining our dream. Still, remember to wake up from your dream and just DO it. Lastly, GROW your project, both vertical and horizontally.
You may begin with discovering the social or environmental issue around your house,
then ask "WHAT IF" and "WHY NOT" questions.
We can start from a simple positive change in our daily activities such as bringing our own water bottle and bag to reduce plastics consumption, planting trees in the terrace or yard, and so on.
The clock was pointing at 11 o'clock, we were getting ready to learn how Muslims do the Friday Prayer. We noticed that there was a loudspeaker at the mosque for the purpose of call to the prayer, called "Adhan". Before the congregational prayer (ṣalat) began, there were two parts of sermon delivered by the leader (Imam). This gives the Imam a chance to advise all Muslims and gives them guidance in Islamic teachings. After the prayer was finished, we got an opportunity to interview the Imam about Islam, which is the majority religion in Indonesia. He explained many things, including the benefits from five daily prayers (salat), such as for meditation and a standard for daily time management.
That was our last activity held in this village. We packed our stuffs and said goodbye to our new family. We were so grateful to be able to knew them and live with them for 3 days 2 nights, so we wrote a farewell letter to express our feelings. We wrote it in Bahasa Indonesia with the help of the translators.
This is one of the letters for Mrs. Ati, one of our new family:
Dear Mommy Ati,
At first, we felt so nervous,
until we met you... You were
really kind to us. It made us
feel comfortable, like at home.
Farming with you was really fun.
We harvested crops together,
feeding the goats, harvesting
jackfruits, pineapples, etc.
Every single meals that you
cooked was so delicious. We
were grateful to be able to eat
your food, together with you.
Ranging from the peanut bis-
cuits, rock walls, and hot water
(for bath)that you cooked for us,
all of them were very impressive.
We will definitely miss you.
You, yourself, are the best out
of all those great things.
Thank you for everything.
Jihae - Dam - Sol - Ara
The theme today is Culture: The World Heritage Sites.
We already had breakfast before the sun rose as we would go to Borobudur Temple early in the morning to avoid the extreme heat of the afternoon sun. Soon as we arrived, we were so impressed by the majestic, enormous Borobudur. Yes, it is the biggest Buddhist temple in the world. [Find out more about it here.] We walk clockwise, one level at a time, observing the relief panels like we were reading a giant picture storybook. We were not only learning through travelling here, but we also learn how to travel (i.e. learn the travel ethics). Tourists should dress politely and modestly - we are not allowed to wear shorts or mini-skirts. Instead, the temple management provides sarong to cover the legs, especially thigh. Furthermore, climbing up the stupa or touching the bas relief was prohibited as it may cause damage to ancient sites.
We went back to our hotel at 10:00 am, before the sun began to heat up, so that we can restore our energy for the next destination: Prambanan Temple.
As one of the largest Hindu temple site in Southeast Asia, Prambanan consists of 240 temples in Shivaite complex with a typical Hindu architecture of tall and pointed structure. Oh we forgot to tell you that we had a "temple team". They had studied about Borobudur and Prambanan before this trip, they told us the story of both temples during the trip, like a tour guide. Around this area, there are several temple complexes other than Prambanan, such as Sewu Temple and Ratu Boko complex. The popular legend of Rara Jonggrang is what connects them all.
After being satisfied listening to legend stories and learning about history and architecture, we went to a seafood restaurant named Sendang Ayu for dinner. It seems like we were all very hungry. We kept eating until the very last bite 😂. Besides the tasty foods, there are a number of small and big bamboo boats which can be used for free. We were so excited to ride the bamboo boats before we went home. It was such a fun day!