All of our belongings had been packed as we would move to Salatiga this morning. It took around 2.5 - 3 hours by bus from Yogyakarta to Salatiga. Our agenda today was to visit Bahruddin's alternative school named Qaryah Thayyibah. It is a community based schooling mainly for rural children, which is managed by the village residents, the local government, parents, teachers, and the students themselves. In short, it is a school of the people, by the people, and for the people.
As usual, we got to know each other first before we began the interview session. Eventhough we have already read an overview of Pak Bahruddin's activities, it feels different when we heard the story directly from him, in the venue where it happened. The spirit to develop the village through peasant union and alternative school was emitted throughout the interview session.
Time goes by, it was almost lunch time. Instead of buying meals for lunch, we cooked together today. The Ewoo students had brought the ingredients for 2 Korean meals: tteokbokki (soft rice cake, fish cake and sweet red chili sauce) and kimchijeon (a Korean pancake made from kimchi), while the Qaryah Thayyibah students had prepared the ingredients for a traditional Indonesian soup mainly composed of broth, meat and vegetables, called soto. Before we began to cook, each school's representative explained their traditional dishes so that everyone had an idea about what they were going to make. It was a fun experience to cook and taste each other's traditional dishes, almost half of the food were gone before it was served on the table 😂.
After resting for awhile, we played a game where one needs to demonstrate an action and the rest should guess what s/he was doing. Language is not a barrier for us to have fun: we realized that our body language can be understood by both Indonesian and Korean students, moreover, the translators were the judge so that we can answer in 3 languages (English, Indonesian, Korean).
Our activities here were closed by a sharing session about the school systems and activities, followed by, of course, group photo session.
The weather in Salatiga was really fresh and cool, especially in the morning, pepping us up to start the learning travel today. We would visit Fellow Rossana Dewi and her farming school in Solo (around 1.5 hours from Salatiga, by bus) to learn about her movement in community development and environmental sustainability through her Non-Governmental Organization, Gita Pertiwi.
Fortunately, we went there on Monday (1/18), thus we were able to attend one of the farming class with the topic of pests. They informed the farmers about the current field situation and educated them on how to overcome the pests naturally. The farming school is located in the middle of rice field. It has a traditional Javanese hall, called Joglo, for the classroom and several spaces for field farmer laboratory. They did several researches and experiments in order to improve agricultural production using natural techniques, creating a sustainable agriculture. Some of the experiments that we saw there were development of natural fertilizer, natural pesticide, as well as natural predators of the pests, such as Tyto alba (barn owl) for controlling the rats in field, and so forth. Besides bredding owls (natural predators), they also breed the rats (pests) to feed and train the owl before it was released in the field.
The class ended before Dzuhur (it is one of the Muslim's daily prayer conducted around 12pm. Here, they usually divide the time based on the 5 prayers). Subsequently, we had our lunch and continued with interview and discussion session with Ibu Dewi. We respect her and her team because of their contribution and consistency for almost 25 years. If you want to know more about her activities, click here or visit www.gitapertiwi.org.
We were so excited when she brought us to a river nearby, only 5-minutes walk! Some of us played along the river, while the others had a casual talk with Ibu Dewi and her team. Such a refreshing way to wrap up the day.
We have visited a number of unique schools as well as social entrepreneurs in Indonesia. Today, we would visit another interesting school called School of Life: Lebah Putih (White Bee), owned by Fellow Septi Peni, who is also the founder of Jarimatika, a fun and easy mathematics method.
As we alighted from the bus, we heard a sound of marching band, but when we walked closer to the source, we found out that it was the students' percussion group which instruments were made from recycled materials! The kindergarten and primary students and teachers welcomed us along the entrance while waving the two countries' flags (IDN-SKR). Interestingly, the parents were also actively involved in school activities. Ibu Septi believes that the children's success is the result of a good collaboration between parents and school.
The activities began with singing each countries' national anthem, followed by learning the Indonesian traditional dances for kids. In return, the Ewoo High School students also taught the Lebah Putih students some Korean traditional kids songs and dances. It was great to know that the school had spacious yard for children to actively move. Here, the children learn through playing, with the concept of learning can be everywhere, everytime and with everyone. We had a lot of fun in the field: some of us played soccer, some taught Korean language, some played traditional games like hide and seek, domikado, post-office box, and the rests had a casual group discussion while enjoying the traditional snacks made by the parents.
After lunch, we did an interview session with Fellow Septi Peni and learned about Jarimatika. With just 10 fingers, we can calculate until hundreds and even thousands! Yes, that was awesome, but what fascinate us more is that she is a housewife and is willing to help other housewives earn income from their home through Jarimatika. Currently, she builds a housewives community named Ibu Profesional (professional mother) to educate the women about how to manage the family and educate their children.
Basically it's a free time, relaxing at the hotel, swimming, shopping and having fun! Still, we learned one sure thing:
When you have a tight schedule, you can appreciate leisure time more.
"Work hard, play hard."
In the afternoon, we went to Parangtritis beach to see the sunset and learn to appreciate the nature. Luckily, it was on weekday, when the beach was not so crowded so that we can enjoy the scenery peacefully. Parangtritis is one of the most popular beach in Yogyakarta, located on the southern coast of Java. According to the history, the name of "Parangtritis" was inspired by the water drops (in Javanese, it is called tumaritis) that came from a cliff (parang). Yup, the beach was surrounded by cliffs, in line beautifully.
Notably, because of the channels, strong rips and the ferocity of the waves here, visitors are recommended not yo swim or bathe in the sea. We realized that we should learn and understand the conditions of the nature around us so that we can behave properly. Overall, these two days has freshen us up after such a long journey :)
Time flies so fast. Today was the last day of our trip.
The flight was at 16:00, thus we still have time to visit one more destination before we go. We went to a batik workshop where we could experience making Batik, one of the traditional Indonesian art that use a technique of wax-resists dyeing to create the pattern on the clothes. The process starts with drawing the pattern on a cloth, using pencil, which then be covered with wax. This allows the artisan to color selectively by soaking the cloth in one color, then removing the wax with boiling water. The whole process for a small cloth with one color took around 2-3 hours, then we could take home our own batik! We would appreciate a nation's tradition more from now on, especially batik, as it was not easy to make one.
Before heading to the airport, we had a lunch at jeJamuran Resto, a restaurant that sells a wide variety of food creations from mushrooms. It gave us an insight to focus on particular thing, then start to innovate!
We felt really sad to be parted with each other... there were so many lessons and memories that we have been through together: Ranging from developing cognitive empathy – through interacting with and helping the locals during the live-in in Merapi Village, cooking ethnic dishes together with Qaryah Thayyibah students, appreciating the nature in Rossana Dewi's farming school, and making new friends as well as sharing our knowledge with Lebah Putih students – to teamwork and leadership throughout the trip – a student became the team leader, some became the temple team, the other became the documentation team, medical team, and so on. Eventually, these will stimulate the spirit to be a changemaker.