Activity Report from Indonesia Vol.08 (2019 July - September)
from Makoto Yata

Starting Educational tour Package

In early August, our village has started rice planting. Marasari village is holding rice planting twice a year, and harvesting rice is one of the most remarkable events in our agricultural calendar. During the rice planting, all of the villagers go to their rice terraces and concentrated on their work all day long. It is quite beautiful to see the color transition as the rice terraces turn brown into green gradually.

The youth of Malasari village holding eco-tourism had considered the rice planting as the key event in their tour package. They had discussed making an educational package where visitors could enjoy the traditional and agrarian cultures like rice planting and thrashing harvested rice in the village. This season, they have welcomed 16 university students from capital area, and organized environmental education that visitors can learn from the old and young in Marasari village.

Educational Package for Learning Traditional Culture in Malasari Village

Last 3 month activities:

Students thrusting rice

The educational package for learning traditional culture is mainly based on their agrarian culture. As we have reported so far, Marasari village has kept practicing the traditional ways of rice cultivation in spite of the current growth of modernized cultivation in other parts of Indonesia.

Youth in the village had discussed for a long time to make the tour more enjoyable and fruitful for visitors by experiencing the actual life of the villages. It was hard for the youth to find a good way to guide and provide services for visitors because rice planting would come to the end in just 2 weeks.
They had developed the plan, asking to elders of villagers, and simulated the tour so that they could check the schedule of visitors and safety of the tour. They had learned from mistakes to entertain the visitors without any dangers and accidents and to enhance their learning effect.

In response to the passionate request from the youth, elders also wanted to cooperate with them as the instructors.

Planting rice with village farmers

This time, 16 university students from Jakarta cities participated in the environmental education tour. They are participants of the NGO Learning Internship Program supported by the Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Environment Foundation, working for environmental NGOs as student interns. Although they usually learn about environmental issues in NGO offices, they came to Marasari village to grasp the way of community-based environmental conservation as a field excursion.

The students experienced planting and thrusting rice with the help and guidance from the villagers. Every student seemed to be impressed and pleased with the experience as it was the first time to experience these activities in their life. Seeing students from cities have had interests in the village life with joy, the villagers also seemed very pleasured.

Students were thrilled to see gibbons in forest

Students watching wild birds of endemic species

For the next day, students had enjoyed jungle trekking into nature experience package. In forests, the participants could see the various kinds of wildlife including gibbons, several kinds of endemic birds and have a chance to study medical herbs. This tour also succeeded.

Enthusiastic discussion among students and villagers

Youth of Malasari listening to students’ ideas

This tour had some discussion time among villagers and the students aiming for improving the tourism package in Marasari village. The students have proposed lots of ideas: better interpretation from local guides, waste management in the village, way of promotion for tour package, and so on. They have spent a very good time to rethink the eco-tour as visitors and hosts, which will surely be the basis of more improvements for both students and villagers.

Activities in the next 3 month

- Next November, youth in Marasari village will hold an environmental education program for 20 high school students from Bogor city. Hopefully, they will improve the contents of the package from former experiences.

- We will welcome 2 interns from Japan in Youth Program for 2 weeks from early November. They will learn project management by participating in the environmental education tour targeting high school students.