As an IB student in Sekolah Pelita Harapan Lippo Cikarang, we are expected to do a program called the Live in Program which is essentially a four day period in which we live in a rural area, doing their jobs and living just like the people in the area. This program forces us to get out of our comfort zone and experience a temporary new life away in a rural area far away from the nearest comforting urban area in which we are used to live in. At the end, it was decided that on October 11-14, the eleventh and twelve graders went to Manado for our CAS Live in Program.
Our flight was scheduled to take of at 5:10 AM which was a burden for most of us because we live about one and a half hour away from the airport. What is worse is that we had to arrive at the airport at about 2:30AM so that we were not late for the check in. So just for this, I had to wake up at 12:30AM and depart from my house to the airport at 1:00AM to arrive just in time. The flight itself took roughly three hours long (the longest flight I have ever experienced) and it wasn’t that bad overall since Garuda Indonesia provided us with breakfast (which was pretty good) and an entertainment system.
Arriving in Manado, we were introduced to our guide and event organizer Mr. Wayan. We then proceeded on our bus and went into the city and into the traditional market in the city of Tomohon called Pasar Tomohon. This traditional market was way different compared to markets that I have been into in Indonesia and the products and goods they sell in the market was very surprising. Very surprising that in fact my classmate had an emotional breakdown and cried because of what she saw in the market. In this particular traditional market, they sell the usual vegetables, cooking ingredients and other things they normally sell in other markets, however they also sell things that they use as ingredients which might be disturbing such as dogs, snakes, bats, rats, pigs and others. It was a refreshing sight looking at these animals being used as ingredients and chopped up for the buyers to consume. However this trip made me realize that why do we care so much if these animals get chopped up for us to eat and for us to not care if we chop up a chicken for us to consume? It is a question to think about.
NOTE: DO NOT GO HERE IF YOU CAN NOT STAND MASSIVE GORE
After the trip, we had lunch (it was bad timing since most of us has lost our appetite because of looking at the chopped up animals in the market). And the restaurant had a phenomenal view.
We arrived in the destination, Desa Watumea (Watumea village). This is a village located about two hours from the main urban city and the village still feels and looks very rural compared to the villages in Cikarang or Jakarta. We arrived in the central building where the village holds their meetings and we were welcomed by their amazingly kind and open minded residents.
As soon as we settled into our homes, we were seperated into three groups for our first activity. The three groups were the tour group, playing group, and the volley group and I was placed in the tour group. We were actually being led by students learning about being a future tour guide, so essentially they are helping us and we are actually helping them back.
As our last activty for the day, we had to make some handicrafts using Eceng Gondok which is a traditional water plant in the area. For the activty we were divided into groups of three and we were given a task to make a bag from the plant. It was hard and tedious work and even after three hours of being there, we were not even 25% complete. One thing that struck me is that we were using pins to stick the Eceng Gondok into the bag which is actually very simple and effective rather than using glue. However it really struck me, one pin actually went in and punctured my leg deep inside. So deep that it hit my bone and it took me five seconds to pull it out will full force.
The first thing we did was we had some delicious breakfast given to us by the owners of the house. The food given was very unique because the bubur or pourridge there in Manado is green, full of vegetables, and contains noodles. YES NOODLES. However, it was deliciouso!
The first activty we did was that we went to the local church. The church was pretty small and quite unique because the history of this church is phenomenal and the way that they do their church here is different from the way we do church back in Cikarang. And to apprecieate their church, we decided to do a little show for them.
Then our main activites for the day started. It starts with the following activites: Fishing (not really fishing but more of feeding the fish), Cooking, and Farming.
Overall it was more to feeding the fish compared to fishing. However, the main challenge we had to face was that we had to go by stepping on bamboo sticks WITHOUT RAILINGS. It means that you have to balance yourself and if you fall, you get eaten by hungry fish.
Cooking was pretty great since we learned new recipes and new techniques on how to properly cook fish and cut certain vegetables or fruits.
Farming was pretty hard because we had to actually pull the Eceng Gondok out of it’s roots by hand. Also we planted some saplings into the woods which felt pretty satisfying since we are helping the earth’s ozone layer.
Well after these three activites, we all actually went swimming.. in a lake. We all went swimiming in the local Tondano Lake which is actually full of fish and really deep and dangerous to swim in. To swim in the lake, we were actually given VVIP access into a secret location where we got to swim while viewing the beautiful sunset in a beautiful location hidden somehwere behind the steep hills. Just going to the secret location took us hiking and some even slipped since the hills were so steep.
At the end of the day, there was a special activity arranged for us in which the residents performed their traditional dances and songs infront of us in public. What is also unique is that all the villagers were actually out of their houses and the area was packed full of villagers even though they are just their to watch (they are really active and close to one another). They even taught us how to dance like them and so we danced along with them and had a lot of fun. Even some of the people there were very friendly that they even wanted to take a photo with us. I also made friends with lots of the kids there and all of the kids there know me because I kept on playing with them.
Since this is the last day for us in the village, on this day we had the opportunity to teach the local schools there. Since I was in the frisbee group, my group had to teach Frisbee to the kids who had no idea what a Frisbee is and no clue on what to do in the sport. So we taught them how to play and at last after the hard work teaching, they even played with us and had fun. Some people in my group were actually hopeless in teaching the kids who really didn’t understood the Frisbee rules and how to throw it, however eventually we thought them how to do it and it was very satisfying for us to see the kids play at the end. From this alone, I had achieved the fifth learning outcome which was showing perseverance and commitment to teaching the kids.
Before leaving the school, we built them a library and gave them books so that they could learn from books that they are lacking from in the village.
After this last activity, we started to say goodbye to all the people in the community and had our last lunch together.What is really cool is that the kids there were asking for our signatures so that they could remember us in the future!
We then left the village and went straight to the hotel about two hours away.
For the rest of the day, we were in Manado City (at last, an urban area..). We stayed in a luxurious hotel called the Aryaduta Hotel which was amazing and had a rooftop pool with an amazing view (I am not paid to say this). The hotel was amazing and I had a great night there.
Before dinner time, we went to the biggest souvenier shop and bought a bunch of things to bring home. I think everyone bought at least the local spicy sambal there to bring home because the sambal there is just amazing. After that we went to dinner in a restaurant named Wahaha and then after that we rested back in the hotel.
The next morning, after the delicious breakfast we had in the hotel we went to Bunaken island. Bunaken is an island known internationally for its amazing diving spots and snorkeling spots. And it is really amazing. The water is crystal clear and the marine life is really preserved that fish will swim near the surface without fear of humans. Also the terrain of the sea is really cool and unique because some parts of the water are really shallow meaning that it is just about two meters deep. However if you swim around five meters away from this area, you may end up looking down at a cliff into total darkness.
From Manado City, it takes almost two hours to go to Bunaken by using a boat. Before we snorkled, we had the opportunityy to ride custom built boat with glass underneath the boat so that you can actually see what is under the boat and see the marine animals in their natural habitat. The view from the boat is AMAZING! We got to see giant turtles, starfish, puffer fish, rare fish and more! Then after the boat ride, we went snorkeling which was pretty amazing since we got to interact with the fish (feeding the fish) and we got to see them up close personally. Just don’t open your mask underwater because the salt water will hurt your eyes and give you a burning sensation for the next ten minutes (personal experience).
Next we went back to Bunaken island so that we can have lunch and enjoy the beach before we go back to Manado City and leave for Jakarta
Goodbye Manado! *I WILL NEVER FORGET WHAT WE DID TOGETHER*
In conclusion, the Manado CAS Live in was a unique opportunity in which we got out of our comfort zone to experience things that we have never experienced before. As a student and a person who grew up in a modernized and urban area, the CAS Live in gave me new perspectives on the world and thought me about amazing things that I never learned living in an urban area. The live-in was done in a rural village named “Desa Watumea” which was about two hours from the nearest urban city. This village was so far that it is very hard for most of us to find signal for our phones. Also in this village what was disturbing for all of us is that the rest-rooms doesn’t use the toilets where you sit on them, instead they use a traditional toilet where you squat to do your business. From this, I achieved the first learning outcome where I adapted to the situation and used the traditional toilet (my friends had a hard time doing this, and some even didn’t do their business for until they arrived to the hotel three days later). Also this live in program made me achieve the second learning outcome which is undertaking new challenges. In the three days I experienced in the village, I learned to cook traditional food, farm enceng gondok, feed fish, plant a tree, experience life living in a village with unstable electricity and last is living without relying on technology as much (no laptop, no signal, no wi-fi, no phone etc.). In the village, we also had an opportunity to teach the kids in the local school there. My group had to teach Frisbee to the kids who had no idea what a Frisbee is and no clue on what to do in the sport. So we taught them how to play and at last after the hard work teaching, they even played with us and had fun. Some people in my group were actually hopeless in teaching the kids who really didn’t understood the Frisbee rules and how to throw it, however eventually we thought them how to do it and it was very satisfying for us to see the kids play at the end. From this alone, I had achieved the fifth learning outcome which was showing perseverance and commitment to teaching the kids. Overall the Manado CAS Live in program was a unique opportunity which got me to view the world in another perspective and overall I enjoyed this program even though we had to really adapt to the new environment.