Three weeks after my visit to East Flores, I was back again for the same reason: to introduce a range of simple and handy technologies to women. Following the success of two tech fairs in Larantuka and Demon Pagong at the beginning of November, Kopernik and its local partner Pekka extended the fair to Kelubagolit and Ile Boleng, two other last mile sub-districts where Pekka has also been operating. Both of these sub-districts are located on Adonara Island in the district of East Flores, the province of Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT).
In this trip our team comprised of 7 people. Three colleagues came with me from Kopernik: Toshi - the Kopernik co-founder, Hiromi - our Japan-based staff, and Nengah - our Bali office staff. Our partners also joined us in this trip: Liese from Nazava Water Purifiers, Ahmad from PT. TATSI (the distributor of d.light solar lights), and Albert from the company that manufactures UB.03-1 biomass cooking stoves.
We started our trip from Denpasar, Bali and we flew to Maumere. The amount of luggage we had with us reminded me of emergency relief works I did in the past. Among other things, we brought a corn sheller and a paddy thresher, both of which are bicycle-powered (yes, we brought a bicycle as well). When we arrived, three cars and one small truck waited at the airport to take us to Larantuka. After a 4-hour drive, we arrived in Larantuka and spent the night there. Limited accommodation in Larantuka resulted in the separation of the team into two different hotels.
Early in the morning on the 23rd of November, we departed from Larantuka to Waiwerang by boat. It took one and a half hours to get to Waiwerang. This is the main transportation people use to travel to Adonara Island from Larantuka. The boat transports not only people but also goods, from daily necessities to luxuries like motorcycles. From Waiwerang, two cars and one small truck were again waiting for us. It was quite hectic to unload our luggage as local porters came into the boat and tried to unload anything they could get their hands on without being asked, only to request money after they were done. After loading the truck with our stuff, we finally departed for the Pekka centre in Kelubagolit, where the tech fair was held. We arrived after a 30-minute drive, and a welcoming dance was performed to greet us, taking away the exhaustion we were having.
Under the heat of the sun, Nengah and I were exhausted after loading a heap of stuff onto the truck at the Waiwerang harbor
It is an honor to be welcomed with this Adonara traditional dance
The tech fair in Kelubagolit was formally opened by the Camat (head of the sub-district) of Kelubagolit. I was surprised how many women came to this event. So far, from all of the tech fairs that Kopernik has ever conducted, this drew in the most participants. Twelve different technologies were presented and demonstrated in front of 202 participants! Most of the participants were elderly women and it was quite challenging to present and demonstrate the technologies to them in a very simple way. However, with 7 different presenters that each had a different presentation style, we kept the session interesting all throughout. I had the chance to introduce and demonstrate our newly-arrived O-belt Paddy Thresher which astonished all of the participants.
Achmad from PT. TATSI did an entertaining presentation with the d.light solar lights and Liese from Nazava who speaks fluent Indonesian attracted many women to taste the water from the water purifier.
I could see the smile and amazement of the women each time a presenter demonstrated the work of the technology. The presentations ended at 16.30 but the event continued with discussions and a feedback session where the participants were divided into groups. It was a long day but after seeing the feedback results, it was exciting to know how the participants, especially the elders, thought that the event was very good and the technologies we presented would be a huge help for their lives.
How They Do Things and What Solutions We Offer!
This is how they thresh paddy in NTT This is the solution we offer: O-belt Paddy Thresher
This is how they shell corn in NTT This is the solution we offer: Bicycle-Powered CornSheller
This is how they fetch water in NTT This is the solution we offer: the Q Drum
This is how they cook in NTT
We held the second tech fair on the next day on the 24th of November in Ile Boleng. We arrived at 09.30 and were again welcomed with a unique traditional dance and music. Apart from Pekka members, the Camat of Ile Boleng, several heads of villages and some community representatives also attended. There were 152 participants in total. Even a representative of the local military office was there. The same 12 technologies shown in Kelubagolit were also presented here. Many questions were raised and every participant wanted to see, touch and try out the technology. Even during the lunch break, I could see some women discussing what technologies they wanted to get. After the presentations, we closed the event with discussions and a feedback session.
“I work as a weaver and make traditional Adonara Ikat. We don’t have electricity in our village and we only depend on a neighborhood generator that is only available from 18.00 to 22.00 every night. That is why I need the d.light s250 solar-powered light. I can just put this under the sun during the day and do my work at night whenever I want to”. -- Martina Esek Mado (older than 65 - she can’t remember her age)
“I need and want the mosquito net. I always get bitten by mosquitoes especially at night. There are so many mosquitoes in my village, which is located up the hill. I sometimes buy mosquito repellent but it produces a lot of smoke.” -- Susana (Older than 60 - she can’t remember her age), a farmer who grows cassava, corn and peanuts.
It was an extremely busy week for me managing this event but it is always fulfilling to see that your work means something to other people. I was touched by how many women were grateful for our visit, bringing these technologies to them. We left the technologies we presented for them to try out. The women will soon decide which technologies they need and I am looking forward to knowing what they will request.
Photos by Lincoln, Toshi and Achmad