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Journal Merabu Village - Day #01

Updated: Nov 30, 2018

On Friday, October 19th, 2018, we woke up at 3 in the morning to catch an early flight to Balikpapan. It was a hectic morning in Soekarno Hatta International Airport. We had a transit for 3 hours, right after the flight of 2 hours from Soekarno Hatta International Airport. After the transit we finally flew to Berau.

Berau is a small city, near Balikpapan. It is one of the six regencies in East Kalimantan. Berau is also known for a door that leads to many fascinating diving spots in Kalimantan, such as the Derawan and Maratua, but unfortunately our route was nowhere near the ocean.


As soon as we arrived in Berau, Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara took us for lunch, in a humble local restaurant where Berau delicacies were served on the table, from seafood to Kapurung, a Papeda, sticky slime made from starch. Later on we went to TNC office, where they greeted us and gave us a warm welcome. We could tell by the stories and documentation we’ve seen, that the staff is really passionate about the preservation of our mother nature.


Bayu one of our appointed artists from Survive Garage, told us that the beauty of Berau challenged them to give an art workshop for the TNC employees. “The Art of Collage” is the tittle of the art workshop, where Bayu asked the participants to make a collage out of unused newspapers, magazines, or printed documents. A class filled with imagination and interpretation. There were some turns and twists going on, our other artist Andang from Bandung, happens to study psychology in Art Interpretation and he is one of the lectures from Institute Seni Budaya Bandung, he gave character observation based on the art workshop. ‘’Everyone was blown away’’, Andang accurately describing their characters.

On our way to Merabu Village, we were told that it’s going to be a bumpy road. As far as the eyes can see, the sunset during our trip was breathtaking, the palm plantations scenery, the hills, and violet sky were taking our breath away. As soon as the sun set, the road seemed to be a a really long journey, it was still more than 2 hours to go when the sun set down. The road was rocky, our bodies were slammed back and forth, and there were no street lights at all, all you can depend on was the lights that came from the vehicle. At some point our heart was pounding really fast and we were better off sleeping until we arrived at Merabu Village.



We were really sitting on the edge of our seat when our vehicle tried to fit into a small boat in Lesen Village to get across Lekay River, taking another one hour trip to Merabu Village, it’s a moment we certainly won’t forget.


Our arrival at Merabu Village was graced by a friendly smile from Chris, Community Development Specialist for Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara in Merabu Village. He and the other villagers joined us for a warm dinner, while we were discussing tomorrow’s schedule. The dinner was hosted in Kerima Puri english for ‘’to the beautiful forest’’, house for local community gathering.


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