EBPP Anak Bali Safari & Marine Park Study Tour

Oleh Aris Harianto & Yulia Soebeno

EBPP students from Cegi and Bunga hamlet together with Mr. Thurston and Ms. Sande at Bali Safari & Marine Park

Cegi classrooms lit up with the glow on children’s faces when David asked them “Who wants to go on Safari and see dozens of wild animals, tropical fish, snakes and elephants?” The glow rapidly turned to confused frowns of disbelief with expressions that read “What, wild animals here, di Bali?? How are we going to get to a real jungle from our isolated hamlets?” After clarifications that this amazing information was true, and that all of EBPP schools would go, with the older children as chaperones to their younger classmates, they were all eyes.

Flash back to 1999, kapan 85% dari 17,000 population of Ban village had never left the village in history, never heard of a toilet or midwife; when everyone believed the world consisted of 2 places – Desa Ban and Java; and nobody had ever seen the Indonesian flag nor knew their ages! And now, semua 340 EBPP schoolchildren, tutors and staff will visit Bali Safari and Marine Park, thanks to the kind sponsorship of EBPP’s latest donors, from Australia, Mr Thurston Saulman and Ms Sande McKinlay. The nervous excitement was electric as they counted the days to when they’d go on a bus tripas they had never been on a bus beforeto see dozens of wild animals, Komodo Dragons, camels, elephants, massive snakes, eagles and tropical fish?

Pada Oktober 20th, the 64 students from Bunga and Cegi started their experience, joined by their local tutors and some EBPP staff led, by Komang Kurniawan, EBPP Chairman and Team Leader since 1998. This study tour aims to broaden studentsknowledge about the natural world and increase their awareness of the importance of looking after them and the importance of conservation of the living environment. EBPP’s remaining 280 children from our other 4 sekolah, along with their local tutors will visit the Safari Park school-by-school in the next four weeks.

After a healthy yellow rice and veggie breakfast, the students got into the 3 small buses in Daya hamlet at 06.30am, heading south via Bukit Jambul & Klungkung to the Tohpati-Kusamba by-pass. Looking in amazement to their right and left on these wide and busy highways, that bore no resemblance to their mountain hamlet dirt tracks, the buzz of conversation was often broken by the sound of the plastic bag as some children’s breakfast left their stomachs…

Approaching the Safari Park, mata mereka terbuka lebar, khawatir tentang apa yang akan mereka lihat atau pengalaman di Bali Safari & Marine Park. Setelah pep sebuah berbicara tiba oleh David Booth tentang pentingnya mengajukan pertanyaan, mengambil catatan dan menikmati diri mereka sendiri, tiket mereka melilit pergelangan tangan mereka dan panduan Safari Park menggiring mereka ke kompleks taman. Ketika trem Bali Safari tiba untuk memulai tur taman, mereka kagum, dan ekspresi heran melihat begitu banyak hewan baru di sebelah kanan dan sisi kiri. Ketika kami keluar dari trem dan tiba di Lobby barong, anak-anak yang sangat bersemangat untuk melihat semua berbagai jenis ikan, dari ikan emas kecil untuk hiu hitam. Dengan pemandu wisata dari BSMP menjelaskan segala sesuatu tentang hewan, sepanjang jalan, anak-anak tampak sangat antusias. They did not stop asking questions about what they saw along the journey.

As the tram moved into the enclosure’s area, where all the dangerous animals being kept, such as Lions, Tigers, bears, dll; and seeing them so close and in the nature enclosure, some girls were amazed to see these animals actually so real and close. They had never seen an elephant directly before. They also have not seen how the tigers live in the wild, the amazement continued whilst seeing the ostriches, zebras and the other animals surround them. It was the most surreal experience of a life time.

Next stop is the White Tigers’ enclosure. The Tigers are put in a very big place separated by a thick glass window from the audience, where the children rushed to see the white tiger cub that was outside the enclosure for everyone to photograph or give him a cuddle. That day was a lucky day for two students, where they have the opportunity to have their photo taken with a baby tiger. What an amazing experience for those who had only to see the tiger cubs from the book at the EBPP library in the village and now actually seeing one in front of them.

The sun was very hot that day but the students didn’t lose their enthusiasms to wait several minutes before the animals’ show at Hanuman Stage. There they witnessed the animals following instructions from the keeper. The show included animals such as, rangkok, hawks, owls, orang-utans and white mice. Yeni Maria, EBPP’s senior teacher, volunteered for the eagle stunt, where she bravely held a piece of meat and the eagle swooped down and snatched the meat from Yeni’s hand. The audience applauded loudly. But the most entertaining of the attractions was from the two orang-utans which were very funny and also intelligent.

Afterwards the children were ushered towards Kampung Gajah to see the elephant show. On the way there Thurston and Sande saw that the children were hot and fading from the heat and offered to buy them some ice cream. Tentu saja, the students were very excited, especially when it was the first ice cream that most EBPP children had ever seen. “What’s an ice cream?” asked one 6 year old boy. Then, having to choose from strawberry, vanilla or chocolate was probably the biggest decision of the day for most!! After ice cream and soft drinks, the children went to the Elephants’ stage area, sitting in a crescent shaped theatre, to watch the elephants perform a drama, the players being four elephants and several Bali Safari Park trainers.

This drama tells about the conflict between humans and elephants in the wild, where the human beings had cleared the elephants’ habitats. This performance gave a clear picture to the students on the importance of maintaining environmental balance and to share with the other living beings on earth. The students really enjoyed and were amazed by the compliance of the elephants, always obeying their keepers’ directions. The children even got a chance to feed the elephants after the show; each student being given a bunch of carrots and guided to the stage to feed the elephants. One elephant even presented a garland and kissed Putu, one of the EBPP’s high school teachers. It was an experience that will never be forgotten.

The excitement had not ended yet. Two animal keepers from Bali Safari and Marine Park brought a Python and asked the students to touch and wrap the snake around their neck. After some hesitation, three of the students moved forward to have the snakes around their necks like cosy scarves.

Unfortunately, this journey has to end. Nevertheless, the students have acquired broad knowledge about animal lives and seen them in real life. Setelah makan siang bersama, each child was given a souvenir bag from Bali Safari and Marine Park. Then it was time to say thank you and good-bye to Thurston and Sande for their generosity, mount their buses for the late afternoon ride back to reality. The students would take home memories about their wonderful journey to the Bali Safari and Marine Park, an experience of their life that they will never forget.

To ensure their optimum benefit, all children over 9 years old a writing an essay of their experience, detailing the trip, their feelings and telling EBPP education team what they would like to learn more about.

Curious and Excited; The student is queeing for the tickets at the Bali Safari & Marine Park lobby

The first scrumptious ice cream in their life

Dream come true; taking a picture with the baby tiger

An elephant kiss for Putu Wijaya; one of EBPP staff. “Thank you elephant”

“Wow!! How could the elephants do that?

Brave Girl; let the python around her neck

Wonderful feeling, smooth skin and cold.

At last, lunch is here! Wonderful chicken and rice.

“Thank you, Mr. Thurston, it has been very enjoyable day ever".

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