By: I Gede Sudarma, EMpower Program Coordinator.
EMpower Year 2 – Photovoices has been ended. The presentation to the government at Puskesmas Kubu II on the last Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017 closed the program. The presented program result got much appreciation from the government who attended at the day and as the success of the program we did a field trip to celebrate it. Besides it was a good way for refreshing and relaxing joint after one year struggling with issues in the village. The field trip was participated by all EMpower Photovoices teacher and students from six EBPP Schools (Manikaji, Cegi, Bunga, Pengalusan, Jatituhu and Darmaji).
There were three places we visited which are the heritage of the Karangasem Kingdom such as Puri Agung Karangasem (Karangasem Palace), Taman Soekasada Oedjoeng and Tirtagangga. We leaved at 08.00 AM from Ban Office with two buses. Before leaving, we gave the students Balinese cakes as breakfast. The first place we visited was Puri Agung Karangasem. We needed about one hour to get there. In Puri Agung Karangasem we were welcomed by Agung Arya, one of the elder of the Puri Agung Karangasem as the tour guide. In Puri Agung Karangasem we were served some ancient buildings such as Maskerdam, Balai Gili, Balai Ekalange, etc. There were many photos of the royal family of Karangasem Kingdom that we can see too. After checking out the greatness of Puri Agung Karangasem, we sat together with Agung Arya at the porch of the Maskerdam to discuss and share information.
Agung Arya, explicitly, encouraged the students to be proud for being Karangasem people. He said that Karangasem is great, especially in the kingdom era. Karangasem Kingdom territory was until Lombok and Singaraja that indicates how great and strong it was. Many of great people in Denpasar or beyond are Karangasem people, so, as a new generation, we don’t need to be afraid to compete with others to achieve our ambition.
The students seldom travelled beyond their village, especially for visiting an historical place. This field trip was a good opportunity for them to know more about history, meet and learn history from its specialist about the history of Karangasem and expand perception and thought. Besides, it will give the students different point of view about the Puri Agung Karangasem, which was very sacred and only able to access by particular people.” said Ayu Saraswathi, the executive director of Lensa Masyarakat Nusantara (LMN) Foundation – the EMpower Photovoices team.
The second place was Taman Soekasada Oedjoeng (Ujung Water Palace) – a water palace built by the King of Karangasem in the early 20th century for hosting royal guests from around the world. We arrived there at 11.00 AM. The students were allowed to discover the beauty of the palace for 30 minutes. Then, while waiting for lunch at 12 o’clock we had some fun, competitive outbound activities. We played a game called straw and rubber bracelet. On this game, the students divided into three teams of three people.
Each member has to pass the rubber bracelet to the other by the straw which they stick on their mouth. They are not allowed to pass the rubber by hand or let it fall to the ground. After passing the rubber, the member who gets the rubber must run to the finish line. The team which reaches the finish line first is the winner.
12 o’clock, our lunch had come. We stopped to play and focus to fill our stomachs. Before leaving Taman Soekasada Oedjoeng, the boys of Darmaji and Manikaji entertained us by genjek (Balinese accapella).
At 1.30 PM, we arrived in the third place, Tirtagangga – another heritage water palace of Karangasem Kingdom. We needed 20 minutes to get there. This was the most exciting place of the day. There were some big pools with clear water and many beautiful gold fishes. We can feed them with fish food which we can buy in the warungs around the palace. There were also some large shallow swimming pools which safe to be swam. The students were very excited to swim considering they live in the mountain slopes which is difficult to find swimming pool. Unfortunately, almost students can’t swim, but they can rent some buoy. But, many students still afraid to swim and just sat in the edge of the swimming pool. That was a great day; the swimming pool was full of excitement.
Nengah Suantana, EMpower Photovoices students from Manikaji School said, “This field trip was amazing, especially in Tirtagangga. We were very happy. I can swim and have fun with my friends there. Our exhaustion for one year disappeared automatically.”
After swimming and having fun for two hours, we left Tirtagangga. It didn’t feel like an hour to Ban Office since we sang together on the bus. Arrived in Ban, the students looked tired, some of them had travel sickness, but they all had big smiles on their faces.
Photovoices was a challenging course for the students who worked very hard during the lessons. Mapping issues of their village, interviewing the community for collecting information and then presenting it to the government drains their energy and thoughts and makes them study harder. Hopefully, this field trip will relax their joints and brain in order to make them ready for the next EMpower Program, which starts in July.