Around February 29th, at 5.30 pm, I joined the Mamout team, trekking-up the Cilengkrang-Bandung mountain. It is near the Ciliunye area, West Java, Indonesia. The journey started from the Grapiks office to Cilengkrang mountain took one hour. The team consists of five people; three staff from the Grapiks foundation and two other guests (me and my classmate from Thailand #He is Oliver#). Before climbing the mountain, Mr. Uchok already prepared consumption and some basic equipment, including transportation. For transportation, it was provided by the director of the Grapiks foundation. (We thanks for his generosity).
Mamout and the Grapiks foundation
It took a year to realize my plan since I contacted (Uchok, my undergraduate classmate) in Bandung. Anyway, at the UNIKOM campus, we used to call him Bang Rosan 🙂 🙂 🙂 hehe. At this moment, Uchok is the coordinator for the Grapiks institute. He has been working there for almost 8-10 years. Grapiks Institute is one of the major civil society organizations that focus on advocacy programs in narcotics and HIV prevention issues.
Before trekking-up the mountain, with Oliver, we stayed overnight at the Grapiks foundation. We had a chance to talk with the director and a couple of the staff. They are so friendly. Having informal sharing and conversations, I noted that they have been doing some great jobs. Their work is related to advocacy on the human rights issue based humanism approach.
Beyond the Grapiks activities, similar conversation, (informal discussion) about environmental issues with Uchok was another exciting topics. It was one of the main goals that we have planed with Oliver in Yogyakarta before coming to Bandung. Our discussion was about environmental issues: (landslide and deforestation and water conservation) in the mountain area, which currently organized by Mamout organization.
All of these quality conversations happen because Bang Uchok built an excellent network for us. With his support, he made things so much easier for us to access the mountain hiking activities, including talking to the community. Bang Uchok also one of the promoters involved in the activities with the Mamout team. They did a great job, I personally appreciate their charitable activities for environmental conservation.
The collective action through Mamout organization is mainly about advocacy and conservation program; their volunteer team, practically have been working on support (awareness). The volunteering action is focusing on preserving the ecosystem in the mountains area. The organization is not only doing advocacy and conservation action but also promote eco tourism on the mountain areas with the concept of “back to nature.” This program has a dichotomy advantage. On the one hand, they have contributed to practical action and awareness issues. On the other hand, they also promote environmental eco-tourism. It is for livelihood programs, which brings more economic advantages for the local government and the community based on the environmentally friendly concept.
The eco-tourism program just initiated recently in a couple of years ago. The main idea is, if the visitor trekking-up to the mountain, they will pay entrance tax, they will also automatically buy local products selling by the communities near the mountain area. The eco-tourism was implemented under the cooperation of the local leaders, the ministry of environmental conservation, and forestry. The tax money will directly go to the local leader and department of environment and conservation administration. Then, I was curious to know how the Mamout organization sustains its activities. According to one of the coordinators, he said, “their activities are based on volunteerism, no economic benefit, they do this activity because they love the environment. This is the place we live here, grew-up”. I can say the Mamout volunteer team’s dedication activities are based on the moral obligation to protect and conserve the environment (ecosystem). It is probably their passion, their exceptional dedication to making their environment clean, protected and conserved, free from any pollution and damage.
This is one example, collective action to protect and conserve the environment should be based on our strong motivation, pure volunteer action. All noble motivation should be derived from our individual awareness. It is a moral obligation to our life because a clean environment reveals life. Our life definitely relies on the environment. To keep the environment clean and enjoy the beauty of the landscape, view, it requires our action. It is crucial that human being needs to reinvent our mindset. A rhetorics mindset is essential to conserve the environment. This is a moment for us to act collectively and build an intense action to preserve our environment.
Why is the environment vital for us? A small note from the conversation with the Momout volunteers.
It is common knowledge in human life that the environment is a vital element for human beings. That’s because the environment provides life to us. Practically, humans being will not survive without access to water, food, rain, sun, and all the elements on this planet that are considered part of the environment.
The idea of the importance of the environment for humans has led to many environmental activists, such as my friend Uchok and his volunteers’ team have practically initiated great ecological protection activities. They have almost spent part of their time doing volunteer activities in the mountains of Cilengkrang-Bandung.
Drawing from the informal talks, I noted from a couple of volunteer coordinators at the camping area, I can say that they have shown extraordinary dedication to the environment. They have worked hard in preserving or conserving the environment with their own initiative. For instance, some regular activities that they have been doing are about planting trees, managing tree care, water, cleaning the forest and river from the plastic product, and ensuring that there is no environmental damage in that area.
Momout volunteer’s team’s contribution needs to be appreciated. Their actions are incredible; they have dedicated their lives to environmental preservation. Contributing to environmental protection is noble and need to be proud of it.
Build friendship and eating together with the banana leaf.
It was almost 1.30 Am, the atmosphere was cold, foggy, and dark, yet that night’s journey had its great moment—the brilliant moment derived from the beauty of nature that is so unique at that night. We enjoyed the night view, and the night landscape was so amazing, we can see the Bandung city with amazing colorful lights from the uphill. We did not only enjoy the night view, but also, we all together with the team and volunteers put the food on the banana leaf and it together. It was so amazing. Actually, I never have that kind of experience, having food together like this, no spoon, no plate, use our fingers.
After having dinner, we continue having some coffee. It was the right moment for us to know each other, to build a friendship and networks from that night, sharing our life experiences, more importantly, build a close fraternity-friendship. Building a network, friendship, brotherhood, and fraternity have the historical dimensions in our life at that moment and in the future.
Thank you to all friends there, especially the volunteers of the Mamout organization and the Grapes Foundation. We do appreciate your generosity as a great human being and friends, best amigos.
Terima kasih kepada semua teman, Direktor grapiks, Mba Dina, dan teteh yang lainya, Bang Edi, Uchok and his assistant (cheese buat Oliver enakkk), 2 tim relawan Mamout di atas bukit, dan teman-teman lainya.