Updated: Oct 17
By Sungjoon Park, Workaway Volunteer from South Korea
On 11th October, I, along with volunteers Lin and Annika, joined Manengkel team members Robin and Samsul in Kapitu. It’s a small but charming fishing village ~2 hours away from Manado by motorbike.
Day 1: Arrival
When we arrived, we were immediately greeted by our “local guide” (Gio, the cheeky kid in the center). I walked over to the coastline with him and met with the village elders, and we enjoyed the sunset together.
Day 2: The Big Day
The next morning, we woke up with the gleeful mixture of roosters crowing and voices on the loudspeaker for church fundraising. We walked over to the mangrove nursery and met with the women taking charge of the mangrove restoration program in the village.
There, we helped move growing mangroves to their next stage respectively and planted adolescent mangrove propagules.
Look at these cute baby mangroves! Mangrove seeds are called propagules because they germinate while they still hang from the tree, and then immediately start growing when they land in the mud. In this case, the women have collected the propagules from the mangrove trees around the nursery to grow saplings.
The stream delta seemed rather dry due to the lack of rain in recent months, making the soil conditions less than ideal for new mangrove trees. Despite this, you can see in the cropped image below that some mangroves are going strong, lending hope to the mangrove restoration program.
After helping at the nursery, we were rewarded with delicious fresh coconuts, pleasant live music, and interactions with enthusiastic children from the area. The overall experience was very heartwarming and we could feel the hopefulness of the local community.
After the brief coconut snack, we all felt like a nice afternoon swim in the ocean was in order. Me, Annika, Lin, as well as dozens of kids from the village all jumped into the ocean and played, which was honestly the highlight of the trip! We played games in the water and the kids even taught us how to do handstands in the water.
Later in the afternoon, we visited the mushroom house to help out with mushroom seeding. They already had the soil ready in bags, so all we had to do was lift up the spores with the spoon and seal up the soil bags with semipermeable paper and rubber bands. After we collaborated with the good people there, they gifted us with a nice pre-dinner snack.
Upon returning home, the time was nearing sunset, so I went to a spot on the coast to enjoy the sunset. Soon, Gio and a few other boys showed up with a ball and we started playing soccer together. It was such a blessing to be playing under such beautiful skies.
But even after sunset, the day wasn’t over. I had managed to find some Samyang spicy noodles earlier at an Indomaret, so I cooked a batch for the kids clamoring outside and shared a nice meal.
And just like that, a day in Kapitu is over.
Day 3: The Beach Cleanup
The following morning, we woke up and prepared for an early day. A beach clean-up started at 8, and we were there to help them collect the trash on the beach.
They rounded up the trash collected from the beach and set fire. While this could be a short term solution to make the beach a safer place for the children to play in, the fumes and dark smoke produced by the burning symbolized the fact that this is not a sustainable solution for the village and our environment. We hope Manengkel would be able to organize local efforts to collect the trash on the beach and transport it to the municipal gov’t collection point.
After this, our next action item was to paint the boats for the ecotourism program. While we were all excited for this, the village leader told us that the painting had to be pushed to the following week because the boats were not set out of the ocean to dry from two days prior. We were a bit bummed to hear this, but we accepted that sometimes, things can’t all be perfect in the first go. By lunchtime, we said our goodbyes and departed for our home base at Manengkel Solidaritas, Manado.