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A week in Kapitu empowering local women and planting mangroves

By Ellie Marshall and Margot Mauduit, 14th June 2023

On 6th June we went to Kapitu, a small fishing village in North Sulawesi for four days with the team from Manengkel Solidaritas.

Day 1 : 6th June 2023

We left Manado around 1:30pm and arrived in the village in the late afternoon. Felt good to take a shower when we got there, what hot weather over here! It was clear it was a deprived area and the houses were mainly wooden or tin roofed huts.

The kids from the village were very excited to see us and followed us about wherever we went (they were way too adorable and funny!)

In the evening we met the village head to inform him of our activities.

Then we went to a local restaurant for dinner and had some Nasi Goreng (rice with vegetables and eggs) along with Tahu Goreng (fried Tofu), enak!. Afterwards we had an early night, preparing ourselves for a busy day with the local women’s group.

Day 2 : 7th June

On the second day we woke up early ready to help the local women prepare soil bags to grow oyster mushrooms, which they can sell to create a livelihood for themselves and nutrition for the village.

There is a group of about 10 women who have received training from Manengkel, making it a sustainable way for them to keep earning money. In turn, they will teach more women the growing process.

The women came to the house and introduced themselves. They explained the process and we created about 25 bags in total. We filmed an interview with the women.

In the afternoon, we went over to the mangrove nursery in a nearby village. Manengkel, along with Cargill are carrying out mangrove rehabilitation and the plan is to plant 1,500 mangroves by 2027. In the long term, they will create an eco tourism village which will create profit in a sustainable way for the locals, whilst conserving the natural environment.

The mangrove team then walked over to the planting site and we monitored them, noting down their height, the amount of leaves and the amount of branches.

Afterwards we were rewarded with a fresh coconut cut open to drink.

In the late afternoon we went for a swim in the sea. It was sad to see it was so full of plastic pollution, but this could be a future area of focus for Manengkel. The whole village worth of local children joined us and we played together.

Day 3 : 8th June

After breakfast we helped package some more soil bags for the mushrooms up at the house with a member of the women’s group, Injil, along with the local kids.

For lunch Injil bought us some spicy beans, fried tofu and rice, which was delicious. Afterwards we went to the beach to teach English to the cute local kids who were very eager to learn. We played simple games with them and sang songs such as "head, shoulders, knees and toes" and "if you’re happy and you know it".

In the evening we helped packed some more soil bags and then had a Mie Goreng (noodles with vegetables) for dinner along with Pia (chocolate filled pastries) for pudding.

Day 4 : 9th June

It was our final day in Kapitu. We went back to the mangrove site and planted more mangroves. When we were back in the village we interviewed the head of the mangrove group, Henrik.

When it was time to go, we wrote them a letter to thank them for the amazing moments we shared. It was hard for everyone say their goodbyes.

We drove off on our motorbikes back to Manado, and arrived over there at nightime.


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