By Ellie Marshall, Friday 16th June 2023
I spent a very enjoyable two weeks volunteering with Manengkel Solidaritas and learnt so much. Here’s the lowdown of my time here.
When I first arrived I received a warm welcome and felt at ease straight away. It was an Indonesian holiday, followed by the weekend and Sella kindly invited myself and the other volunteers on her family holiday to her villa in nearby town, Tomohon. I was sick when I first arrived and Sella kindly contacted the doctor and bought me medicine.
The following week volunteering began. We were introduced to the projects Manengkel is currently working on and we were able to choose what we wanted to help with that week. The charity really respect outsiders’ input and they actively encourage you to suggest new ideas for activities and ways of working.
I chose to assist with the community business development and mangrove conservation programme. Myself, Margot (another volunteer), Syamsul and Robin headed down to rural fishing village, Kapitu.
There we helped 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.
We also helped with planting and monitoring mangroves (which involved noting down their unique number, length, number of leaves and number of branches). Manengkel are carrying out mangrove rehabilitation and the plan is to plant 1500 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.
We spent a lot of our free time playing with the cute kids in the village, swimming in the sea and teaching them English. They were very funny and eager to learn. Being foreigners, we drew quite a crowd wherever we went in the village.
As part of our work, Margot and I filmed an interview with the women’s mushroom growing group and another with the head of the mangrove group for use on social media. You can read out time in Kapitu in our blog here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CtdswFYI42G
The second week we worked on a grant proposal for to UK funder, the Waterloo Foundation for the Management of a recently designated MPA in Bitung, North Sulawesi. We also worked on updating the website with the current projects and updated the social media channels.
We also created three videos for use on social media from our work in the previous week - one video to summarise the process of mushroom growing by the local women’s group in Kapitu, one interview with the leader to the women’s group in Kapitu and one interview with the leader of the mangrove group in Kapitu.
Later in the week, Margot and I, along with Edwin, Jorly, Robin and Andy went to a local resort to help re-plant trees that had been cut down. We managed to plant 69 trees.
On my final day myself and all the volunteers, along with Steven, Andy, Xaxa and Erlan went to the foot of Mount Klabat to plant trees. We planted 50 between us, which are being planted to prevent soil erosion and increase surface run off to conserve water for the villages below.
Overall I loved my time at Manengkel and really felt like a part of the team. I learnt a lot and will miss everyone very much. I hope I have the opportunity to volunteer here again in the future!