I'm not a huge fan of gardening to be honest. I much prefer baking and cooking. But I do feel that we all need to know how to grow our own food. We're so used to buying our food at the market or the supermarket, that we have no idea what exactly it takes to grow food. This is especially true for people living in cities, like me :)
So when the Jakarta International School (JIS) asked whether the YUM Organic Farm was interested to conduct a 2-day training on how to make an urban organic garden, I jumped on the occasion. YUM's Organic Farm Coordinator, Oleh, was also excited to do it, and I think he did an excellent job teaching teachers and 7th and 8th grade students at Sekolah Musika.
Sekolah Musika is a school in Ciputat that caters to children from low income families. The owner of the foundation that runs the school used to work at JIS, and she would like her students' horizons to be broadened just like kids in international schools. That's why she has asked JIS and YUM's help to teach her students how to grow an urban organic garden.

Oleh starts by doing a 1-hour in-class presentation where the students are taken through all the steps in organic farming

The land is then cleared, marked and the soil is turned over

After a grueling 3-hour process, we were able to finish making 4 beds. These beds are made entirely from soil, the cheapest alternative to cement or bricks, and made in such a way that it will last up to 10 years.

The side of the beds are then covered with grass.

Finally the planting area is turned over and fertilizer (rice chaff and chicken manure) is added.

This is the fun part, when the children can start planting!

The whole gang at the end of the 2-day activity :)



It's a real pity that not many young Indonesians know about Pak Raden and the puppet show he once created called "Si Unyil".... As I was driving to the exhibition last Sunday portraying 60 years of dedication to art by Pak Raden (or Drs. Suyadi), I realized that my son knows only cartoons and sophisticated animations! It felt nice to introduce to him another type of "cartoon".
Pak Raden is a character created by an artist called Suyadi, who I just recently found out, spent 3 years studying animation in Paris! I knew him as the creator of a televised puppet show in the 1980s that was watched by almost all children in Indonesia. What I didn't know was that he was also a visual artist and animator... The exhibition I saw last Sunday was a real joy, especially for someone having lived in Paris, because he stereotypes french people and indonesians seeing France for the first time :)

Pak Raden teaching a song to the children who came to hear him tell a story.

Everyone wanted to be in the picture with Pak Raden.

An old lady's opinion of the wayang: "The anatomy is all wrong, and the proportions too.. my God!"

Better to make a woman blush, than to make her laugh. I myself prefer laughing but at jokes, not at the man :)

In any foreign country, it's easy to pretend to be someone we're not. Here the lady tells journalists she's the daughter of the future king of Java :)

If you want to know more about Pak Raden, you can see videos of him entitled "Terima kasih Pak Raden" on Youtube, visit his website, like his facebook page or read my friend Kyra's visit to see Pak Raden on her blog.



Not many people know about dayak culture and it was very refreshing when a "Dayak Culture Festival" was announced in Jakarta a few weeks ago. Since YUM has a working area in Central Kalimantan, we deal with dayak people every day, and some of our projects actually involves the preservation of the dayak culture. Unfortunately since it's still quite a remote area, not many people know about it, and the preservation projects are not as many as say in Bali or Java. As you'll see below, dayak art and handicrafts are actually quite beautiful:

One huge project that YUM is currently trying to find funding for is the construction of a Vocational Training Center not far from Palangka Raya. More than 90% of the population where our project area is situated lives below the poverty line, mainly because they lack the education and skills needed to find a decent job to feed their family and improve their lives. One of the skills we are hoping to teach involves dayak culture and handicrafts because a) there is hardly any dayak handicrafts sold in the area and b) to keep the dayak culture alive. If you want to know more about this project, you can see a video that we made: http://vimeo.com/40845388