Day 3: “We never cut down more trees than we need to”
Today, the Kick Andy On Location team were still ‘shopping’ footage for the show. Moving on to capture FORMADAT activities, we visited a school where we can see that FORMADAT also helps local education by teaching young students how to conserve the environment. Pak Gat Khaleb, FORMADAT’s head of Krayan Selatan region (Ketua Wilayah Krayan Selatan), is also a principal at Krayan Selatan Junior High School and so was asked to give a class about this to local elementary schools. I remembered Pak Gat’s stories earlier, how his parents sold many cattle to pay for his education in Tarakan and Jakarta. People here believe that education is important for their children.
We’re also lucky to have George Sigar Sultan as Head of Malaysia FORMADAT join us at Krayan. He also shares the same spirit as Pak Lewi and the rest of FORMADAT, to work together and protect natural resources and traditional knowledge.
“Nature offers us many valuable life lessons too, we should be grateful with all the blessings that nature gives us,” said Pak Lewi. Personally I found Pak Lewi a visionary man, spreading positive energy to the people around him. When I heard one team was going to follow him into the nearby forest, I volunteered to join.
Pak Lewi walked, stopped a few times, and greeted the people he met. He said the forest has always been his home. It offers so many things for people’s livelihoods. FORMADAT’s goal is to protect the forests around them – an area of approximately around 1.35 million hectares. “We never cut down more trees than we need to. We will never open or sell our forest for money. It would vanish soon. But if we protect our forest, it will give us life for many years,” said Pak Lewi while we entered the forest.
He explained about the trees and herbs that local people use for medicine. On our way, we met four brown horses who were eating grass. And just like I’ve often seen in movies, Pak Lewi called those horses and obediently they came closer to him and he petted them for a while. The team and I were amazed. Pak Lewi just smiled when I asked him if he could speak to the animals.
We didn’t go too deep into the forest. We saw rice fields where a man and woman worked. They are Pak Lewi’s cousins. They have a small house made from the woods nearby. In the small lake nearby a few cattle were having their noon bath. In front of my eyes, I could see layers of green mountains and white clouds and clear blue sky. We decided to take our lunch break here. They have a tree of litchi, or locally called mata kucing (cat’s eye) or lengkeng. One of the crew climbed it and came down with lots of fruit for us. I tried another sweet fruit, called cempedak which looks like jackfruit. For someone who is based in Jakarta, having this site-experience, tasting the local fruit right from the tree, is such a privilege.
We walked back to the telecenter. The team needed to finalise the ‘treatment’ for tomorrow’s show and Andy F. Noya, the presenter, had only one day to do all the shooting. The team wanted to make sure all the necessary preparations were completed. Tomorrow is a big day!