The Story of 10 International Interns in Tihulale, Maluku
by Caroline Wallace
Ten interns, eight different countries, and one epic adventure into the stunning, mystical heart of Indonesia. In the project collaboration between AIESEC Indonesia and Yayasan Citra Kasih Abadi. Project collaboration between AIESEC Indonesia and Yayasan Citra kasih Abadi. Welcome to Tihulale…
We arrived in Tihulale village on Wednesday, 10th May, with our goal to help put the village “on the map” and promote the unique and vibrant culture the community in Tihulale has to offer, not only to the people of Indonesia, but also to the rest of the world. Our project, “The Wonderful Maluku Project”, consists of three components, involving a total of twenty eight interns from around the world, and each section of the project focuses on three rural villages, located in West Seram; Tihulale, Kaibobo, and Niwelehue villages.
Our team (the Tihulale team) is made up of ten interns, each with a specific role to help generate and promote tourism as an overall objective. The team consists of roles in marketing, business development, product innovation, and journalism. We are a diverse group, and come from countries ranging from Europe to North and South America. With Tihulale being a very rural village, not many tourists or travellers have ventured into the unknown of West Seram. Our goal as a team is to uncover Tihulale’s hidden gems, found in the lush green forests, to the clear, crystal beaches, and help create awareness of such a paradise to outside communities. All of the interns involved in the project have different backgrounds, with the majority of us having travelled prior to arriving in Tihulale. However, a large proportion of the team were both unsuspecting and naïve to the Indonesia culture that was there to greet us with open arms, and both the challenges and adventures we would face. Even today, we as a group, are experiencing new and extraordinary events, which help us discover more about the culture and allow us to be able to promote a tangible and genuine Tihulale, rather than an illusion.
After spending roughly two weeks submerged in Tihulale’s traditions, we have managed to explore some of the natural wonders of West Seram. A few include, the beautiful Lahena waterfall, which is hidden in the tropical forest surrounding the village; once a home of the “Old Tihulale”. Lahena waterfall is both grand and magical, due to the sheer volume and power the waterfall posses. We also took a forty minute speed-boat ride to the island of Molana, which was just breathtaking and something one might see as a computer screen saver; a destination so perfect, yet untouched. It was like a paradise. Each day we continue to explore the island, in amongst work and during our free time. A new and beautiful world slowly unravels each day, to expose a new layer of Tihulale, with its rich, and deep culture.
Throughout discovering Tihulale and it’s potential, we have developed ideas to help promote tourism within the village, and expose the rich and diverse places the village has to offer, to the people of Indonesia, and also globally. By doing so we are putting Tihulale “on the map”. We are giving the village the voice it needs and also deserves, for being unique and beautiful. We have come up with various projects, involving promoting the village through social media channels (such as Facebook, Instagram, blogs, and Wikipedia), focusing on “hot spots” within the village and surrounding areas. We also are concentrating on boosting the recognition of Tihulale through the use of brochures/ booklets and through the creation of an overall website. These projects will be able to not only display our work as a team, it will also provide a platform displaying what the Tihulale village and its people have to offer. We also wish to spread the word about two larger events which we have been planning, and which will take place in Tihulale.
During the beginning of June, we will hold a recycling event, which both the interns and villagers will participate in, with the aim to clean up Tihulale, collect all the rubbish; dividing the collected items into waste material and recyclable items (mainly plastic). The goal is to gather enough plastic which can be further recycled and help contribute to a larger and more efficient recycling program. The remaining waste, collected from the garbage, will be put toward starting a landfill site, with the hope of an appropriate waste management system in the future. The goal for this event is not only involve the villagers in a clean up of their village; demonstrating the true potential for the village within the tourism industry, but also allowing for sustainable and environmentally friendly living conditions within Tihulale. This event creates awareness of the benefits of recycling, within the village (and potentially on a larger scale), and will also be the focus point for starting a maintainable waste management plan. The recycling event, goes hand-in-hand for the preparation of the traditional day event.
Traditional Day will be held on Saturday 17th June, with the event focusing on empowering the people of Tihulale, while showcasing their rich and diverse culture throughout the day (focusing on an array of food, crafts, and dances). In the afternoon, there will be a competition, “Tihulale’s Got Talent”, where individuals from the village will take part in pieces involving cleaning (similar to the recycling day), English speaking, and singing. Each section will be judged separately, with a panel of judges consisting of interns and villagers. These events are to showcase Tihulale’s potential as a village, and promote the local culture to both tourists, and people from Indonesia, as well as demonstrating to the villagers themselves, the beautiful traditions.
As a team, our overall aim it to encourage people to visit not only the beautiful Tihulale, but the region of West Seram. This region, untouched and striking, is the beating heart of Indonesia. If you wish to uncover, explore and have an adventure, this is the place to come!
Links to social media:
Facebook Page: Wonderful Tihulale – Maluku