Warm Greetings from Sembalun’s Teacher

Dear Kakak Bintang, 

Last month  we took  you on a virtual tour to meet with  education warriors in Kei Island, Southeast Maluku. We hope you found the beaches and the unique traditional cultures of Kei Island as remarkable as we did. This time, we would embark on another adventure to our next destination: Sembalun, East Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, where Kak Fahmi and Kak Mahfud will show you the panoramic view of the mountain and the valleys and the hospitality of the people in Sembalun.  Sembalun, being located in East Lombok Regency, holds an  enormous tourism potential, including one as a gateway to Mount Rinjani National Park. Mount Rinjani is the tallest point on Lombok Island and the second tallest volcano mountain in Indonesia. A climb to its top is one of the most exhilarating experiences one can have in Indonesia. So are you excited to see the breathtaking view of our journey to Sembalun? Let’s check it out! Sembalun’s proudest boast would absolutely be the majestic view of Mount Rinjani. The beautiful scenery overlooking Mount Rinjani could be seen along the road. As  Kak Fahmi and Kak Mahfud were getting closer to Sembalun, they were  greeted by a magnificent panorama of rice fields and greenery. The rice paddy and vegetable fields stretched across the landscape like a rainbow carpet. So beautiful! Kak Fahmi and Kak Mahfud arrived at Zainuddin Abdul Madjid International Airport and traveled by hilly road for 4 hours from Praya, Central Lombok to Sembalun Village, East Lombok. The road was rather rough and our sight was unclear due to the thick fog. Sembalun Village is part of Sembalun Sub-District and has several villages including Sajang, Timbang Gading, Bilong Petung and Bumbung Village. Kak Fahmi and Kak Mahfud will take you to stroll around and meet the education warrior from Sembalun. Being close to a volcanic mountain has its own benefit. Sembalun thrives with its horticultural agriculture, which means fresh produce is in abundance.  This geographic advantage drives the people of Sembalun to become farmers. On one side of the village, these farmers grow rice, chili, carrots, cabbage, and onions, among a  range of other different foods. Sembalun is also the biggest producer of spices in West Nusa Tenggara. Kak Fahmi and Kak Mahfud made a first stop in  SDN 1 Sembalun Timba Gading. They both  were warmly welcomed by the school’s headmaster and teachers. Kak Fahmi and Kak Mahfud had the opportunity to present some information and discuss about Hoshizora. During this discussion, they got to know more about the education warriors from the area. We are proud to introduce Pak Hasri as the Area coordinator from Sembalun. Pak Hasri and his passion for education is truly  inspiring. He started his career as a school administrator in SDN 1 Sembalun. He  was then appointed to be  the school operator who managed all the information and data of the school. Although he didn’t have any supporting devices such as laptops or PCs, his spirit of learning and giving the best for his community  is  extraordinary. Through his dedication, Pak Hasri became the one and only Guru Penggerak in Sembalun. Good job, Pak Hasri!  Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim has introduced the Guru Penggerak as the part of his Merdeka Belajar (Freedom to Learn) Program. The teachers will not only focus on the curriculum but also encourage the holistic growth of students. They are also hoped to help improve the collaboration between schools and other parties, including parents, other schools, and other regions. Kak Fahmi and Kak Mahfud  continued their journey to SDN 1 Sembalun and went to the village hall of Sembalun to meet Pak Waton as the representative of the local leader. Pak Waton mentioned  that agricultural output in Sembalun has decreased during the pandemic, causing an economic impact, especially on farmers with children. The parents want to send their children to higher education but are constrained by social and economic conditions due to the amount of crops that have dropped significantly. The beautiful scenery of the  stunning Mount Rinjani makes Sembalun become one of the favorite tourist destinations in Lombok. This has prompted some local people to turn to tourism as they can no longer rely on farming for their livelihoods. Integrating the two areas, the farmers  grasp  a business opportunity in agrotourism. On the following day, Kak Fahmi and Kak Mahfud went to another village called Bilok Petung Village where they had such  a bumpy and narrow road to get there. Bilok Petung is the outermost area of Sembalun sub-district. In Bilok Petung they meet Pak Kadek, a teacher of SDN 2 Bilok Petung. The awareness to receive education amongst the people  in Bilok Petung is considered  low. Every new academic year, only 9 to 12 students enroll in  that school. Oftentimes, the school would still open for registration even though the school has already started. School pick ups habitually need to be arranged by the school teachers. This happens since the parents are working till late at the farms. For example, Pak Kadek would drop  3 to 5 students home on his  motorcycle. They also see this as a strategy to raise awareness for children to go to school. By this action Pak Kadek is best known for his role as Guru Garis Depan in Sembalun. In the spirit of finding local solutions to local issues in education, Hoshizora began to collaborate with local stakeholders in Sembalun to rapidly devise new strategies for improving educational quality in the area. Let’s continue to support Pak Hasri to fight for a better quality of education in Sembalun.  Are you excited to explore more stories about education in Indonesia? Watch this space for other exciting stories from Hoshizora.  Virtual Journeys to Sembalun, East Lombok!  Take a Look at Our Virtual Journeys to Sembalun, East Lombok! Discover more Hidden Gems with Sembalun, East Lombok Virtual Tour! 

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