“I am Native, I Want to be Self-reliant”

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The Land of Papua Inspiration Session which is part of the Kaimana Elementary School School of Eco Diplomacy event on Thursday (29/9/2021).

The spirit of independence is deeply rooted within Muhammad Kasim Ombaier’s heart. The Kaimana born man in West Papua realized the tourism potential could be well managed to grow local economy. Kasim spoke his experiences as the owner of homestay at Namatota Village to 18 participants of School of Eco Diplomacy (SED) Beginner Class in Kaimana, Thursday (29/5/2021). 

“I have run my homestay since 2017. It came up from my own will when I saw people in Raja Ampat could build their region and I am the local could not. I am native, I want to be self-reliant,” said Nyong, Kasim’s nickname, telling the reasons for running tourism.

With the persistent will, Nyong currently has 3 units of homestay that could accommodate 2 guests of each unit. Nyong employs 5 workers to care for the order and clean water supply. 

Read also: Threats in The Kingdom of Fishes Kaimana

Namatota Village has local attractiveness with the well-nurtured and charming coral reefs. The surrounding waters also become tourism spots in which visitors could perceive directly whale shark, the largest fish in the world.

Nyong gets around 20 visitors every month. Guests staying the night at his homestay do not only come from Indonesia but also from some other countries like Australia, France, Russia and Belgium. “The figure was guests coming before the pandemic. Now it is sluggish. Local visitors are less than 20 every month,” said Nyong.

In addition to Nyong, there were two other young inspirers, namely Domberay Landscape Coordinator of EcoNusa Foundation, Alosius Numberi, and a videographer and 2019 SED alumnus, Roberto Yekwam.

Alo, a nickname of Alosius, told the participants on the natural resources management program run by EcoNusa. Alo and his team paid a visit to some hamlets to map the existing potentials while assisting the community to develop natural resources through capacity building. “For instance, there is nutmeg, I have responsibility to develop the potential here,” he said.

Read also: Kaimana Calls for Eco-Diplomat

Alo also shared his experiences when Saubeba villagers in Tambrauw Regency rejected him. “You are cheating,” said Alo imitating the locals say to him at the time. “But by providing decent explanation, the community eventually welcome us. Tambrauw community is the best,” Alo recalled the event.

Roberto Yekwam who come from Tambrauw shared his experiences on his filmmaking on environmental issues at some villages. Roberto uses film as the comprehensible medium to educate local people on environmental issues. 

Roberto, activist from Papuan Voice community, also told his exciting event when he was one of the 42 participants of various countries taking parts in the video-making training on coastal debris. The virtual training was organized by a US major institution.

During the training, Roberto got a language barrier when communicated with other participants. But he did not give up. “When I joined, it was really hard. On the first day I tried to join but was not till the end. The next day I just took part. The next day, the chatted with me. I translated the words using an application, then I texted back,” he smiled remembering the event.

Read also: Handing West Papua Forests Back to Titleholders

As an SED alumnus, Roberto gave a message to the participants to make use of SED as the learning medium as optimum as possible. “Take advantage from School of Eco Diplomacy optimally. Here is where you can learn, exchange ideas and make your action right now. Otherwise, you will regret it for good,” said Roberto.

SED Kaimana is the 6th SED organized by EcoNusa Foundation. The four-day training was attended by 18 participants from 3 regions in West Papua of which 13 comes from Kaimana Regency, 2 from South Sorong Regency and 3 from Sorong Regency. All participants are 16-25 years of age young people who passed the essay and interview tests before the event.

Author: Astried
Editor: Leo Wahyudi & V. Arnila Wulandani

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