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“This kind of activity has never existed in East Arefi Village”

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EcoNusa team provide bobo leaves to Arefi’s villagers. Those leaves will be made for roof and wall for damaged homestay. Doc. EcoNusa

After a 6 hour journey from Sorong with Kurabesi, the Raja Ampat EcoNusa Covid-19 Response team finally arrived at the first stop, namely Kampung Arefi Timur in North Batanta District, Raja Ampat Regency. Batanta Utara initially consisted of only one village named Arefi. During its development, Arefi Village was then divided into East Arefi and South Arefi Villages. 

In East Arefi, a team of agricultural extension agents began to prepare assistance to be given to the community. Assistance in the form of 13 packs of organic fertilizer, 5 packs of fertilizer sacks, 2 bottles of liquid fertilizer, various vegetable seeds, agricultural tools such as hoes, sprayers, crop shears, boots, farmer hats or hats, poly bags and 10 units handcart each. 10 hoes, 10 sprayers, 10 crop shears, 10 boots, 10 peasant hats, 10), polybags (10 packs), wheelbarrows (10 units), and cloth masks (250 pieces). Meanwhile, the health team will hand over 20 hazmat suits, 250 cloth masks, 13 boxes of medical masks, 11 packs of face shields and 3 boxes of gloves.

This pandemic has made tourist visits completely non-existent. Many homestays in villages in Raja Ampat are damaged and unkempt because they have never been occupied and repaired. To help the community unravel the problems of homestays that were damaged without maintenance during the pandemic, EcoNusa took the initiative to empower the people of East Arefi to make roofs and walls from bobo leaves (nipah leaves) by providing 1,000 units of bobo leaves. Of the 1,000 roofs, 200 of them are used by inns in East Arefi to repair their homestays. Meanwhile, the remaining 800 roofs were distributed to several areas in Raja Ampat through the Raja Ampat Homestay Association. When the EcoNusa Covid-19 Response team arrived at 08.30 WIT in East Arefi, the community had gathered under a ketapang tree next to the village office by implementing health protocols. People who come not only from East Arefi, but also from neighboring villages, namely South Arefi. They are ready to take part in health education from the medical team that came with EcoNusa. The East Arefi Village Government, represented by Fraim Dimara as Deputy Chair of the Village Deliberative Council, welcomed the arrival of the EcoNusa team with great joy.

Read also: EcoNusa Covid-19 Response Responding Pandemic Impact at Raja Ampat

Sharing Covid-19 prevention information

Medical team member, dr. Then Rahmat Yuanda Aji or who is often called by doctors Nanda and Destyana, volunteer nurses, explained about Covid-19 and the importance of maintaining personal hygiene in a pandemic situation. How to wash hands and the reasons for using masks are explained in a simple way so that they are easily accepted by all East Arefi people.

The enthusiasm of the residents is reflected in the many questions they ask about Covid-19. There are two of the most interesting. First, someone asked the truth of the information that basking in the sun is a natural anti-corona. Second, some have asked whether Covid-19 is a disease from Russia. All community questions were answered clearly and logically by Doctor Nanda.

“Activities like this have never existed in East Arefi Village. We got information about the dangers of Covid-19 only from the news and notifications we received while visiting Sorong, ”said Verson Rumbewas, one of the residents who took part in the health education. He added that the detailed explanation they received regarding this virus and disease was still very minimal.

After the health counseling, EcoNusa held a free health check. The village government office was transformed into a health clinic and pharmacy. Based on Doctor Nanda’s statement, the Arefi people are predominantly affected by low back pain (LBP) or back pain due to often carrying too heavy loads. In addition, many also contract ARI (upper respiratory tract infection) due to frequent inhalation of firewood smoke.

Villagers in East Arefi and South Arefi receive free medication from health volunteer EcoNusa Covid-19 Response Team. 

“ISPA and Covid-19 had confused the public because the symptoms of both were similar. However, the continuous socialization efforts by the puskesmas have made the public begin to understand and be alert, “said Maikel Rumaseb, the Yensawai Puskesmas nurse who also often treats the East Arefi community.

In East Arefi itself, there are health workers. However, if there are people who are sick and need serious treatment, they have to go to the Yensawai Puskesmas, which is 30 minutes away by boat. Meanwhile, at the Yensawai Community Health Center, there are no doctors serving public health, only paramedics and health workers.

Encouraging organic farming

Meanwhile, Jemima Desi Wamna and Utreks Hembring, a team of agricultural volunteers, exchanged information about various farming techniques with the people of East Arefi.

Basically, the East Arefi Community has implemented organic agriculture. So far they have planted without using fertilizers and other artificial chemicals. However, the methods applied, from seeding to harvesting, are not yet structured.

In East Arefi, which is inhabited by 249 people (88 households), almost all of them live by farming. Since Covid-19 came and stopped tourism activities, they have been increasingly active in gardening to meet their daily food needs.

“Blunt machetes are sharpened again for gardening,” said Fraim Dimara.

The EcoNusa team hopes that the assistance provided to the community will provide food security as long as the community cannot earn income from the tourism sector during the pandemic.

Farming tools are given to villagers to strengten farming activity in the village during pandemic. Doc. EcoNusa.

“Hopefully this agricultural equipment can be used with affection so that what is planted can make all of you happy,” said Matheos Yacobus Rayar, representative of the EcoNusa team when handing over aid to the people in East Arefi.

Meanwhile, while agricultural counseling was taking place in East Arefi, representatives of EcoNusa Covid-19 Response, Cory Adriani Kapa and Samuel Wospakrik, left for Yensawai Island to hand over assistance in the form of 20 hazmat suits, 13 boxes of medical masks, 11 packs of face shields and 3 boxes. gloves to representatives of the Yensawai Community Health Center. The assistance was received by Mantri Maikel Rumaseb. Meanwhile in East Arefi itself, medical equipment and agricultural equipment were also given to representatives of Arefi Timur and South Arefi Villages.

After a day in Arefi Village, the EcoNusa team continued its mission. Late in the afternoon, Kurabesi sailed back to Urbinasopen Island.

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