After six hours of being in the bus, the Australia Indonesia Youth
Exchange Program (AIYEP) participants finally arrived in Sambas Village.
“We had a welcoming ceremony first in Bupati’s house” said Desi, our
local coordinator for Indonesia phase.
For your information, AIYEP contains two phases, an Australian and
Indonesian phase. The participants from Indonesia stayed in Australia first for
two months and then continued to stayed in an Indonesian province together with
AIYEP participants from Australia.
I thought we would go directly to the village and meet our
Two buses that brought us there finally arrived in front of a big building
with a big field out the front. People gathered there, some wearing civil servant
uniforms, some with traditional clothes of Sambas, what amazed me was there are
also youth of Sambas with their youth community uniform, scouts uniforms and also
PASKIBRAKA uniform (it is a group of selected youth who had duty to raise the
flag on our national celebration day).
It made me feel like a really important person at that time. Formal
meeting as usual began with singing national anthem of both Indonesia and
Australia and speech from important stake-holders and from the Ministry of Youth
It finished by taking pictures together.
“Ayo foto sama kakak bule (let’s take a picture with foreigner)” said
some of the youths at the time, they were really excited to meet the Australia participants
in their village.
We then came into the bus again, ready to continue the journey and meet
our new families.
From far away, I could see the sea of people, like, oh my god! What a
Sambas residents looked awesome with their traditional clothes, I
personally could see how happy they were, all smiling and laughing especially
when they saw the ‘bule’. We were also amazed with the dance that the youth
there presented to us.
We were then guided to a big tend, where we then sat together with the
stake-holders, outiside the open-tent, people gathered, all lining up. After
all the speeches and the announcements of who our host-families are (which was such
a heart-attack moment), the food was then served for us.
These foods actually have to be eaten in a certain way, it’s called
‘SAPRAHAN’, traditional style of eating in Sambas.
In one big pan, there is a bowl of rice and six different foods, with
only one spoon in one of the plates. There was a pot of water too, not for you
to drink but to wash hands. We had to eat with our hand, yeah, which is not too
usual for the Australian.
The philosophy of that eating tradition is related to Islam and its
beliefs. There is what is called ‘Rukun Iman’ in Islam which contain six basic
faith in Islam (Allah, Angels, Prophet, Qur’an, Destiny and The End of the Day).
The six meals served in Saprahan represent this Rukun Iman.
One spoon represents the one holy sentence of Islam, which is, ‘God is
one and Muhammad is the last prophet’. It is usually said as the promise when
someone wants to follow Islam as his religion. Eating by hand is actually what
suggested in Islam.
The people who live in Kalimantan Barat are really varied. Three main
ethnicity was Dayak, Melayu and Tionghoa. In some villages, the majority of its
residents are moslem, that might be the reason why this eating tradition exist.
Not only to appreciate Islamic philosophy but also as a way to tighten
our relationships by eating and sharing foods together.
After we finished eating, we went back to the house of our host-family.
Each of them had one Indonesian and Australian participant of AIYEP. They are
the people who we will spend most of our time with over the month (December to
January). And we all are excited!
By: Risni Ade Sandra