Building a Village

In April, Year Five's three-day residential trip to Sentul, in the hills two hours south of BSJ, served as the year-group's introduction to their new curriculum topic, 'Building a Village''.

Situated in Bogor, West Java, the highland villages of Sentul offer a rich experience of rural heritage, in which our students were able to connect with the local community and learn about ecotourism.

The children took part in eight activities that aimed to build their respect of the local culture and environment. A highlight for many was the chance to partake in padi farming, through which they learnt about the cycle of rice production, as well as the difficulties faced by rice farmers to produce a successful yield.

In the local school, where Cigobang's community leaders, Pak Iru and Pak Didin, teach up to 100 students in one small classroom, the group got to know children of their own age from very different backgrounds. After icebreaker games, they discussed the village's challenges, in terms of waste management and educating people about their responsibilities towards the environment.

Another enjoyable activity was taking coffee from harvest to market. The students learnt to identify coffee beans, before carrying heavy bags between them back down to a family homestead. This is where the hard work really began: using the hand mill to separate the cherry husk from the beans, roasting them, grinding them and, finally, boiling and drinking the coffee. The children learnt that a village farmer would earn around 600,000Rp (just over US$40) for 75kg of the finished product - and were astounded when they compared this to Starbucks' yield of 15,000,000Rp (over $1,000) for the same quantity.

During the trip, our students also enjoyed testing their fitness and immersing themselves in the landscape on a 5km hill trek, spotting key features of village life along the way.

"The trip was very memorable and fun because you get to experience how people in local villagers live their daily lives." - Bari

"I enjoyed going in the rice paddy field because I liked putting my feet in the mud and planting rice." - Charlotte

"I really enjoyed most of the activities and my favourite one was when we played games with the village kids!" - Aysha