This is a blog from one of the young people we work with in Sarongge, Agus Kusnadi. Green Initiative Foundation is supporting Agus to realise his ambition of working in tourism…
Friday 24th May is the start of my learning to become an eco-tourism guide in Sarongge. I begin my training with a walk on Pasir Tengah in Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park, which will take around two hours.
Along with some guests we start our trip from the Camping Ground and go around the forest until we reach Pasir Tengah. Im accompanying our head guide, Pak Sopian, so I can observe how to explain the flora and fauna to the guests.
Every 3 – 5 meters, Pak Sopian explains the plants that we meet. Not only does it mean our guests learn about lots of new plants, but it also means they dont get too tired!
Very conveniently we were feeling tired when we found the plant called “Hariang Beururm” (Begonia Robusta). Also know as Begonia. Begonia leaves are normally heart-shaped with fine hairs. The stalk of the Begonia is edible, if the stalk is peeled and the hairy bit thrown away first. The flavour is a little bit sour, but its an excellent source of Vitamin C and when in the forest it helps to take away your thirst. The leaves can also be used as herbal medicine for fever.
As well as observing how Pak Sopian guides the guests, I also have to pay close attention to the paths that we take, so when it is my turn I can guide this route.
In the middle of our walk in TNGGP, we came across a Ki hujan (rain) tree that was so big: it took 8 people to circle its trunk. The name Ki hujan is taken from the fruits that have different length wings coming out of them, making the fruit spin like a pinwheel. Because so many fall at once, the effect is like rain.
After walking two hours in the forest we leave Pasir Tengah. I learned an awful lot on this journey about the forest and the thousands of trees and hundreds of animals that live in it.