In SMA Negeri 8 Malang, Class 10 is required to join the Indonesian Scout program Pramuka. The purpose of the Scout program is to create young people that are useful in every way. This idea is represented by the symbol of the young coconut sprout, since each part of the ubiquitous Indonesian coconut tree can be used individually without wasting any of the original plant.
The students attended what is for them a routine flag ceremony, where they recited both Indonesian and Scout codes, performed patriotic songs, and listened to a lecture about their Scout responsibilities. Later, they would complete their checklist of other skills like proper salutes, marching formation, and survival skills.
Other skill-building activities include map skills and a plant identification station, where the students label raw roots, leaves, and stems of traditional Indonesian cooking spices by sight only.
This particular Scouting check-off is more than a break from the students’ normal Saturday class. They are tested on both their ability to build tents and spend the night in their constructed dwellings. Unfortunately for these students, their event falls during rainy season and the tents are not rain-proof. Their spirits are not dampened though as they throw their raincoats over their tents to provide a covering and continue practicing their musical talents for the night’s campfire performances.
About the author: Anna DeVries is a second-year Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Malang, East Java. During 2012-2013 she was placed in Pangkalpinang, Bangka. DeVries graduated from Drake University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Politics and International Relations.