Our 14-day trip (9 Sep – 23 Sep 2013) to Makassar, Indonesia began with a warm welcome at the Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport. The Head of Civil Engineering Department, staff and students from State Polytechnic of Ujung Pandang (SPUP) were there to greet us. We were then driven to our hotel to check in and settle down. In the evening there was a Welcome Dinner at a lovely seafood restaurant.
The next day we visited SPUP for the Welcome Ceremony. SPUP students did some traditional performances to welcome us. We also met up with the SPUP students who took care of us and guided us throughout our stay. We toured the SPUP campus and were able to see the differences in the environment in SPUP as compared with SP.
The main purpose of the trip was the Community Service Project, consisting of the construction of a jetty, at Lakkang Village. We spent 4 days, together with staff and students from SPUP and the villagers, to build the jetty. We helped with carrying of tools, cutting of the timber, drilling holes, nailing the timber down as well as painting of the completed structure.
We made a lot of new friends amongst the villagers of Lakkang. The completed jetty was handed over to the villagers on the 11th day at the project closing ceremony.
During the trip we participated in many activities in SPUP. There was a cultural workshop where the girls were taught a traditional Indonesian dance while the boys learnt how to play different types of musical instruments. We were given a cooking demonstration on how to make Dadar Pancake and also sampled a spread of traditional Indonesian desserts. On another occasion, we watched a Singaporean movie, “Ah Boys To Men 2” followed by an Indonesian movie called, “Alangkah Lucunya (negeri ini)” which actually means, “How Funny This Country Is.” After watching both movies, we shared the meaning behind the movies: this helped us to appreciate each country’s traditions and problems.
We also played sports such as badminton, captain’s ball, table tennis, and some traditional games taught by the SPUP students. This helped us to get to know them better.
We also made study trips to Bantimurung and Malino. Bantimurung is famous for its waterfall, butterflies and limestone caves. We had our first thrilling experience of trekking through a cave and swimming downstream of a roaring waterfall.
Malino is a hill station located in the highlands with nice cool weather. Here we visited a strawberry farm where we harvested fresh strawberries. We also viewed the pine forest and the “Lembah Biru” which is the swimming pool at a waterfall. Some of us even swam in its icy cool water.
On the 12th day, we attended the Closing Ceremony at SPUP. After the farewell speeches we shared a farewell video dedicated to the SPUP’s staff and students who took care of us throughout the trip. Later that evening, we had our Farewell Dinner. There were various song and dance items put up by both SP and SPUP. It was indeed an unforgettable night!
The final day came and it was time to depart for Singapore. As our flight was at 7:45 am, we left the hotel by 5 am. Despite the early hour, both staff and students from SPUP were there in full force to bid us farewell. Although looking forward to home, we were sad to leave many friends back in Makassar. The 14 days spent in Makassar were indeed a unique and enjoyable experience for all of us and will always be remembered.