Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Aceh Timur: rural and isolated . . . but very busy this month!

Junaidi and Robert found out that there’s another Rohingya refugee camp set up now, in a town in Aceh Timur between Idi (the capital) and Langsa (in North Sumatra) and Robert’s going to stop in on his way to Simpang Jernih  see the cocoa farmers.  The camp in Lhokseumawe (and don’t ask me how long it took me to learn to spell that) is 7 hours from Banda Aceh, and ever further from Simpang Jernih because of the lack of roads, so it wasn’t really feasible for us to go there unless specifically requested.
But the proximity of this camp to JMD’s projects, combined with the fact that eventually some of these people may need livelihoods training, prompts a site visit.  So I’m eagerly awaiting Robert’s trip in a few days.

In the meantime, despite an extremely windy season which destroyed one of the nurseries in Pante Kera (as I mentioned earlier) the women managed to save all the plants and are busy preparing to rebuild.

Here is Ibu Aminah, one of JMD’s star farmers, bringing her 56 new cocoa trees from the nursery to harden off in her yard.

Aminah finished planting her trees and intercropped with rice.  All the women cocoa farmers supplement their incomes with rice, and planting month was last month.  These women never stop working.  Right now the mature trees are flowering so it’s time to get everyone they can to join "monkey patrol” around the perimeter.

And look how great these side grafts are doing!  I think they will be bearing fruit by next year.

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