Sissel’s Experience


Hi! I am Sissel Tind Søndergaard, a newly graduated physicist from Denmark. In October 2016 I spent 4 days in Pandala in Takalar, taking part in the reforestation and nature conservation program.

I stayed with Mr. and Mrs. Daeng Jarre, a local family, slept in the same room as one of their grandchilden and had all my meals together with them (of course sitting on the floor and eating with the fingers). The pictures below show the house of Mr. and Mrs. Daeng Jarre (left) and me standing between Mr. and Mrs. Daeng Jarre (right).

tak1  tak2

The work assignments

During my stay, I did the project of reforestation and nature conservation, and took part in their family activities as well. Their family activities included preparing corn for planting, planting the corn and preparing food.
The reforestation and nature conservation activities were

  1. Planting Bitti trees
  2. Checking up on Bitti trees which were planted before my visit
  3. Digging holes for organic fertilizer

I brought the seedling and fertilizer from Makassar, and we planted the trees systematically on two fields, 20-30 on each. This was done by Mr. Deang Jarre and me and often assisted by a group of enthusiastic children which can be seen in the pictures below.

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Mr. Daeng Jarre took me around to see 4-5 fields with a lot of Bitti trees which had been planted years before my visit. In addition, trees had been planted close to peoples houses and they all grow very well. This showed me that a lot of great work has already been done but there is still a lot to do!

Two holes for organic fertilizer were dug by Mr. Daeng Jarre and me as can be seen in the pictures below. In the future, organic waste should be put in the holes and it should be covered with a thin layer of soil.

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The village life

The stay gave me an unique glimpse into life in a small village in South Sulawesi. I took part in all their activities and got to experience the village life myself, which was very interesting since it differs a lot from my own background. I got to try what it is like to be seated on the floor when eating, drinking coffee, watching television or having guests; what it feels like taking showers using a cup to pour water, and how pleasant it is to take a collective nap during the day when it is too hot to work in the fields.
At nighttime, I would sit together with the children who found everything about me very interesting. I brought an English/Indonesian dictionary with useful phrases and the children loved to read the English out loud to me and wanted to know if they pronounced it correctly. They also loved to rehearse the English they learned every time we had the opportunity. I am sure that their meeting with English-speaking volunteers will have a huge impact on their journey with learning English.

General thoughts and comments

The village stay was a great experience, which I highly recommend to anyone who is open to try something completely different and ready for a fun challenge! You will contribute with many important things which will help building up the village and the area in Pandala: Nature conservation, reforestation, English teaching (which automatically will happen just by your presence), etc. In return, you will learn what it is like to live a more primitive life in a small village in South Sulawesi: An unforgettable experience!

If you want to know more about the program or about my stay, please do not hesitate to contact me on the email

More pictures from my stay can be found in “GALLERY (SISSEL)”.


Last update: November 12, 2016

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