— May the village always be blessed —
We are the team of six when we visit the village. We stayed for almost two months in 2008, since July to August. The first time we arrived, we know, that this village is exotic and remaining untouched from outsiders.
Sigedong is a village in Bumijawa, a sub-district of Tegal in center of Java. It took almost two hours southward from the District Hall. The village itself could only reached by a pickup as a mass transportation, since there’s no official public transportation except those pickup. The pickup cars have a time service only until dusk. Besides pickup, we coud also use a motorcycle taxi, but it cost is more expensive.
The air was still clean. Not much car and machines, no industries, just a vegetable farms. Cabbage, Chili, and potato are the ‘big three’ commodities here. The village then divided into 9 (or 10, I don’t remember exactly..) regions, I may call it as a sub-village. From all the sub-villages, there’s only one which separated from the others. Hidden, and higher.
Most of people here work as a farmer for their livelihood. Sometimes, we visit them working in their farm, learning something from their activities. We learn how the ‘real farmers’ harvesting without machine, how they use pesticides, and some tricks in farming. Activities started in the morning at, generally, 8 am., and finished in the afternoon (around 4 pm).
Their farm were awesome, beautiful for sure (perhaps because we rarely saw it in our place), and amazing. The air was fresh, with fogs in the morning, hiding the hills from our view.
The people are religious. Most of them are moslems. Every single night always filled with recitation. Basically, they’re friendly to outsiders, but it is recommended to speak in javanese as a regional language. Not because they can’t speak Indonesian, many of them do, but because their colloquial language is javanese.
I recommend for you to visit an area (a sub-village) called ‘Sawangan’. Sawangan is separated from the others, and it lies on the foothills of Slamet. We tried to rent a car to reach those place. It took an hour to reach it and few hours to spent there, observing the people, the settlements, and their farms.
Most of the land are planted by potatoes. The are was cold, dusty, windy, with sands everywhere. Here, the potatoes planted intensively. Beside potatoes, we may found cabbages here. Different from the lower area, here, the size of the cabbages is bigger.