Monday, December 31, 2007


Bajo people is well known as sea man. They lived as shipmen. They married on the sea and were depended their life from the sea. As sea community they also have leader to whom they called “Jagugu”. In 1892, the Dutch colonial forced them to stay on the land and forced them to work as farmers. They spread on the land based on the location of the land where they had to work in. Some of them couldn’t do this new life style, therefore there were about 15 households of Bajo ethnic decided to leave the area and moved to North Sulawesi area which became the initial stage for Bajo ethnic in Tubak, North Sulawesi.

Nowadays, the Bajo community does not live on the sea anymore. They have started their life on the land. Their village located on the Bajo Bay, but still 100% of the community is fisherman. They built their home on the sea. Land is one problem for the community. Bajo villagers are getting larger in number and they need more land for housing. But, they have no choice where to go. Therefore, in one house probably there are two or three families live in. Actually, behind the village there is hill area, but they can’t stay there because it is owned by outsider from Gorontalo and it must be hard to stay in hill area because fresh water must be problem.

There is one problem we could observe in this village which is sanitation problem. The villagers are accustomed to throw away their household waste to the sea, therefore this village appears so dirty. Due to sanitation problem, there was a time in 1975 where 80% of the community got diarrhea. And just in three months, there were 60 people were passed away. This condition was so devastated because they were depending their health so much on traditional medic. In 2000, there was extension from Marine and Fishery Department about health. They suggested the villagers to bring their family members who are sick to the hospital, not to the traditional medic anymore. Beside that, the Marine and Fishery Department asked them to feed their children with nutrition food like lobster. This department stated that feeding lobster to the children could stimulate their brain and create smart children. That’s how the villagers started to feed their children with lobster. Instead of health program, there has been an initiation from villagers to clean their area. They started this activity several months ago, and use Friday as (gotong-royong) working together day. But they faced a problem about where to throw the rubbish after it was collected. Because of that problem, they stopped that activity recently but still have intention to do that again while waiting for the next village government to be formed.

Bajo ethnic used to do bombing, coral taking as well as mangrove logging. But since Boalemo became district, it was prohibited by the government. They experienced lack of fishes. Then they realized that this happening is because of coral taking and mangrove logging which they did. Based on this experience, the Bajo villagers issued one rule which is Marine Protection Zone (Daerah Perlindungan Laut). In this area, the villagers are not allowed to take anything even fishes, but outside this area they are still allowed to do fishing as long as not coral taking and bombing. Due to MCRM (Marine Coastal Resource Management) program, the society’s awareness was increasing. They also do mangrove replantation. Gradually, they feel the changes. It is not too hard anymore to get fish. Even now they said that it is easy to find lobster.

On the visit day, seems that society are gathered in village office. When the team asked about this, they answered that they are going to get KUB or Kredit Usaha Bersama (micro credit), a kind of micro credit to Bajo villagers. So, they tried to apply for this credit. To get this credit, the community must form a group which consists of 5 members. They stated that they applied for this credit to get capital for starting small enterprise. The eligibility for being a member of a group is he/she must be married. So a husband and his wife could apply as long as they are not belonging to the same group. The other eligibility is that they must have guarantee just in case they can’t return the credit.

From the society’s explanation, it seems that this village got many projects from outsider whether government through micro credit or donors institution through MCRM project. But still some voices from society said that the government do not have attention on them. Their dependency to the government is still so high, but the initiation to be self sustain has been appeared.

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