ACTNews, MALUKU – Can you imagine traveling to 999 exotic islands of Indonesia? In many tourism literature, almost one thousand islands flock in one archipelago. No, in case you wonder, this is not about Seribu Island (Thousand Island) in northern Jakarta. This is about an archipelago in the eastern Indonesia: Maluku Archipelago.
This small paradise is widely known with the name “Kepulauan Maluku,” famous with its enchanting beauty. However, despite its heavenly scenery, one cannot abandon the fact that development in eastern Indonesia is slow compared to development in western Indonesia.
Connectivity is one problem that leads to development gap between eastern and western Indonesia. Indonesia’s islands are scattered in location, make it hard for an even distribution of development. Higher price of daily needs in some regions, despite the apparent poverty, make the local communities struggle.
Poverty, particularly, offers in the smallest islands in Kepulauan Maluku. Some of those are Buru Island, Seram Island, and Sula Island. Reportedly, Buru Island is the 25th most impoverished region in Indonesia.
Poverty issue traps these three regions with predominantly Muslim population. Nutrition is not their priorities amidst their limitations. Thus, when Eid al Adha drops by, right after performing Eid prayer, qurbani is a galore to find in Seram, Sula, or Buru.
Processing tasty and nutritious meat is a wonder for them, the majority of islanders.
Yet, it was just last year, in the middle of September 2016, there was a surprise spread across sub-districts in these islands. Global Qurban Team from Aksi Cepat Tanggap had distributed qurbani animals in these islands.
In the days after, the air was filled with the scent of cloves, nutmeg, and coconut, cooked with meat. The best qurbani meat finally visited Seram, Sula and Buru. Gratitude echoed in every corner of farmland, mine, sea and tourism spot that feed them.
Expected to return
Last year, Wacona (32) wore a jolly expression. This resident of Batuboy Village, Namlea Sub-district, Buru District, said, “Thank you, Sir, the meat is abundant. May you always have success and long life.”
From Global Qurban, Namlea received 25 cows. All was slaughtered in the first day of Eid. Poverty rate was high in the town. Wooden houses with sago roofs were easy to find in Namlea, despite the fact that Namlea was categorized as a big town in Buru, an island known as exile place for political prisoners of the New Order.
Next, on the second day, 15 cows were distributed to Tanjung Karang Village, Air Buaya Sub-district, Buru District. The condition was no far different from Namlea: limited access to electricity, unpaved roads.
Half of these cows were also distributed to neighboring village, Air Ternate in Kepala Madan Sub-district, South Buru District. Lathief, GQ Volunteer Coordinator in Buru, explained that nearly all residents in Air Ternate Village never once tasted meat, for qurbani distribution never reached there.
Harbun, a resident of Air Ternate Village, was really excited to lift the cow onto a small blue boat. “Thank you, brother, for the cow. We are happy with this qurbani. Hopefully we can meet again next year when Qurbani comes!”
On the third day, 200 cows were distributed to all sub-districts in Buru Island. Next, our Global Qurban ACT Team also greeted Seram Island. The main job of its citizens were fishermen and farmers. Despite its location on the coast of the open ocean, clean water was still a luxury. Dropout rate was high; the young generation preferred to work and help their parents to upgrade their low income.
What should be come back to Seram Island
Salas, Dawang, and Solam villages were three of twelve subdistricts that Global Qurban ACT visited in Seram Island. The majority of its settlers were muallaf, since horizontal conflict broke out in Maluku in 1999.
Ading, a member of Global Qurban team in Seram Island, reported that 110 cows were distributed last year.
“Distribution process in Seram Island was difficult and took time, considering its scattered locations. So, the event was conducted in three subdistricts: Bula, Bula Barat and Bula Timur,” Ading explained.
Unstoppable gratitude flew from all qurbani receiver. “We are very thankful for your kindness, for distributing qurbani meat in Bula and other regions in Seram,” said Kahar, a resident of Bula village.
What’s waited in Sula Island
Following Bula, qurbani meat was also delivered in Sula. There were 95 cows distributed in two main islands: Mangole and Sula Besi. According to BPS (Badan Pusat Statistik/Statistics Indonesia Agency), in 2015, there were 11.813 residents lived below poverty. Even though more than 76% of its citizens were Muslim, poverty still trapped and twisted them, making Eid al Adha was rarely celebrated.
Take Modapia Village in West Mangole for example. For six years, this village had never tasted the delicious qurbani meat. No wonder that Modapia residents were very grateful and touched by Global Qurban’s visit.
“Alhamdulillah, we received two cows from this GQ event. As the Village Chief, I am very grateful. I hope you don’t forget this village next year,” said Abu Usia, Village Chief of Modapia, in local Sula language.
Aidia Umaternate, resident of Waikagia Village in Mangole Selatan subdistrict helped the team to slaughter these two cows. “We are very delighted, this year we got two qurbani animals from GQ. I hope next year we can do it again,” he said in gratitude tone.
Insha Allah, Global Qurban will come again. In order to expand qurbani distribution points in these historical islands of spices, and to answer the call for a continuous qurbani.
It should be admitted, there would be roads uphill to the top. There would be winding roads, there would be heavy traces with ocean and island that stretch from one remote point to another in Maluku. One thing we are sure of, this trip will be returned with delighted faces and grateful hearts.
From grateful sentences in Island of Spices, there was a hope for continuity of qurbani to spread. Not just to remote places in Maluku, but also all over the state, and beyond, Insha Allah.