Training session participants
Training session participants were eager to learn from the Haas team and their SHK counterparts. (Photo by David Hall)

THE DISPATCHES: Lindsay Daigle, David Hall, Matilde Kamiya and Toshi Okubo
Training the trainers – in two languages; savoring Indonesian cuisine

Day 15: Monday
This was the day of our planned two day-training session. The four of us and Ade met up in the NRM office as scheduled to train four people in accounting methodology. Over the past three weeks, we've been forced to get used to the Indonesian sense of time. Late arrivals are the norm here, and today was no exception. Thirty to 40 minutes late, Nasi, Adi, Rahim and the participants showed up. The participants were a leader of P3R (the farmer's collective in the Kedang Pahu region), a representative from a forest protection NGO in Kedang Pahu, an employee of a credit union in Kedang Pahu, and a university student who will become a teacher in Kedang Pahu.

They were a little shy saying hello, but did flash us their impressive smiles. After we organized the classroom, "Trainer" Ade kicked off the first day of the sessions in Bahasa, the Indonesian language. Ade explained the whole idea of the training sessions and the background of our UC Berkeley team's support, and then he introduced us to the participants. But he needed a little help explaining where Berkeley, San Francisco and the United States were, so Lindsay drew a world map on the white board, including the U.K., Japan and Indonesia.

Though we could only catch some occasional English words and rattan-related terminology, it seemed obvious that the sessions were going well. Ade was smoothly going through each checkpoint, and the participants were actively involved in each discussion. More surprisingly, they worked hard and seriously, never losing concentration, even though the sessions lasted for hours at a time. Though we basically monitored based on Rahim's interpretation, Dave supported the session in the critical points. At the end of the first day, it was heartwarming to hear the P3R leader's comment that he wanted to take advantage of the training knowledge for his future business and community management.

Day 16: Tuesday
Second day of the training: The training went so well the first day that Ade decided the rest of the training could be taken over by Nasi and Adi, so that he and the four of us could use the day for the business plan instead. Although we almost went through the planned study, discussion and documentation, we followed Matilde's helpful suggestion and went back to Day 1 to check to see if there were any holes in our work thus far. In particular, by comparing the semi-finished business plan and financial spreadsheet, inconsistent matters were re-discussed and each of us worked to tie together the lose ends in our own work.

Seafood in Samarinda
The local delicacies earned high praise from the Berkeley team. (Photo by Toshi Okubo)
Lunch could not come round fast enough today, but this time the food was a bit different. At Graham's great suggestion, we ordered special spicy chicken and Nasi Goreng dishes from a new higher-ranked restaurant, paying double the usual amount (US$2 instead of US$1). The food was fantastic and Toshi, who mistakenly nibbled a green chile pepper and suffered from chile overheat, gave us a wonderful vocal and physical rendition of what it had felt like! Before reaching Indonesia, food hygiene and dietary differences were probably our major concerns, but we liked the local food almost right away. During the first week, Dave and Toshi enjoyed "belly-losing" due to the extremely hot weather and unfamiliar food and environment, but experienced the opposite effect the last two weeks. The good local food and mandatory Bintang Indonesian beer that powered us through night working sessions were the main contributors to this unfortunate turn of events!

Day 16 turned into a marathon, which meant that our Karaoke plan was again postponed, much to Toshi's relief. The rest of us had been touting him to all the Indonesians as Japan's answer to Enrique Iglesias, and so we'd built up considerable pressure on him to perform!

Day 17: Wednesday

Even on day 17, we were still a little awkward crossing the busy street on our way to the NRM office. When we got to the office, our workaholic client, Ade, was already slaving away. While Dave got us all coffee and tea (as was his morning ritual), we fired up our computers and started to work.

Two days left on the project. It seemed like time was passing by faster and faster every day. In terms of our work, we covered all the major components of a business plan and today focused on tying things together and making sure all the components are consistent with each other. This was a major shift in our working style, because we were used to brainstorming sessions where we engaged in endless debates to come up with ideas, share thoughts, contradict each other and generally have a fun time working out solutions to the business plan problems. Now we had to force ourselves to end the debates and get down to making decisions.