Only a couple of days after we got back from Indramayu, Yerry and I, we’re getting ready to hit the road again to head east for similar training. This time our destination was Cianjur. Similar to Indramayu, Cianjur is also one of the areas in the country that send the most migrant workers. Cianjur is located between Jakarta and Bandung, which is about 120 km in the northwest of Jakarta. The population of Cianjur is in the ballpark of 2 million people however only around 39% reach high school level according to the official data of the local government. The low level of education and the limited access to the job market are the main factors why people of Cianjur choose to be migrant workers. According to the local office of Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration, up until early 2012, there are around 30,000 migrants workers from Cianjur. In 2011 alone, 6000 people left the town to work abroad.
But the data only shows those who go through the official avenue. According to some migrant workers organisations, the number is much higher since there are a lot of people go and work abroad without legal papers. Destination countries are Hong Kong, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan, Singapore, and middle eastern countries. Out of those countries, Arab Saudi is the most favourable destination country with 95% of migrant workers choose to go there despite all the risks and horrible experience of other migrant workers who had worked in Saudi. The story goes similarly with other migrant workers from other areas; there are a lot of trafficking cases, document forgeries, abuses, illegal money extortions, and the list goes on.
Although Cianjur is not too far from Jakarta. However, the village we were going to was far from the town. We drove 12 hours through hills and jungles. We left Jakarta at 10 am on July 13 and arrived at Mandalawangi village around 10 pm. We did not expect it to be that far. The house we were going to stay in and have the training was in the mountain area. Houses were distant from one another and surrounded by forest.
By the time we arrived, we were too tired to start the training and it was too late for the participants as well. So we decided to start training the next day. To compensate for the lost time, we started the training at 8 am sharp on July 14th. The training was held in an empty house owned by a couple who are now in Arab Saudi for work. Similar to the Indramayu training, we had participants from different backgrounds in Cianjur, with the youngest participant being 17 years old! She was the daughter of a woman who is now working in Arab Saudi. We also had two female participants who were working in Arab Saudi and experienced mental, physical and sexual abuses from their employers. Speaking of which I will write a story about one of them and share it with all of you.
The training went on in the same order as our Indramayu training. We started with theories. Brief, clear and simple. This was especially important since some of the participants were not too technologically savvy. In the early afternoon of that day, the participants had already started to learn how to make a storyboard, how to formulate questions for the interview, how to operate a camera and shoot using five basic shots principle that they learned in the theory session.
After the theories and practice, they divided themselves into three groups and each made a video, putting everything they have learned earlier into practice. At this stage, they only made videos about the story about one of them. They divided the labour between themselves. One became the interviewer, one became the resource person, one was behind the camera, and one was directing. Before ending the day, they learned basic editing and edited the footages they had taken earlier. The training ended around 6:30 pm but they still had homework to do, which was to decide on a story and prepare everything they need to make it into a video.
The next day, which was the last day of the training, the groups went out to work on their videos and went back to the house and went straight editing the videos. Two videos were finished but one had a technical problem by the time the training ended. But we asked them to finish and upload it to EM site even after Yerry and I left.
Before I end this post, I’d like to point out a couple of interesting observations that I made when I was in Mandalawangi village, Cianjur. In the whole village, I rarely saw young women and when I asked around, the answer was that most young women from the village are working abroad. Secondly, the houses in Mandalawangi village and the villages around it are signs whether the owners were successful migrant workers or not.
Here is the link to the videos made by migrant workers: