Patchouli mission (June 15 – August 13)
In the beginning of June I came to Banda Aceh, Indonesia. I was hired to document the mission of the Caritas Czech Republic, focusing on growers of patchouli (nilam). I traveled for 45 days between districts of Aceh Jaya, Aceh Barat, Aceh Selatan and Guyo Lues. I witnessed constructions of patchouli distillation boilers (kettles), I met with beneficiaries and went to their fields and meetings.
My first field trip was to Aceh Jaya, where I met agriculture government officers who came to see NBC (Nilam Business Center), to check their progress in patchouli distillation and to meet some beneficiaries.
I went to see a new construction of patchouli distillation near NBC Aceh Jaya. The work was in the beginning where two workers were building patchouli shelter.
I was actually eyewitness of building a new patchouli distillation machine from the bottom to the end.
When patchouli distillation machines were done a test was performed, patchouli leaves were brought in from farmers, wood was bought and test could start.
In order that our audience will understand the differences between old and new patchouli destination machine, I documented some of the old ones. For example a new machine built with help of the Caritas Czech Republic has stainless steel kettles, old distillations use rusty barrels. Another example is that the water is heated separately in a tank to produce steam while dried leaves are placed in another tank.
What will be a patchouli distillation machines without the farmers. I met them in their home field.
I would like to thank all patchouli farmers, Caritas Czech Republic, World Bank and TORR to give me this opportunity to document Caritas Czech Republic’s efforts to help these small scale farmers to improve their patchouli harvest and therefore also their income.
It’s time to go. And I am really looking forward to my new adventures.