Exploring Mangroves & Tobacco Museum of Surabaya

by James Ogilvie – England

We left early this morning to go and visit Surabaya’s mangroves, which is a large ecologically important area in Surabaya. The mangroves in Surabaya contain the highest number of different bird species in all of Java’s mangroves. We were collected by a small boat and driven downstream to an area of mangrove that Tunas Hijau have recently replanted. The scenery on the way down the river was beautiful and there were many birds, and even monkeys, occupying the river banks!

After returning to the car and leaving the mangroves, we stopped for lunch at the house of the principal of a local school, which was really nice. After lunch we went to the Tobacco Museum – House of Sampoerna, which was very interesting. A guide showed me around all the displays, explaining how SAMPOERNA was started and developed over the years.

The most amazing part was going upstairs and seeing the factory where they make hand rolled cigarettes. Nearly 250 people were sitting in rows rolling cigarettes by hand; some rolled them, some trimmed the ends and some packaged them up. It was an incredible sight and the speed that they worked at was mesmerizing. I counted that some people could roll one cigarette every few seconds! Unfortunately taking photos was not allowed, but it was such an amazing sight I think I will remember it for a long time anyway!

After leaving the museum, we returned to Tunas Hijau to prepare some work for the rest of the week, where we will be going to schools to teach them about environmental issues in the world today. Roni showed me a game that Tunas Hijau have created and developed, a global warming version of snakes and ladders, which was brilliant! The snakes were things like leaving lights on and causing pollution, making you go backwards, and the ladders were things like taking public transport and saving energy, making you skip squares!