I visited Sibolangit and join a students orientation organized by Medicom. Sibolangit is a small town, one-hour drive from Medan, the capital city of North Sumatera, Indonesia.
A little introduction about Medicom: It’s a private institution that provides diploma courses. It’s most recognised in Medan.
Some parts of south east asia region is experiencing the longest dry spell I can remember. With that and the extremely hot weather, bush fires are happening almost in every town. There are more than 100 hot spots in Riau province of Indonesia alone. The haze has reached Singapore, Malaysia and even Thailand.
My trip to Sibolangit was quite like a small get away from the bad air condition in the city. Located halfway through the mountains, the air in Sibolangit is much cleaner and colder. I think the greeneries here helped to reduce the haze. Unlike Medan, Sibolangit’s air remained almost free of haze.
The orientation took place in a retreat centre Gelora Kasih by GBKP (Batak Karo Christian Church). The place is a popular retreat centre for christian based group and other institutions. The centre provides dorms, cottages, halls, restaurants and huge fields to conduct outdoor activities, which is perfect for the 3-days-2-nights orientation. The best part of the centre is that it is located in a middle of a jungle.
I didn’t follow the whole schedule which all the students and organisers did. Instead, I was in my own world observing and enjoying the beauty of the place. Like most places filled with many people governed by schedule, the place is a little under appreciated. I don’t think people bothered about the clean air. I even heard them saying it was too cold at night, which I thought the temperature was great!
Having said that, everyone seemed to enjoy the natural scenery of the place. I went around the hiking trail posts where the students were being challenged for their teamwork. It was fun to see them having fun.
One of the post was this Puncak Salib or Cross on the Summit. A beautifully built christian monument with a big cross in the middle of the altar. What made the monument interesting was the touch of Batak Karo details around the altar. Batak Karo is the majority race in the town. The place often used for small prayer groups.
Another hiking post was near a small river that the student had to cross. Nearby was an abandoned shelter, great for hanging around while enjoying the sound of water gushing in the river. The fallen trees, the sound of birds chirping and crickets added to the atmosphere. One of the school staff was writing at the shelter. I was honestly jealous! I felt like bringing my own writing materials and sit there quietly and write.
Unfortunately, like most of natural beauty that are often visited by humans, some spots were damaged by rubbish. Plastic bags were seen by the river banks. It ruined the scenery.
I guess it would be a good idea to have another level of purpose while organising an event in such place: A piece of garbage per person while hiking in the woods.