Molay at Lembeh Strait Festival 2019

This time, me Riri Lawe the Education Officer for Selamatkan Yaki would like to share about our participation at the Lembeh Strait Festival 2019 (FPSL). This Festival is an annual activity of the city government of Bitung to promote tourism of Bitung and usually lasts for one week in the month of October. This time it was on 5th – 10th October 2019.

We set up our education tent in the community area, where there were many different communities from the city of Bitung; not only in the field of conservation but also in arts and culture. As usual, we were doing outreach activities during the festival, in addition to providing information on the stand, we also handed out stickers and of course our beloved mascot “Molay” was there to entertain! Being in between many other community tents in such a large exhibition area, it is quite difficult to attract visitors especially as this is not the first time we were involved in this festival. However, our educational tent is different from others; very eye catching with the Yaki logo design and dominated by green color, makes us easy to be found. 

Thousands of people came to visit the festival from morning to night, and hundreds stopped by at our stand. Our team was sometimes overwhelmed to talk to everyone. Fortunately, we were assisted by our Yaki ambassadors, as well as some students from UNSRAT who joined the Relung Konservasi Wallacea – a student network initiated by us. Although it was not the first time for us to brought our educational tent at this festival, we still met people who first heard about the yaki that is endemic, Critically Endangered and protected by Indonesian law. The team did a great job on the outreach this time!

On the last day of the festival, a little relieved it was slightly cloudy weather as the humidity during the day can suck up lots of energy. As we were on the way to the location, suddenly we got a voice call from the organizers. Our tent collapsed because of the wind! A little worried and panicked as this is the second time our educational tent was broken in the same event, right at the same location as well. Apparently, not only our tent but some other big tents were flew by a sudden wind because the location of the exhibition is right on the seafront. A great lesson for the team not to let the tent stay plugged all night. Not going to be upset too long with what has already happened, we immediately thought of another alternative so that we could still do the outreach to visitors at the peak of the closing of FPSL 2019. We turn the tent provided by the committee to become our educational tent complete with all information from bits and pieces from our original tent. Thanks to the committee, for the great cooperation!

As we had to move, the next location is a bit far from the visitor’s entrance so we had to figure out how to make our outreach activities maximum. An idea to walk toward visitors by handing out the sticker crossed my mind. Waited a bit for the sun to set, I finally decided to wear our beloved mascot “Molay”! Molay really helped us to catch the eyes of visitors. I was excited to spread the message of conservation by seeing the enthusiastic people who wanted to get close, take selfies and received a message about the yaki. Something funny, while inside the mascot I keep smiling, even laughed every time people asked me for photos. I often forgot if my face turns out to be covered with Molay face.

All the effort we did that day was not wasted although it started with collapsed tents that made the atmosphere a bit down. There were so many visitors who come to our tent as well as smiling children who took photographs with Molay then received information about this special monkey and other wildlife. I want to thank all the parties who have helped us, the Government of Bitung for the amazing collaboration and support as well as all the visitors to the festival!

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