Around 75 expatriates from a number of different countries embarked on Sunday on a motorized adventure, setting off in various bajaj (three-wheeled taxis) from Medan in North Sumatra to Seminyak, Bali, as part of a mission to raise funds to preserve forests in Sumatra.
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The Bajaj Rally, as the event has been called, involves a convoy of 27 bajaj that departed from Sejati Square in Medan and is expected to reach Seminyak within two weeks after traveling along highways in Sumatra, Java and Bali.
Jiank, who devised the event, said on Sunday that the adventure being undertaken by the expatriates was an independent activity and would not have a police escort. He added that the trip would not be supported by any medics or mechanics.
“This is a challenging journey for the participants,” Jiank said during the launch ceremony.
Jiank hopes that each of the 27 participating bajaj would be able to collect about £1,000 (US$1,333). “All the funds raised from the event will be handed over to the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry,” Jiank said, adding that the participants came from Australia, Canada, India, Mongolia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Spain, the UK and the US.
One of the participants, Tim Dinte from Australia and affectionately known as Gumby, said he was happy to have the chance to join the social mission, which is being coordinated by the Adventurists organization. Gumby said he had no qualms about driving a bajaj from Medan to Bali.
“I’ll be driving along with my father. The two of us will be an extraordinary team for this mission,” he said moments before departure.
Gumby was optimistic that his bajaj would reach Bali safely within the next two weeks. He said this was not the first time he had driven such a vehicle; he had undertaken a similar experience in India.
Josh Green from Britain said the Bajaj Rally would cover about 3,500 kilometers. “We will have a rest after every 10 hours of driving. On the way, we will definitely be able to enjoy the beauty of nature in Indonesia,” Green said.
Director of the North Sumatra chapter of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), Kusnadi, warmly welcomed the expats’ effort to raise funds for forest preservation in Sumatra.
He said this activity was full of risks as the vehicles they were driving were prone to become damaged along the way.
Kusnadi added that the Indonesian government should be ashamed to witness the courage and sincerity of the expatriates in driving the bajaj in an attempt to raise funds to help preserve forests in Sumatra.
“This should function as a wake-up call for the government because it shows that foreigners care more about the dwindling amount of forests in Sumatra,” Kusnadi said, citing as an example the poor condition of the Leuser National Park in Aceh and North Sumatra, land from which has been increasingly converted for other purposes, including the expansion of plantations.
Labels: Bajaj, Bali, Expats in Bajaj Rally set to raise funds for forest preservation, Info, Medan, Tourist, Turis