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Publication Darmasiswa2

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Darmasiswa Camp IOSix Darmasiswa students from foreign countries who receive a scholarship from Indonesia’s Ministry of Education and Culture to study Indonesian Traditional Herbal Medicine and Indonesian Culinary & Tourism for one year in Soegijapranata Catholic University, Semarang, Central Java has just presented their unique specialties to local Indonesian and other Darmasiswa from other universities in an event called “1st Seminar, Workshop and Camp with Darmasiswa”. The event, which promoted how to make body scrubs, beverages and cuisines from traditional Indonesian herbs has astounded the participants who claimed it an interesting and worthy event for them to pparticipate, if the event is offered once more in the following years to come.

Through the 1st event, which takes on the theme of “Back to Nature with Herbs”, Soegijapranata Catholic University, last Friday and Saturday (19-20 May 2017), gave opportunities to Aaron Bonila (from Youngstown University, Ohio, USA), Miroslavia Rizmanova (Slovakia), Aibar Alexander Meza (Venezuela), Cynthia Razavinandrasana (Amkateo University, Madagascar), Randrianaivo Mendrika (ESCAM University, Antananarivo, Madagascar), and Park BumJin (South Korea University) to show what they have learnt in their one-year study and internship, as well as living in the nearby local community.

Like presented by Miroslavia Rizmanova (Slovakia), who prefer to be called Mira – she used a traditional Javanese rock to grind in herbs like coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, sandalwood and overnight soaked rice to make a body scrub mixture for the participants to try on. She said, the exfoliating scrub she learnt while doing her short internship about Indonesian herbs in Bali had made her realize the close connection between Javanese and Balinese culture. Assisted by her foreign classmates originating from Madagascar, Cynthia and Mendrika, the three of them pounded the herbs into a nice soft mixture, which promised the workshop participants to have softer and fresher skin after the application.


The founder of the event, who is head of the International Office (IO) at Soegijapranata Catholic University of Semarang, Dr. Dra. Ekawati Marhaenny Dukut, M.Hum., informed that Soegijapranata is one of 51 universities in Indonesia, who was fortunate enough to have the Ministry of Education and Culture’s acknowledgement to teach foreigners, whose embassies had a diplomatic relationship with Indonesia for a one-year program in Indonesian Culture and Language. These lucky foreigners received scholarships from the Indonesian government for almost Rp 2.500.000 (US $ 180) per month per student.  In this 1st Seminar, Workshop, and Camp with Darmasiswa, a number of local university students from Soegijapranata Catholic University, Gadjah Mada University, along with some of those from local Semarang Senior High School, and other Darmasiswa from Diponegoro University were participants to this extraordinary event.

“In line with the topic of Back to Nature with Herbs, the event gets its first kick-off on 19 May 2017 by taking the participants to a mangrove area located at Mangunharjo Kecamatan Tugu Semarang. In this mangrove area, participants were asked to appreciate nature more by planting mangrove trees to understand the function of mangroves as one way of avoiding the rob some parts of Semarang area experience once a year during the rainy season. After planting mangroves, the local and foreign participants were asked to work together and go to a traditional market with Rp 20.000 (US $ 1.5) in their hands to practice bargaining prices of food stuffs needed for the Indonesian herbal cooking and workshop challenge prepared by the committee. The participants had to solve some quiz in figuring out the kinds of herbs and other Indonesian food they needed to buy first, before they could continue their next venture to make a famous herb beverage, beras kencur (rice with cumin beverage) and cook a popular Indonesian cuisine, nasi goreng (fried rice) complete with its garlic crackers, fried onions, thinly sliced telur dadar (omelette) and plating of tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots that were carved into flower shaped decorations. In the traditional market challenge, participants also learnt how to distinguish between Javanese corn and sweet corn, in addition to the white, yellowish orange and purple flesh of sweet potato varieties. It is the purple sweet potato that not many have known it as an important snack that can lower the blood sugar of diabetes,” said Dr. Ekawati excitedly.


In the evening, after the fried rice challenge done at the Nutrition and Culinary kitchen laboratory at Soegijapranata Catholic University, participants were asked to seriously attend a seminar by Dr. V. Kristina Ananingsih, ST, MSc to learn about the history and development of Indonesian Traditional Herbal Medicine, which can be seen engraved in the stone relics of Borobudur temple and in the hands of Mbok Jamu gendong (a Javanese lady carrying herb beverages in a bamboo basket on her back) and the modern way of selling jamu in wheeled carts. Another speaker was Dr. Retnaningsih, who talked about Javanese cuisines, which ranged not only from nasi goreng, but also nasi liwet, nasi langgi, nasi gudeg, nasi kuning, soto, bakso, and many others. Among others, she explained the reasons behind the yellow, golden turmeric color used for nasi kuning as the main dish for special occasions. After a talk about cuisines, Dr. Krisprantono also talked about the unique Javanese architecture of joglo houses that have limasan shaped roof tops. The wealthier the owner of the house, the more complex are the designs of the roof, says Dr. Krisprantono. Last but not least, the seminar also invited a Javanese martial arts teacher for Pencak Silat, Mr. Dandi Suluh, who opened the participant’s minds that medicating oneself’s illness can also be through an alternative healing called Jamas (a Javanese translation of “showering oneself”). The showering of the soles of one’s feet with cool water, which was then combined with the heat of a knife that was immersed in heated charcoal was explained by Mr. Dandi as an alternative medication for all ailments. “Although it seemed frightening, interestingly, almost all of the participants tried this jamas healing as they sat around a bonfire, while enjoying the open air breeze by nibbling BBQ or grilled corn and sweet potatoes. Participants reported a warm sensation on their soles when given the jamas that became a factor of releasing their tensions that day to reward them a deep slumber as participants turn into their tents, to later as early as 5 am for them to see the sunrise and have a communal morning exercise”, reported Dr. Ekawati.


“One of the aims of the International Office of holding this event is to expose others about the Darmasiswa program offered by Soegijapranata Catholic University in conjunction with the Indonesian government’s Ministry of education and Culture, which this year became the third most popular program out of the 51 universities in Indonesia. Another more important aim is to promote the rich Indonesian culture, that rests mainly on its unique herbs, which not only make Indonesian cuisines greatly searched by foreigners but also the background to medication with herbs as natural healings to ailments. In comparison to pharmaceutical medications, these natural herbs usually have no or just minor side effects (if any) to users”, finalized Dr. Ekawati in her explanation. (Adapted from www.kampussemarang.com and www.berita.suaramerdeka.com, photos from EMD collection)