While Dunia Baru was undergoing annual maintenance in the dry dock recently, a team from Dunia Baru (including cruise director Clive White, master shipwright Jamal and Made, Dunia Baru’s Designated Person Ashore) worked on moving ahead with the build of the Learning Center in Sauwandarek, our corporate social responsibility effort in Raja Ampat, which is due to be completed in March 2019. Dunia Baru’s owner, Mark Robba, has been instrumental in getting the learning center set up; this is his report from that trip:

Raja Ampat is quite remote – just one of the things that makes it such an exciting place to visit – and so we were grateful to have transportation graciously provided by the Indonesia Navy… in a 12-meter “Sea Raider”  rib. Accompanying us were five Navy crew, two people from the Military Police and a senior member of the National Police. The level of support we are getting clearly shows the level of appreciation for Dunia Baru’s leading CSR in Raja Ampat.

On a 12-hour, 200 nautical mile adventure we visited three islands, all connected in some way with the Learning Center Project in Sauwandarek village on Mansuar island.

Our first stop after a 45-mile crossing from Sorong to the island of Waisai was to meet a member of Raja Ampat’s Tourism Board. On Waisai we completed the purchase of land for Dunia Baru’s new Raja Ampat region office, a clear indication of our commitment to supporting the people of Raja Ampat.

From there it was a 15 mile passage to the village of Sauwandarek, where we met with the village chief and elders to discuss various aspects of the project, including accommodation for the three members of our shipwright leadership team, who will assist in the project and teach advanced wood working techniques to the villagers.  Other things we discussed were meals, tools and a review of the project site, which is a prominent beachfront location. Throughout the building process we want to stress sustainability and conservation, so we adjusted the location of the learning center slightly to ensure that a beautiful coconut tree could be saved and incorporated into the site.

After the site meeting we made a 15-mile crossing to the island of Batanta, where the 25 cubic meters of Merbau wood required for the Learning Center is being selected and cut. We walked about a kilometer into the forest, to where a 40 meter tall Merbau tree was being cut into posts.  About 12 trees will be needed for the Learning Center and an entire village of 22 families have worked harvesting timber on a selective basis. The wood will then be taken by small boat across the Dampier Straits to Sauwandarek.

The center, designed by renowned architect Popo Danes, will sit lightly on the land, blending in with the traditional architecture and natural surroundings. Three of the original master shipwrights who worked on Dunia Baru‘s build will assist local builders in the project and help to teach them advanced woodworking techniques.

Construction is due to begin late-December when the wood has been cut and fully prepared. Once built, the eco learning center will feature a well-stocked library and multi-use meeting and teaching space, where as well as conservation, the environment and the importance of preserving the unique local habitats, skills such as cooking, tourism and homestay operation will be taught.

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