SO WHERE ARE YOU AT NOW?
Right, a reasonable question, sure… I’ll try and be brief. The film, which is currently at a stage I’m hoping is very near to that which is required, is in the hands of a few select individuals who, given their film related experience, I’m hoping can provide me a frank indication of exactly where I stand – in terms of the film’s current position and, potentially, its path forward. So, in summary, that is the whereabouts of that.
The other important factor, which is the current focus, is the work surrounding the Baseline Survey data, which, having now been translated and transferred into digital format, is allowing me a rather accurate insight into the way the Mentawai community (in focus) thinks, in relation to their current situation. For example, it reveals that 77.1% of all those surveyed believe the community would not survive without the presence of Sikerei (Shamans); that 93.9% believe they would not survive without having access to Sago, which currently grows freely in the wild; and that 97.5% believe the availability of the natural resources provided by their surrounding forest/river environment holds the key to their continued existence. Which is a substantially one-sided frequency, really.
To provide some perspective to these figures, the region in focus for the survey was a small (resettlement) village located in the south of Siberut Island, where, basically – over the past decades – many of the Indigenous Mentawai people have relocated to from their homes on their family lands. The surveys (47 questions in length) were designed and targeted specifically to each demographic existing within this community – men/women, students, shamans, community/group/network leaders, and teachers. In total, across all ages and demographics, with each being surveyed individually by a member of the BS team, we were able to collect a sample of almost 500 surveys… approximately one third of the entire village.
Of all the results uncovered though (through a preliminary analysis of the data), for me, there was one in particular that really stood out, which – as related directly to the primary objective of the proposed Program – is perhaps more significant than any other. A revelation, showing 93.8% of all students surveyed stated that they’re not being taught enough (or at all) about Arat Sabulungan (Mentawai culture) in school. With 89.9% of the entire sample believing the same. Which, for a community whose majority also believe that learning the skills of the forest (the basis of Mentawai culture) is more important to the children’s survival than anything else, including a literacy education, this is quite a startling contrast to the structure currently in place – which is virtually absent of any (organized) activity supporting cultural education.
So over the coming weeks my time will primarily be given to making the necessary amendments and further continuations to the design of the Program, based of course upon the results found through the Baseline Survey data.
Whilst obviously there is still some work ahead in both these areas, I do feel the release of this project does grow near. More updates to come, thanks.