Newsletter #18

Easter is celebrated with gusto in Sumba; the churches come alive with the sounds of joyful singing; it is a time for family and celebration fills the air. This year, our Restaurant and Bar students prepared a stall just outside of our campus as an offering to the Easter parade that passed by. We presented the local community with fresh fruits and vegetables taken directly from our farm and orchard; our students enthusiastically stood and waited for passers- by and gladly gave the treats away to the smiling faces celebrating the Easter holiday. The staff and students also celebrated in style, they decorated eggs as ornaments for our guest rooms. This was a fun activity that allowed everybody to get creative. We hope you all had a good Easter too!
This month, we completed a very important task…we interviewed 300 candidates applying to be the next students at The Sumba Hospitality Foundation! We did this over one week, where we travelled to different regions in Sumba in order to meet the eager young people wanting to confirm a spot for July 2018. It was both fantastic to see the enthusiasm and desire of the applicants, whilst also so challenging to pick only 60 of them. We were humbled by the stories the applicants shared with us, it reminded us of the living conditions that people have to suffer in Sumba and why it is so important for projects such as The Sumba Hospitality Foundation to exist. We had 4 teams of interviewees that were responsible for asking the questions and assessing the students; the teams were made up of our current SHF staff and our local NGO partners who continually show us support from across Sumba. We are over the moon to announce that we have successfully selected our next 60 students, we have visited their homes to discuss the terms and conditions of studying at the school and now the students are undergoing a health check to ensure they are fit and ready to start their new educational journey. We cannot wait to welcome them to the school; it is such an exciting time!
From the 16th -20th April, we travelled to Bali to partake in The Sustainable Solutions Conference, held at The Green School, an eco-conscious, progressive international school within the jungle in Ubud. The aim of the conference was to unite people with the shared passion for sustainability; through giving and experiencing workshops and presentations, people were able to exchange ideas and solutions in which they had implemented in order to make a positive change.
Lauren, our Executive Director and Dempta, our Ketua Yayasan, delivered a presentation focusing on the ways in which The Sumba Hospitality Foundation is trying to be sustainably aware. They discussed the socio- cultural, economic and environmental impact we are having on the island of Sumba; they also raised awareness of the island and of the purpose of the foundation. We got a very positive response from the audience; they asked lots of questions and were very interested in coming to visit us. Not only did Lauren and Dempta present about the school, but they were also part of a panel composed of a range of professionals concerned with the topic of sustainability. There were chefs who were revolutionizing plant based foods and forest gardens, representatives from The World Wildlife Foundation, fashion representatives from Vogue-India; in other words it was a very varied and exciting panel, encompassing opinions from a variety of fields.
On top of the presentations and workshops, there was a vendor section where organisations could have a stall in order to promote themselves and share and sell products. We were there all week sharing about our school; we sold traditional Sumbanese jewelry, handmade arts and crafts, delicious home- made jam from our culinary students. The best part about it was that our students from last year, who are now employed in Bali, came to help out throughout the week. It was so nice to see all of them and to catch up on their new life.
This month, we celebrated Earth Day! On the 22nd of April, all of the students and staff walked to our local beach to do a huge beach clean- up. We walked the length of the beach and the surrounding areas in order to clear the beautiful environment of plastic. Check out these smiling faces!
We are about to enter into our final month together at The Sumba Hospitality Foundation, which means that the time has come for the students to find out where they will be going to do their internships starting in June! This is the time, all of their education, both theoretical and practical, has been leading up to, so I’m sure you can imagine that they were both nervous and excited to find out where they would be going in their next chapter. Their internship placements are spread over both Sumba and Bali, with prestigious residences such as Nihi-Sumba Island, Lokavore, Room for Dessert, Belmont, Bulgari and Potato Head being amongst the designated places. The students have been assigned to a spot and are now waiting to do their interviews, which they have been preparing for in their English classes. Time is going by so quickly, in just one month, we will be taking them to their placements and saying our farewells. Now is a time to stop and think about all of the memories we have shared over the last year and just how proud we are of them all, their futures are going to be so bright!