Three years ago, we employed one of Karyo’s wives (he had two, no idea how or why). After 6 months, Karyo asked for a job. We refused, because you could smell the alcohol on his breath and we knew he drank 5 bottles of arak a day. He persisted, helping his wife and signing on for a day when needed. Eventually, we expanded and gave him, and his son, a job. About the same time the wife we employed, died.
In the time since, he has become a valued and trusted member of the team, to the extent that this week we have promoted him to become Assistant Manager in Tegal Saat Vanilla Gardens. Karyo is left on the photo, next to his manager Agung Jaya.
He has long taken responsibility for Garden 5, comes in early to pollinate flowers, and sucks up knowledge all the time. He’s down to one bottle a day… and always keen to share a drink of any sort with me!
We call him Karyo, but his name is Wayan Karya, you can find him on Facebook. He doesn’t speak English and is not Balinese but Bali Mula, the people who existed in Bali for thousands of years. The Bali Aga with their interesting customs came from West Java in the 7th century, while the modern Balinese came from East Java in the 12th, shortly after a huge eruption from Mt Batur damaged the population.
Karyo comes from the neighbouring village of Kulub, which is 3,000 years old, and has a different feel to it from modern Balinese villages.
It is important to us to employ people from the different communities for several reasons. One is to promote peace between the communities and prevent jealousies. They used to war not long ago. Another is ensuring we have people working despite the holidays, for the different villages, nevermind the communities, take different days off. And finally, many of the important farmers with whom we shall work in future are Bali Mula, so he will be an excellent conduit.
Chairman at PT Royal Spice Gardens
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