Botobo as a Mutual Assistance Culture in Riau Province
A mutual assistance is quite common in Indonesia. If you visit Riau Province, you can find such kind of culture as well. The locals call it Botobo. People work together in a farm or other locations. Most of them are people from Bangkinang or Ocu Tribe. The purpose is to make the job faster and more efficient. There is a leader in the group. He manages both the schedule and members. Here is the thing. Each group takes turn to work. This way, any activities become more efficient, especially farming.
For tourists, such activity is considered attractive. No wonder, many visitors try to approach the locals and witness Botobo. Some of them take pictures, as well. The leader of the group decides what kind of task to be done. However, it requires the approval and capability of the members. There is an exchange, too. That means a member is able to help other groups. A thorough communication is a must, though. That means a group is able to buy a help from others, as well.
It is not only a simple mutual assistance. You are able to enjoy the accompaniment. The name is Rarak Godang. Some people play traditional musical instruments during Botobo. It becomes a great booster to the workers. What music do they play? Mostly, it is a traditional song. Once the work is done, they will conduct a dinner together. The main menu is porridge. Apart from eating dinner, they may also give a prayer. This is done, especially during the harvest moon.
How to Enjoy Botobo
As a tourist, you should know how to take advantage of a particular culture. When it comes to Botobo, you can witness such activity freely. It costs nothing. What you need is to visit Riau Province. That means you spend some money for transportation. Also, you should carry a camera. Somehow, their activity becomes a unique sight. Not to mention they are worth to capture. Here is the thing. They work at noon. Thus, the temperature can be quite hot. Make sure to wear a hat and proper clothes in order to avoid the excessive heat of the sun.
If you are good in the Indonesian Language, you can talk to those people. There is the chance to join the activity. That means you learn how to harvest crops and do other tasks with the locals. At night, you can also join them to enjoy the feast. Overall, it is a distinct experience for tourists. Everyone is allowed to learn more about Botobo and even join such mutual assistance culture. In some way, it triggers your inner social quality too.
Where to Join Botobo
Actually, many villages in Riau Province apply Botobo. All tourists have the same opportunity in either witnessing or joining such activity. So, how can tourists get there?
By land: If you decide to go by land, it can be either using a car or bus. From Jakarta, you must use Lintas Sumatra Street. Once you reach Merak Port, you need to cross the sea with a ferry. The destination is Bakauheni Port. Once you reach Sumatra Island, you can use the same Lintas Sumatra Street to reach Pekanbaru, Riau. The whole trip takes 27 hours!
By air: It is true the fastest way to reach Riau is using an airplane. From Jakarta, you can simply take any flight to Pekanbaru. Your destination is Sultan Syarif Kasim II International Airport. Usually, it takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes.