“Do you want to wear a mask?"
“Mmm, nope, thanks."
A woman in teacher uniform and her three students pushed me down the aisle. Passed through the cafeteria and the laboratory until the end. On my right side, there’s a dim room as large as a dorm room in 3 x 5 meters. His appearance resembles a warehouse. Not so bright, a little stuffy and some stuff that I don’t know what is it for.
“Here the research is usually done,” Rini started. Ignatia Rini Purwati (44) is a biology teacher in SMA Marsudirini Muntilan. She has small figure and looked calm. “How’s the smell?” she asked me then. “Hahaha, ya this is unpleasant actually,” I answered. The aroma was like a rotten shrimp paste. Yea, because that place was the place they did some research on organic waste.
This school has a garbage bank, indeed. Not like a landfill, in that garbage bank they collected any garbages, sorted them, sold the salable one, and took the organic one to be processed. The processing and researching are done in a school extracurricular named Karya Ilmiah Remaja (KIR), teenager's scientific paper.
Disma Sefti A. (17), Ade Prasetyo (17), and Aprilio Tri P. (17) are 3 of 14 students who are belong to KIR. This activity was normally once a week, every Thursday at 02:00 - 04:00 pm. But approaching the competition day, they could do it everyday until midnight for preparation. So it is not surprising when they got the first place in the Scientific Essay Contest (LKTI) for Java, Bali, and Sumatera in University of Sanata Dharma in 2015. They had also be the first runner up at LKTI in University of Muhammadiyah Malang and Airlangga University, Surabaya.
“Come in,” Rini invited.
Rini, Disma, and I entered a small room inside that research room. The wall made from wire forming net. “It is the fly’s cage,” Rini said starting. Then she explained that they are special flies. They’re bigger then the ordinary flies. They are deliberately bred. That flies would spawn on the sidelines of cardboard piece placed on top of the organic waste.
“We deliberately chose the smelling organic waste to bring the flies in,” Rini explained.
The cardboards that have already filled with eggs then moved to another bucket full with another organic waste. In two days they would hatch into maggot. Within a month the maggots would continue to eat the rubbish and growing. Approaching a month, the bucket was placed on the converter and the maggot would automatically switch to a dry area to turn into prepupa then pupa. Pupa is one phase of metamorphosis that resembles a cocoon. Immovable and rigid. The pupas then put in the empty other bucket in the cage. They would then turn into flies. So that the process run. And the rest of the waste which were eaten by maggot during a month would later become fertilizer.
“We knew it (maggot process) from my friend’s father who has a cane factory in Lampung. They process their residual sugarcane with maggot. Incidentally Bu Rini was also reading the article about the waste processing with living creatures,” said Aprilio when i asked about how this research began.
“Yes,” added by Rini, “after it, we observed to Lampung so we can practice it here.”
While walking to living room they told me that at the beginning they ever try some research to make compost with local micro organism and chicken feed. They thought it’s been too ordinary. After they found this maggot technique, they also do some research to make another product like fish or turtle feed and making power to charge the used batteries.
Disma, Ade, and Aprilio also told me that they got a lot of new things by following these extracurricular. “It’s so exciting we can meet new friends, learn how to write and present it can be accepted easily, and be able to traveling when there are some observations or competitions, moreover if we get an euphoria of victory,” clear them with a sheepishly happy face.
“We have no heavy sadness, actually. Maybe if it should be overtime or has a difficult appointment with friend, but it is the things that we should take if we want to be better,” Aprilio added.
Of course there are also defeats they ever felt. There was a national KIR followed by more than 200 schools. Eventhough they have done overtime, they only be the top 10. Whereas just one step away if they became top 6, they would go to Bangka to do presentation. But from victory and defeat I learned that it is too narrow if an idea assessed only by the points made by jury. The best idea is the idea that can be practiced and provide benefits for the earth and humanity.
With a satisfied smile of new things I got, I gave them my greeting and thanks before leaving. I hope their time and experiences keep inspiring.
Written by Deasy Esterina