Why is this journalist really captivated by villages? In his book “Kampungku Indonesia (Indonesia My Village)” (2016), Stefano Romano, born in Rome, Italy, 1974, wrote in the beginning of his book, “karena saya percaya bahwa di kampunglah terdapat jiwa sejati orang Indonesia (because I believe that in villages dwells the true spirit of Indonesian people).”
Through photography, Stefano Romano has told many stories about Indonesia. He has been travelling to many countries over the past 10 years, including to Indonesia, to answer the call of his life: capturing the reality of life from people, particularly those who belong to low-class society who live in villages in the cities and in the countryside. Marrying an Indonesian girl, Bayu Bintari Fatmawati, he on Sunday, 15 October 2017 visited Odesa Indonesia Foundation in Cisanggarung, Cikadut Town, Cimenyan, Bandung. He came with his wife and friends from Mizan Bandung Publisher which in 2016 published a really good book about the life of people in Indonesian villages.
In Odesa Indonesia, that afternoon the man who was called Stef mingled with the English teachers of left-behind village children in Cisanggarung village and Sentak Dulang village, in Cimenyan, Bandung. Stef who was good at talking to children shared his experience as a photographer. He even showed the pictures from the book “Kampungku Indonesia” to dozens of students that afternoon. And he didn’t forget to also give a photography demonstration. Though it wasn’t that long, it was so precious for the village children.
The lesson was ended with their singing the song of Indonesia Raya (the national anthem of Indonesia).
After the lesson was finished, at 15:00, Stef together with the committee of Odesa Foundation visited the nearest villages. They walked on foot winding Sentak Dulang village which perched on the top of the hill of 1,200 MASL. In the village, there were many objects for photography captured by Stif. There were mothers taking water from hundreds of meter away for cooking, mothers trading, sheep, ducks, a village toilet, a blacksmith, a stony road, dilapidated houses, and the beauty of farmers’ taking a rest in their own house that evening.
“I like it here. I like the atmosphere. The air is wow… I want to come back again and stay longer here,” said Stif. (Faiz Manshur) Odesa.id ((Translated by Steve, Portalkata)