Daarnhouwer Orion Ambulance

Published On: March 22, 20234.9 min read

In the outskirts of Gayo Highlands Berawang Baro is a village consisting of 600 inhabitants who live and breathe coffee. With 127 registered farmer families, coffee is everywhere. While the residents enjoy their quiet life in a remote area, the 2-hour drive to the district capital city Takengon can prove quite the challenge when emergency strikes.

In the serene hills of central Aceh, the Gayo Highlands are inhibited by the ethnic Gayo community, who spend their days enjoying coffee together. Here, coffee is life. Since the beginning of the 20th century after the Dutch brought the then superior commodity to Tanah Gayo, coffee has been dominating agricultural crops in the Gayo highlands. 

Today Gayo Arabica coffee is known worldwide for its shade-grown cultivation methods and ethnic wet hulling method called gilling basah, which plays a role in the coffee’s distinguishable body and robust flavour.

The three subdistricts that form Gayo, Aceh Tengah, Bener Mariah and Gayo Luas, together have a total plantation size of approximately 94,800 hectares producing 60,000 tons of green bean coffee each year. Most smallholder farmers work together with cooperatives to bring their coffee to the world. 

One of these cooperatives is Muriti Kewe Gayo (MKG). The Rainforest Alliance (RA) certified cooperative uses the fixed RA premium that buyers pay on top of the selling price for the development of the cooperative and the welfare of its farmer members. The cooperative has 790 certified farmer members that cover 1400 Ha of land spread across six villages: Berawang Baro, Merah Muiyang, Tebuk, Penangan Mata, Arul Pertik and Pantan Sile. Every village has one collector that handles the coffee sourcing business. Within these villages, every 50 farmer members form a delegation represented by their delegation head that provides all farmers with coaching, training and social contact. The cooperative’s 14 delegation representatives are responsible for reporting all activities and needs from farmers to the cooperative. 

Sahruna, head of Muriti Kewe Gayo, and his family at MKG’s head office. Sahruna started MKG in 2005.

Every January, the Rapat Anggota Tahunan (translated as the Yearly Member Meeting), takes place. All delegation representatives come together where Sahruna, the head of the cooperative, shares all financial results, production numbers and inside activities of the previous book year. Also, the plans of the upcoming year are discussed. During this meeting attendees vote democratically on which investments will made by the cooperative to improve their social, economic and environmental conditions. 

In January 2022, during the Rapat Anggota Tahunan, two delegation representatives of Berawang Baro (the only remote village of the cooperative members), shared that they were in dire need of better access to health. 

In every Gayo village there is one midwife that supports women during their pregnancy and delivery. Nur Khalifah is the midwife at Berawang Baro. Her knowledge and skills were insufficient to treat complicated medical conditions. Before long, patients needed to be loaded on a pickup truck and driven at least 2 hours over a bumpy road to the nearest hospital in district capital Takengon. Only then would the patients receive the professional help they needed. Sometimes this procedure took simply too long for critical patients to survive. Therefore, it was unanimously decided upon that the cooperative would take action.

Daarnhouwer attending the Rapat Anggota Tahunan in January 2023.

Daarnhouwer is dedicated to growing deep rooted relationships in our value chains. We do this, among other actions, by staying in close contact with origin. Through PT Orion Gandatama Perkasa, the MKG cooperative is a part of our value chain, and we are thus able to engage with them on a daily basis. 

In January 2023 we attended the Rapat Anggota Tahunan ourselves. Through our participation we want to ensure our team remains updated on important facts like the cooperative members’ access to health. As a team we contribute to arising problems and didn’t hesitate to support the community of Berawang Baro. In cooperation with Orion and MKG, we acquired an ambulance for the people of Berawang Baro. 

The ambulance with the logos of collaborating supply chain partners, Orion, MKG and Daarnhouwer printed on the side.

The brand-new ambulance comes with a stretcher, an emergency kit and oxygen. Coordination of the use and operation of the ambulance is carried out by the cooperative members, while costs for fuel and maintenance are covered by MKG. Making use of the ambulance is not only free of charge for MKG’s farmer members, but for other villagers and residents of neighbouring villages like Berawang Dewal and Merah Sahid as well.

Berawang Baro delegation head Ali who is leading the operations regarding the use of the ambulance.

In an interview with Nur Khalifah, she expressed her enthusiasm about the ambulance. Since the arrival in September 2022, she had 2 emergency cases for which she treated patients on their way to the hospital in the ambulance. 7 pregnant women already found their way to the hospital with the ambulance instead of using the pickup truck. The ambulance is also being used for moving bodies to the city. “Having access to a clean ambulance instead of a dirty pickup truck is so useful. It comforts me to a great extent that we have it within arm’s reach. It makes me happy. It truly is a gift for life”, said Nur. 

As Daarnhouwer we are delighted that the ambulance is being used for the benefit of so many locals. We are aware that there is much to be done and we keep on actively participating where possible with the communities that make up our supply chain. 

To the lovely people behind our Gayo coffee this is our way of saying berejen (thank you in Bahasa Gayo).

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