When we set off from Norway through varying routes we all ended up in Lombok by the 9th of January. We were little prepared for the task that was awaiting us, with minimum knowledge of the topic of social and cultural capital, which are topics that are hard to grasp and difficult to define. Yet as we started to struggle through our interviews it became clearer to us what these concepts are. It was an interesting process to go from abstract concepts to seeing concrete examples out in the villages. Meeting the locals at their homes on their own terms has been a positive experience which has led many of us to feel that we really got to know those parts of Indonesia that we visited. Though there are clearly many apects of the Indonesian life we do not understand or know at this point, we have still managed to uncover some mysteries.
We felt that most of the answers where sincere, but we also experienced situations where we would not get answers to the questions we were asking. One example is corruption, and according to Professor Stein Kristiansen the reason for this is that Indonesians do not share this kind of information with strangers. You need to build trust with people for them to actually start talking about these things. We also met with officials denying any form of corruption, and in one instance students were told that it is something only seen on TV.
Education is another important factor in our opinion as a key component for development. There is lack of vocational education in many places in Indonesia. This might have been an important factor to why there are great differences between different provinces in Indonesia regarding development. Java has seen good development, which is the island where the capital of Indonesia resides. While on Flores as we experienced it was far less developed than both Lombok and Java. We found that there are still people living without electricity or without running water and proper sanitation. There are also higher levels of illiteracy on Flores than on Java.
The opportunities for developing own businesses in Indonesia are not being exploited by the locals, one reason that might be a hinder is the Chinese dominance of the market, another reason might be the lack of education and information about business opportunities. We also experienced that people generally lack a knowledge about what they earn and spend each month, though civil servants had higher awareness than, for example, farmers.
We saw in Indonesia that soc
ial network and family relations were important, we often saw that the extended family was important to the people we were interviewing. We also found neighbors have an integral part of the everyday life, where people were helping each other out if they needed help with building a new house, sowing and planting the fields or harvesting among some examples. We also discovered that this was used in development of the local development. Though the three islands we visited were in many instances very different, regarding social network we felt that the attitude was the same.
We did not start focusing on cultural capital until we arrived in Flores, this does not mean we did not get answers regarding the topic in Lombok, but we started focusing and asking more questions regarding the topic there. In all the three islands we found that religion had an important part in the daily life, though to varying degree, and expressed in different forms. For some it was important to be a good Muslim and pray 5 times a day and follow the Koran. For others local believes were mixed in with Islam, and on Flores the Catholic Church was dominant. We found that people were willing to spend vast amounts of their income on traditional and religious ceremonies. This can be an important factor to why development is going rather slow in some parts of the country.