Nekmese village is one of 8 TLM Foundation assisted villages since 2017. This village is located in South Amarasi sub-district, Kupang Regency, East Nusa Tenggara Province. According to its eighth village head, Krisma J. Baok, Nekmese was formed from 4 kingdoms, they are Naet, Koro Oto, Tuamese and Timo Foasa that later agreed to establish a village in 1971, and they named the village Nekmese which in Timorese means “one heart”.
Since elected as village head in 2012, Krisma, a father of 3 children, through a cooperation with Regional Government and Private Institution, they have been focusing on establishing Nekmese infrastructures from scratch, until now there are education institutions from PAUD (preschool), PPA (Children Development Center), elementary school, Junior High School and even Senior High School. There are also 2 towers of telecommunication provider (Telkomsel and Indosat), road access to farms, road hardening, road concreting and road paving, 3 unit of water dams, agriculture irrigation, 30 units of residential house, livestock group for each sub-village, electricity for all villagers, and clean water program.
Within this last 2 years, Krisma focuses more on increasing the income of villagers by implementing a program called “Village Garden of Eden”, initiated by Mayor of Kupang, Ayub Titu Eki. But to succeed this program, Krisma and his garden community feel the lack of knowledge in in technique of proper, modern and useful horticultural plants cultivation. This makes him finally cooperate with TLM Foundation to rearrange, assist in learning of cultivation technique, irrigation technique (garden irrigation), supply quality seeds, plants treatment, crop and process the yields.
Since the beginning of 2017, TLM Foundation placed a facilitator in Nekmese to assist garden community in transforming 1,5 acre of unproductive land into organic productive land and later planted it with organic horticultural plants like cos lettuce, spinach, water spinach, broccoli, cabbage, red cabbage, eggplant, bitter melon, tomato, green bean, long yard bean, red onion (Tuk-tuk), red chili, cayenne pepper, green bell, purple yam, cucumber, peanut, lemongrass, basil, banana, papaya and dragon fruits.
Aside from that, TLM Foundation also facilitates the garden with pipes and water tanks to irrigate water form spring to garden to help plants watering. This cooperation brings satisfaction. The place that was a steep shrub is now a garden with many types of horticultural plants; it is green and a good looking view just like a Garden of Eden and it also brings additional income for community members and even those around who make the garden as a sample garden for them and a place to learn.
Until the end of 2017, garden community member have successfully made 80 billion from selling 3.5 tons of red onion, tomato, chili peppers, and other horticultural plants. While biennial and perennial plants like banana, papaya and dragon fruits are targeted to be harvested in 2018. Elifas Bano, community leader of garden in Nekmese said that he is so grateful that TLM Foundation and village government have helped his village so they can have regular income to fulfill their needs and more than that, they can pay for their children’s education. “we used to earn from selling coconut and banana only, now we also plant vegetables, tomato, chili pepper, and other plants to sell”. Said Elifas.
In other opportunity, Village head of Nekmese, Krisma J.Baok expressed his happiness of the success. “The office of the farmers is their garden. That is why as a leader, I have prepared infrastructures like road access to the garden and water location. They just need to utilize it properly. Of course we are so happy with this success because our livelihood has increased. We also hope that other villagers who have not joined our garden community will join later and then form their community in each sub-village to create other Gardens of Eden outside Nekmese. If it happened, I am sure that village community will be more prosperous”. He said.
This is a concern of TLM as a social empowerment institution for community of NTT, especially village community so they can use their natural resources for a better life.