I just see Mr. Wahdar, a peasant from Bandung harvesting Coix lacryma-jobi. In English, it is called Job's tears, while in my region (Indonesia) known as Jali. But, a person like Mr. Wahdar staying in Sundanese region, Bandung Regency calls it Hanjeli.
At that moment, he harvested together with Mr. Toha and 3 women. Wahdar and Toha live next door. He harvests it for the first time. However, the plant truly ever grew wildly or to be planted at paddy field when they were a child.
Formerly, I just knew it is as a prayer beads. Meanwhile, the old generations over Cikadut Village based on Bandung had already known about it. People said that it is a material of delicious food. For instance, Bugis (a cake wrapped up by banana leaf), Jali Porridge, etc.
A few months ago many women from Cikadut Village which is based on Bandung Regency told me that they know the Job's tears since they were a child. Unfortunately, their children who live at the late 1990s have no idea regarding that plant.
"My mother served me it as a yummy meal and I like it," said a woman.
As many know that Indonesia focused on one crop to be staple food which is rice. Even though, every island or region has their own staple food. For example cassava, sago, corn, sweet potato, sorghum, and others. Then the diversity was changed by Suharto, a former president of Indonesia who projected food self-sufficiency at 1984. However, that moment lasts not long.
Otherwise, the project become Indonesia people depend on the rice. Now, Indonesia could not serve their own foods by itself. Media often inform that Indonesia does import it from Thailand and Vietnam.
Depending on a single food would be vulnerable starving, but fertility of Indonesia soil would block it. This conclusion is said by founder of Odesa Indonesia, Budhiana Kartawajaya when he saw Hanjeli, cassava, taro, avocado, and other plants grow by itself on one small plot of land (around 3-4 square meter) in Bandung Regency region.
The solution from the past
Mr. Wahdar and Toha are the peasants under Odesa Indonesia assistance. They are given solution from the past from that institution. In the past, their region land could being grown Job's tear. It could served as an alternative food beside rice. Even the nutrition of Job's tear is much more rich than rice.
Odesa Indonesia always curious about local wealth. If Adam Smith tells about "Wealth of nations", Odesa discusses and practices the wealth of local; to overcome poverty, biulding culture, literacy, and technology.
Regarding wealth of local, I remember about a post on Facebook from a senior writer, Puthut EA, telling about local economy could overcome crisis on 1997/1998. The people from city went back to their own village, then rebuild the economy from crops.
Ironically, according Phutut EA, the village now changes. Industrialisation like property, manufactur industry, and mining snatchs the wealth of village. Many people loss of job, homes, and identity.
However, when Mr. Rusmana, a peasant and extension agent of Odesa Indonesia, said of the past of his village, it seems he give solution for the situation. But, the story about past is not the exact solution. The best solution is action. That is why Odesa Indonesia more tend to product of "action".