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Flores villager earns recognition, scholarship for homemade robo-dragon

Markus Makur

The Jakarta Post

West Manggarai, Flores, East Nusa Tenggara  /  Sun, September 9, 2018  /  08:04 am
Flores villager earns recognition, scholarship for homemade robo-dragon

Tourists lay on the sand at Pink Beach in the Komodo National Park in Labuan Bajo in West Manggarai, Flores, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) in May 2017. (The Jakarta Post/Markus Makur)

A local of West Manggarai regency in Flores, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), has created a robot at his home named Robot Komodo.

Gabriel "Geby" Jegabun, who has a wife and four children, works as a furniture maker at his humble wooden house in Lenga Nao kampung in Kolang village, West Kuwus district.

Neighbors often bring broken generators or TV sets or other electronics to him to be fixed -- a skill he has taught himself.

According fellow local resident Sello Jemalu, Geby created Robot Komodo in an effort to support tourism in Labuan Bajo.

"Geby is a genius kid from the remote kampung of Lenga Nao. He has built the robot using whatever tools he has and knowledge he has acquired on his own," Sello told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

After seeing the robot, which resembles a Komodo dragon, Sello made a video of it and posted it on social media. The post attracted the attention of NTT Governor Viktor Laiskodat, who then decided to help Geby pursue higher education at the Bandung Institute of Technology.

Geby is currently joining English and computer courses and is to be invited to Germany to present his creation.

Sello said Geby was planning to create a drone that could help farmers harvest clove.

"What he wants right now is a sponsor who can help market his product. His dreams and hopes have been answered by the governor," Sello said, adding that during Geby's training, his family was given a monthly allowance of Rp 5 million (US$337) and an opportunity to visit him in Bandung every three months.

Read also: Five things to see in Labuan Bajo besides the Komodo dragon

"Hopefully, we will have other Gabriels, so that we can enjoy the fruit of our own tourism," said Sello.

By phone, Geby told the Post that he wished to give his best for Indonesia with the creation he had made at home.

He said he had contacted the West Manggarai regency administration regarding Robot Komodo but had not received any positive response. "Luckily, Pak Viktor Laiskodar has the heart to help a kampung kid like me and fund me by accompanying and sending me to Jakarta. He personally [appreciated] my creation, sending me to Jakarta to join English and computer courses."

He added that he had requested to be given opportunity to showcase Robot Komodo in Indonesia prior to his trip to Germany in a bid to attract the government's attention. (kes)