Gedegan Sisabi

We call it Gedegan.

In my village, when I was a kid, “go to Gedegan” mean “swimming”. Perhaps Gedegan is Sunda language for Bendungan in Indonesian or dike/dam in English. Village Jati, my village, separated by a river from Uwung village. That river calls Sabi River or Kali Sabi in Indonesian or we, Sundanese community around that river, call it Sisabi. That “Gedegan” is in this Sisabi.

Like a lot of other civilizations who live around a river like Nile in Egypt, Yangtse in China, Eufrat in Iraq, or Gangga in India, Sisabi, eventhought only in a little part, also create many civilizations of Sundanese community; village Jati, Uwung, Rawacana.

Almost everyday Jati’s children and civilian go to Sisabi. Swimming, fishing, washing clothes/house equipment, or looking for shrimp. Sisabi cannot separated from our life. It’s part of village Jati’s life. Sisabi surrounding by trees as far as it flow. Sisabi’s water is clear, and more clear in summer. In the midde of summer, when the water debit is decresing, all people go to Sisabi to catch fish, shrimp, eel and shell.

“Go to Gedegan” mean “swimming” because almost everyday we were swimming in that river. So if any friend ask us to go to Sisabi, it’s mean he ask us to swim there. All village Jati kids can swim by learn to swim in Sisabi including me. In the first time, little kid like me when 7 years old, only allow to swim at border’s river with “Gaya Batu” or “Stone style”. Our senior teach us how to be a good swimmer. Than, after a while time step by step we can swim to middle of Sisabi. Moreover, we can climb a tree than jump to the river until our foot touch the bottom of river. We call it “Seblugan”, because the sound when we fall from tree to water is “blugg…” This is my favorite moment when I was a kid.

That is before 1985….

Everything is change when industry come to our village. Factories are build around Sisabi and throw their waste to Sisabi. Moreover, they change Sisabi from circle form to straight form. All trees and old Sisabi are elliminated. Than Sisabi change from a little river to only a big drain. Water color change everyday depend to kind of material waste color. There is no fish can live, no shrimp can find, no shell can enjoy… I’m very sad, but can do nothing……


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