By Yulia Absari aka Ijul, an employee in a multinational company, volunteer 1N3B. She lives in Jakarta.
My last social activity this month and it so happen that it falls on the week of my birthday.
I almost couldn’t go cause until the end of June, I still haven’t submitted my leave & haven’t prepared for anything. Anyway, things went well and got the ticket on my hand. However, since I had other stuffs like LSC & KKS Melati, so the preparation for the story telling & origami was made 1 week before D-Day. Pretty worried that I couldn’t make it in time, but thankfully, everything went well as it planned, and the EXCITEMENT begin!!
We are leaving on the 28th by Batavia, with route JKT-KPG-WGP. Quite shaky, but the heck, nothing compares my madness when knowing a passenger across me was having his phone ON all the way from JKT-KPG !! (when his phone was accidentally ringing, I looked at him & asked him to turn it off, but do you wanna know what he said? He said, “It’s OK, I already reject the phone & always turn the phone on”. What the F*@$ !!!). Ugh, had I not realized it’s the beginning of my journey, I would punch him on the face. I couldn’t call the flight attendant as everybody’s were all ready for landing position.
Anyway, we got to Waingapu and then off to RSU Imanuel as Dr. Dani was serving us lunch there. Afterwards, the journey to Ngadulanggi began. It took about 3 hours to get there, and the road was pretty knocking you out if you can’t stand it. However, since the view along the way was breathtaking, so nobody mind with it. And since it’s my first time seeing the AMAZING savanna, so I object none )
It was already dark when we got to the school & there’s no electricity at all in the area. But dear GREAT LORD, when I looked at the sky, it was a very clear one and lotsa stars. I never see so many stars in Jakarta’s sky & the moon was about to come out from its kingdom. The view was drop dead magnificent!
Though I got beaten by some kinda insect who was attracted to the light from my headlight & almost lost the slipper when I went across the small river (and when the local guy found it, the strap was broken), yet I couldn’t careless about it when we were welcomed by the traditional dance whom performed by the local people (especially seeing the dancer’s hair which almost touch the ground).
After unpacking & chitchatting with the locals who served us sirih pinang (I didn’t eat it though), we went to the classroom, our accommodation during the stay (yes, it’s the place where we eat, sleep, change clothes & putting all of our boxes). The electricity went on later on & we all started to work. We were finish around 12 midnite and off to bed so quickly. (Actually, i couldn’t say we’re off to bed, since we slept on the table, which reminds me of my elementary school’s moment when I was doing Persami before attending a Jambore in Cibubur, hahahaaaa..)
Perhaps we were some kinda stranger to the locals, or perhaps they never see anybody who was outside their area, so they were very excited seeing us in the classroom, wanted to know what we were doing. Thanks to CT who immediately created an emergency curtain from many sarongs to cover us so they didn’t have to know what happened inside the classroom. Not our intention for being rude, but we’re not used to be under-the-microscope
On the following morning, we all woke up pretty early, round 6AM (it’s 1-hour ahead of Jakarta’s time). Today is the D-Day, our 1st day for our activity. I was very excited ! In the morning, I helped out the registration desk for free medication treatment with Iting. 90% of them were having the same problem, uric acid (aka asam urat or they called it asam-asam), cough, flu, high fever, low-blood pressure, ulcer. After lunch, I helped the education team for the science games. There were 6 posts, and my post was “Telepon Kaleng”. First team I handled the 3rd & 4th grade. My goodness, my patience was tested as they could hear what I was saying, but couldn’t understand it. So grateful that I had those young teachers as my translator.. Though I still need to improvise as it didn’t go as it’s planned. Second team I handled was the 7th grade students, and it was way better than the 1st one. They really showed their enthusiasm and I didn’t have to explain in details what they should do. It was around 4PM when the day was ended by giving school bags to the students. Seeing their expression on the face when getting a new bag is somewhat satisfying. At night time, there was movie time for the locals. We played 2 movies, one is Denias, and the other one is Laskar Pelangi. This 1st day was completely ended around 10PM after we all finished packing uniforms & snack which will be given tomorrow.
Day-2. THIS IS IT! The day where me & Iting will tell a story to the kids about clean environment & teach them origami. Things were all prepared, but there’s one BIG obstacle, which is the participant. We were gonna give this to 1st & 2nd year, and learning from the 1st Day, students who could speak Indonesia fluently are those whose in 5th & 6th grade. So before we began, we were busy looking a teacher to be our translator for the show. Luckily there is Nona Guru, so the message could be sent out. We were glad too that they are attracted to the hand puppet, laughing at it and they even got the chance to play with it. After story telling, we continued with origami. Actually, I planned to give around 3-4 shapes in 45 minutes, but turned out, only 2 shapes that could be done. It’s not that I gave difficult shapes, not at all, but it’s just they’re having difficulty in absorbing what I said. Even with the existence of a translator, but they didn’t know what to do with the paper. I showed them how to fold in front of the class, but really, they just stared at me, do nothing about it. *sigh* Fortunately, it’s only 29 students, so we still could manage going around the class, came to each student & showed them how to fold correctly. Anyway, it’s a new learning experience for me so I must not complain at all.
After our “show” is finished, we helped out the medical room, precisely in weighing the locals, quite an easy task to do. However, knowing how “harsh” they treat their kids, somehow I couldn’t help myself to come out front and tell them not to yell at their kids. I know I might be rude to them, but I couldn’t just staand there and watched. Here’s the example… When I ask their kids to step up the weight scale and they were kinda ignorant to do so, their parents yell at them and not too few slap their kids’ head.. And if this is done to their 2 y/o babies, you know what happen ? YES, you are absolutely right. They CRIED OUT LOUD !! So I had to improvise how to get their weight, heheheeee…
The daytime activity was finished quite the same time as Day-1, and the night activity also similar, movie time. We had some problems with the genset, as it ran outta fuel, but it’s solved couple of hours later. At our last night, few people left already, so only 12 people remained in Ngadulanggi. We slept much earlier than yesterday, because we had nothing to do left. Besides, we wanted to go to the hill early in the morning, so we should sleep early.
In our last morning, we woke up bit earlier because we wanted to capture the sunrise from the hill behind the school. Me, Iting, Shiek Lie, Ferry & ibu Sita all went up there. It’s not that steep, but perhaps I wasn’t used to it, so it’s kinda weary me out (and the smoke gave a big contribution to it, I assume). It was a nice sunrise, the orange lights, when its warmth touched our skin, it felt really nice.. My friends sang me “Happy Birthday” up in the hill, because it’s indeed my birthday.
After breakfast, handover the remaining goods to the chief of village, priest and school principle, we took off to Waikabubak. Somehow, it’s quite sad leaving the area.. Many lessons I learned during my 2-days activity there. I wish that we could do more to them. They are also Indonesian, yet somehow, our government does not care about them. From the access to area, the electricity, until the education & their health. It is an eye-opening to me though… I wish that I have more time to contribute to a community like this, giving back to less fortunate people, doing the best I could, not only once in a year.
This is one of the birthday I won’t forget and absolutely one of the great birthday I had in life.
This article was published firstly by Yulia Absari in her personal web blog here.
Photos by Yulia Absari all right reserved (c) 2010