Here are the first part of it:
Friday, June 7, 2013
Today is my first day of starting the internship with World Education Indonesia (WEI). Well, not officially started, but I count it as day 1 as I met with Mr. Bailey (this is NOT his real name) for the first time. He’s the one who’ll be in charge of my work. Kind of my supervisor.
The day began with me meeting with several staffs of WEI. The office is very decent and modest, not like any big office of international NGO that I imagined. However, from a staff’s story of the WEI’s history, their work is very professional and acknowledged internationally and seems to be very well managed.
Then, Mr. Bailey and I went to Depok by train to visit the real fieldwork – that’s the field where I’m gonna work later. WEI engages and work together with a local NGO called YABIM (Yayasan Bina Insan Mandiri). With Alcatel-Lucent, it gave birth to a CSR program called ConnectEd, a program that helps unlucky youth – usually because of financial condition – to access education. It prepares them to do Kejar Paket A, B, and C, equivalent programs for elementary, secondary junior and senior high school respectively, as well as providing trainings for the tutors. It also provides classes for young adults who has worked but want to finish their unfinished school program before; usually them who are working as waiters in the restaurants or other informal jobs. They have to use the classrooms alternately: in the morning for PAUD (pre-school and kindergarten), and elementary school, in the afternoon for junior high school, and in the evening for senior high school and for those who has worked. This program has produced 12 candidates to go to university.
The location is perfect to describe development work!! It is a dusty open field. The road is not cemented, with several kids playing there. The classrooms were used to be truck containers, with some donation from the Tupperware and a local bank of Mandiri (Mandiri Peduli Pendidikan). The climate was hot, but some classrooms have air conditioner (AC). It even has a computer room to teach typing skills, fully equipped and installed with Ms. Windows 7. Each student is supposed to have a computer. There I met a wonderful and very talented young girl called Sumayah. She’s got a talent in drawing!! She draws very good of comic pictures, especially manga. She even edits the pictures using Adobe Photoshop, a software that I cannot use and completely clueless about. She doesn’t go to college, and unfortunately she doesn’t seem to be enthusiast when I talked about going to college. She just love drawing. But when I mentioned about the possibility to go to college in Japan, taking art as her major, she screamed with an excitement and really hoped that I could help her with the admission process. I really want to but do not know how. I strongly feel that a girl like her has such a bright potential to succeed, and she could make a very good living with her drawing skills. It is such a pity that not many publishers in Indonesia are willing to admit and appreciate her skills. I am 100% sure that once she goes abroad, her talent will be very much noticed; or she probably can directly go to work with a decent salary. So far, I’ve just got her email address and said to myself that I’ll do my best to help her to channel her talent.
After that, we went to look for a boarding house where I’m gonna live in for 3 months. It’s quite difficult to find one. Most of them are already fully booked because a new semester in the university is about to start, but even if there are some offerings, they didn’t suit me, either because the room was too dark, the bed was too dirty, too messy, too expensive, too hot, etc. They’re just not worth to stay in! Thank God finally we found a place. It’s a chamber which was being rented out by a middle aged lady to help her finance her daughter to go to college. Compared to the previous rooms that I’ve seen before, this one was nicer and more comfortable. The price is also reasonable, I had to pay Rp 2,4 million for 4 months stay (that’s equivalent with 240 CHF for 4 months, while in Geneva my housing costs 560 CHF per month!!). It has a bathroom inside, very quiet neighborhood, and not too hot. So far, we’ve got a deal and I’ll be moving tomorrow.
Doing an internship for the next 3 months ain’t gonna be easy. The traffic was unbearable compared with Switzerland’s traffic: it is dusty, traffic jam everyday and almost everywhere, no tap water to drink, less secure environment, and hard work. I’m going to work with street children, a situation which I need to adapt. The office is not gonna be fancy, the food probably will be less tasty and healthy, and I need to develop my patience a lot. However, I also love this project. Yes there’ll be lots of challenges, but I know that I’m going to learn a lot from this. When I got to know my work’s surrounding this day, I felt very grateful for being able to study in Geneva. Not everyone got this such chance and privilege.
Day 2, Saturday, June 8, 2013
Today I moved to my new boarding house. The place is nice but the light of the lamp is a bit dark :( I think I really need to change the light bulb. Besides, the lamp in the bathroom and on the terrace also shut down and I haven’t paid the fee to the matron. She’s often goes out and seldom being at home.
It was a busy day today. I spent half of the day buying things in the mall such as mopping cloth, garbage bins, garbage plastic bags, a broom, a dustpan, a long pillow, an extra bed sheet, a computer table so that I can write in my laptop, liquids for cleaning dishes and the floor, a carpet, and an electric fan because it’s so damn hot and humid here. I am absolutely certain that I can’t sleep well without it and will be surrounded by mosquitos!! It was really big and quite heavy to carry on the fan all along the way (because I am alone…. I really wished that I had a boyfriend who can help me doing a lot of things back then). Fortunately the mall is quite near with the house, app. 500 – 1000 km. My arms hurt a little bit when I got home. I also bought cereals, a carton of powder milk, instant noodles, bread, and jam for my breakfast. It’s sad because I cannot go in and out of the matron house to use the kitchen utensils to cook. It means that I have to buy most of my meals outside :(
This evening I also felt really bored since there was nothing to do. Nothing! No internet, no tv…. I just spent time rewriting my phone book list in my other phone, because my black berry really has problem with loading time and the battery is quick to run out. It was the first time for me when I felt homesick…. In my own country!!!! I am also living alone so there’s nobody to talk to, not like when I live in a real boarding house. I miss staying with Mami or with any other relatives in Jakarta because everything is provided. It somehow reminds me of Mohammed’s teasing that I’m such a spoiled girl who has a maid ready to do anything she’s told. LOL. But then my brother suggested me to buy a modem so that I can surf the internet like usual hihihi…. So up I went to Gramedia and bought a modem which costed me Rp 399.000 (around 40 CHF), with free internet for 3 months included ^^
Sunday, June 9, 2013
I couldn’t sleep last night!!! I felt so hot inside the room even though I have bought an electric fan. The sleepless night combined with the humid air made me a bit grumpy and worsened my homesick. I want to sleep in Mami’s house where it is air conditioned and everything is prepared and I do not need to spend money on food!!!!! Grrrrhhh. I was half asleep when at about 3 or 4 am in the morning, I heard a very loud scream said, “Maliiiiinnnnnggggg!!!!!” (thief!!!). I woke up and a little bit nervous. I saw some people gathered outside, trying to recall what just happened. Later in the afternoon I found out that there was someone trying to steal a motorcycle parked outside a house, but the owner seemed to notice him and shouted, and the thief ran away with his company using another motorcycle, so he managed to escape. I really hope may I experience nothing with burglars or thieves or whatever during my stay here. The landlords assured me that the neighborhood is expected to be safe and secure, but also recommended me to lock my belongings when I’m away. It’s best to carry it with me or hand them to them so they can keep it.
Because of sleepless night, I off course got up late :\ Before I planned to get up early and leave at 9 to go to church, but then I got up at 10! I rushed off and got out of the house at about 10.30. Before Mr. Bailey has told me that there’s a church called Abbalove in Depok mall, near with my fieldwork. From previous stories I know that Abbalove is a good church and I know some friends who go there, so I decided to visit. Thank God I was not that late, even though the sermon has started. Later on I found out that the church has 3 sermons in a day, at 8.30, at 10.30 and at 13.30 for youth.
It was just a usual, ordinary sermon but I felt so freshened up. I felt my self being refilled and recharged again. It was about hope, with the main message that we should put our hope in the Lord to not have ourselves disappointed with the “hope” that we often have. It also told about faith as the basic ingredient in expecting something, with the verses from Hebrew 6 and 11 and Jeremiah 29. During the worship, tears were running down my eyes and cheek. Never I felt I was so thirst of the Lord…. I felt so welcome in the church. After the service, as usual the pastor asked if there’s anybody who are the first comers in the church, and I raised up my hands. I got several hands offered to me, saying welcome, and a friendly woman came to me to have a little chat and provided me with some information like the time to have cell groups. She also asked a permission to pass on my cell number to another lady to follow me up.
I joined that service and the youth service at 13.30, because I wanted to see what it was like, to decide whether I want to go to the general or youth service. The latter is more active and energetic, but still less energetic compared to my church in Geneva (I don’t mean to compare churches, though…. It is nice!!). I cried again during the worship session. How glad it was to hear songs, to sing and to worship using my own language!!!
When I looked around, I was touched to see young people – many of them seem to coming from lower middle class family – looked so eager when they were reading the Bible and listened attentively to the sermon. The sermon was actually the same, about hope, but brought in a little different style. When I looked around, I said to myself, “Gosh, these young people must have experienced some bad moments in their lives…. They are really tough indeed. Many are still struggling to continue to find school (secondary or university), to find jobs, and other problems. Yet they are still faithful to wait upon the Lord…” Knowing these things once again kinda slapped me in the face, it reminds me how blessed I am to study in Geneva, taking a Master degree in Development Studies. My burdens, such as working and living in humid, dusty Depok are really nothing compared to them!
This afternoon also, the matron helped me to change the light bulb in my room (before I bought 2 light bulbs from Ace Hardware). She ordered her son to change the lamp for me. Now my room is brighter, and the lamp in the bathroom has also turned on. I feel really happy…. Seriously, living in not a privilege conditions like what I used to have in Switzerland really taught me to appreciate and cherish small things. Despite the humid air, I have a nice and spacy room, a nice landlord with a nice family, a friendly neighborhood, a kind supervisor, a job that I love, and now a community in church. I have money to buy meubles that I need. I remind myself that thousands of people out there desperately wish to trade their condition with mine :(
I’m starting to work tomorrow. There will be a meeting with the office’s staffs at 3 pm in the afternoon, but I plan to go there earlier since I’m dead bored in the house….
Monday, June 10, 2013
I slept better last night. Fiuuuh! The hot weather did not really bother me. Yet, there is still another problem…. It’s the dust!! I do not know how there could be so many dust on my bed, in the morning and in the evening. Yes there is a lot of dust in the ceiling…. But could it be from there? The matron said that they have cleaned the room right before I came. Well, apparently it is still not very clean :( I then cleaned the ceiling again using a long broom while stepped upon my bed, and then I moped the whole room. Hopefully the room will be less dusty. I have told this to the matron and she said that she will check it later.
There was a miscommunication between me and Mr. Bailey this afternoon. He tried to reach me by the phone, unfortunately he still contacted my old number which I do not use anymore. Thus, I didn’t know that he was trying to tell me that it was unnecessary for me to go to the office, which I still went to. But after that everything was settled so it was okay.
Today Mr. Bailey gave me some sheets of working plans and schedules. Basically they are his and his colleague’s schedules and work plans, but he told me to swoop in and join them in the schedule while contributing the skills that I have, esp. for tutor training programs.
We also visited YABIM today to see what was going on there. I managed to make some conversations with the tutors and office “administrators” there, who are very nice and friendly. They are not really administrators since they do not have that background. Many of them who worked there are really volunteers…. Some of them do not get paid, or even if they are paid, it’s really nothing, at about Rp 100.000 until Rp 300.000 a month (10-30 CHF). What the…?!?! How could someone live with that sums of money!!! Some only got a stipend to cover transportation’s fees. When I asked Mr. Bailey about based on what incentives they’ll get by doing voluntary works, he explained that it’s basically a calling, something that they do to get a reward from Allah. Same like a calling in Christianity. The “school” has been there since 2000. The classes are using ex-containers from the trucks, already well-polished and painted. They also have a dormitories for students whose homes are far away, a public kitchen where they serve free meals for the students, and a workshop where students can practice their machinery skills. They even have an ambulance! They survive thanks to the donations, such as from Tuppwerware and Indonesian local and national banks, also from the World Education.
During our visit, I met a guy named Agus. He’s from Wonosobo-Central Java. He has completed junior high school, but didn’t continue to the senior high school due to financial problems. After not going to school for 5 years, he went to Depok, working with his elder sister. Later on I knew from Mr. Bailey that he works as a domestic worker (a maid). Luckily he has a nice boss who allowed him to continue his schooling, which he really wants to. He then pursued a Paket C program (equivalent with senior high school/SMA) in YABIM to get a certificate. I can tell that he’s a very serious guy, and now he’s preparing himself for an admission test to the university. I was very moved to hear his story and almost cried. Indeed, despite the harsh circumstances, I am very much awed with the high spirit from these children to pursue higher and higher education. It reminds me with my best friend, David’s, words, “Education is a privilege, Louisa.” It makes me grateful once again for all I have. Fyi, WE itself is committed to support 10 university student candidates by paying for the admission fees, living costs, books, transports etc for a whole year.
Another thing that Mr. Bailey told me is that 99% (NINETY NINE!!) of the students here are Moslems, while it is 100% (ONE HUNDRED!!!) Moslems for the tutors. Having studied 6 years in public schools where 90% of the students and teachers are Moslem in my hometown, this should not be a new fact for me. Yet, I was a bit surprised to know this. Surely, this is going to be a new challenge for me…. Now when I looked back, I really thank my father who put me to the public schools instead of private schools which are dominated by Chinese non-Moslem students. It indeed helps me to expand my horizons and enrich my way of thinking, as well as helps me to adjust with multicultural and multi-religions surrounding.
One thing that really concerns me is the transportation fee. Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, and Bekasi (Jabodetabek) are now better in their public transports. There is now commuter trains that come and go every 15 minutes that connect the 5 cities and they are air conditioned. Still, public transports in other 4 cities other than Jakarta is still very bad. I have to spend around Rp 2000 or around 20 cents CHF to go from one place for another (mostly from my boarding house to the place where I work). 20 cents is indeed nothing, but calculate that in 30 days which costs me Rp 600.000 or around 60 CHF. Multiply that with 3 months. It has not counted the fee of commuter train, Rp 8.000,00 (80 cents CHF) to go to Jakarta if there’s a meeting at the office, or when I want to meet my family and friends who are now working there. The ticket for commuter train is only one time use, so going back and forth between Jakarta-Depok already costs me Rp 16.000. Luckily I do not have to go to Jakarta everyday, Mr. Bailey told me that most of the time we will be working in Depok. But still!!!! I really really wish that an abonement system like in Switzerland is implemented soon in Depok, so that we can buy monthly card or ticket, which will be more efficient.
That's all for now!! I'll update you with some news later. Providing that I have more free time now, I should have more time to blog as well as share my stories with you :)