Monday, October 26, 2015

Kaimana: A Beginning

It has been awhile since I wrote my last post and I decided to write whatever I wanted to write today. I always want to write my community-development experience in Kaimana, West Papua. But you know when your thoughts are overwhelmed by thousand random things and you just can't decide which ideas you would prioritize first. And finally I intended to write my Kaimana's experience in different posts with its specific highlights.

Before all, let me serve you the appetizer.
A clear soup, mixed with enormous fillings and homemade broth.

My university as the first pioneer in fostering community-development practice for students since 1970-ish, obliged all students in their 6th semester to experience it for two months. Gratefully, my sister who had experienced it before, told me to do it in the same place like her, it was in Kaimana, West Papua. I was beyond happy yet challenged. How could I suffer two months of living in Papua? All I heard about Papua was something frightening and unpleasant. It was all about pricey groceries, malaria endemic area, heavy sobers on the road, limited access to health and education, etc.

But I kept all of my scary imaginations inside my head and tend to be more excited. I packed my easy-to-dry clothes, sunscreens, glasses, flip flop, Anne Frank's diary, notebook, heaps of medicine esp Kina and Doxycicline pills to fight malaria, and Jogja's signature keychains as souvenirs in my suitcase (#1 handy tip: you can use suitcase as your compact-cupboard for 2 months living. It's ok to use carrier, but you'll need smarter packing skills to make your clothes remain neat. For lazybutt like me, suitcase is the best choice).

Grouped in a team with another 23 students from different faculties, we named ourselves as "Senja di Kaimana" team. Our journey was tough. But hey, it had shaped us stronger and unbeatable. Been in perplexity because we were trapped in bad luck that Kaimana's local government didn't let us to do commdev there. What made it worse was we heard that bad news just 2 months before the departure date. God must be kidding. We've worked our ass off during the preparations, especially in fund raising (garage sale on every Sunday, selling snacks + parkas, hopped on cafes and fancy restaurants for charity concert, and translating proposal to gather funds from rich foundation). After heard that extremely bad news, we came in a realization that we should've been grouped with another comm-dev group in Fakfak, looking for miracles in Makassar, realistic actions in Gunung Kidul, etc. There were so many backup plans, that we honestly didn't see it as backup plans, but as plans-full-of-disappointment-and-sadness.

"Altough you may be hurt and bleeding now, a better day will come. Hard work will never betray you."

Somehow, wiseman said the wisest and truest ones.

It happened to us. We decided to still come to Kaimana with zero expectations and guessing what kind of fate that would came to us. Turns out, it was miracle that happened. The local government gave us warm welcome and let us live there for about 2 months, means that: we can do our commdev projects there! GOD IS TOO GOOD, HUH?! Everything went smoothly afterwards, surrounded by countless kind hearted people who helped us during the projects and thousand worthwhile experiences that we've discovered in precious 2 months. I met many inspiring figures, start from highschool headmaster, elementary school's teachers, powerful woman named Mama Nyai, annoying-yet-lovely kids from neighborhood, whose stories will be written up in this blog soon.

Awakened by this circumstance, I think it's important for us to be in the lowest point in our life just to feel and expect nothing from what we've done and what we've said in our prayer. It's alright to have failures, pain, and disappointment. God will do the rest by giving us another people. There will always be people with their kindness and sincerity who will help us in our most critical moments. And I found them in Kaimana.