How could I went to rural area? And what was my purpose?
I wrote this story
In the First year 2014, I was volunteer under the Ministry of Agriculture of Indonesia. We learned together how to increase the productivity of rice in West Java. But my journey to explore rural area in Indonesia began since I joined in Patriot Energy program in 2015 under Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources Republic of Indonesia. Patriot Energi was program that sent the best bachelor degree graduates to remote areas in a whole Indonesia. Patriot Energi had a duty to help society to operate and maintain energy facility through Organizer of Energy Management. Besides, Patriot had to help society to identify productive activity and potency of new and renewable energy in that area. My role was to be a leader among locals to teach how to build solar panel since electricity is their main problem. Our project was successful and we are so happy that we were managed this problem together. Last year in 2017 I joined in Institute of Economic Creative Business and Berau Government to help society get prosperity through energy field and many aspects including agriculture, education and administrative village. In Indonesia, the biggest problem was that we had many communities that did not have access to energy for the children for especially in the afternoon after school they helped their parents in the farmland. In the night time they needed to study, but without electricity, they could not study. We wanted to provide electricity from renewable energy that was so closely located with the community and resources were just in they are surrounding to make sustainability our priority.
How could you access that area?
I had to pass damaged road, deep and deep forests, wavy rivers to reach that area. I never minded because it was like adventure tale even I was little scared. So, I kept moving from one remote area village to another. In total, I volunteered in four remote districts in four different Islands during 2015-2018 (Islands of Java, Riau, Sulawesi, and Kalimantan).
How did it feel?
Before I went to rural area village, I had to ask for permission from my parents and prepared everything. Firstly, I had to do survival time for a week in the forest, just lived eating boiled leaves and water. This survival was very important to ask to “exercise” mentality and body to face any bad challenges. My first expectation was hard life situation in remote area. I could never imagine that there would be something great on this site. But when I arrived there, I wondered how beautiful this place was. On another hand, my mind was blown to think how people could survive to live with so many difficulties but they could live peacefully.
We always believe that it is not easy to live without signal but here I had to live without signal telecommunication and electricity. This village was so serene, just animal sounds which I heard. This place was good for relaxing mind. If I wanted to get signal, I had to go up to hills and it was far from my village. So, I only got the signal when I went to city every 1-2 months. The joke that we always said in village was that next time we had to buy a phone plus signal, and then we laughed.
It was difficult to fulfill my necessities like toiletries and groceries because In the village there was no shop which sold stuffs like those. After I lived there, I realized I was wrong; there were so many priceless experiences I got. We worked together to create a better life. I visited some great places there, went to the deep forest and fish in the river. I also had to sleep at forest. This area had no traffic jam and pollution. I enjoy fresh air, green sceneries and the night full of stars.
At that time, I was crazily motivated about what I could do for them, what ideas I could apply there to make a better life for us. Many ideas came to my mind every day while I was walking around the village. Every day I went outside and talked with villagers. I walked from home to home and joint with youngsters in that village. All of the ideas were written on my little pocket book so I could write and read them back anywhere. I stuck some notes in my room and wrote priority steps which I had to do. Also, I searched other ideas from my friends and Google. If I was in city I had to download some tutorial videos about my program in order so I could try and apply back in that village.
There must be happiness and sadness everything. Here they are:
The difficulties that I found there were to change the way of villagers’ thinking, how they could be open-minded and had a good view of their passion. It needed time to be close to them. So that was why I stayed with them for almost one year. During my stay, they started to open-up and explained many things to me. Day by day, month by month I felt closer to them and this was my chance to begin doing something for them.
The scary memories that I got they were:
1. There was a snake on my tight when I searched for poor signal telecommunication,
2. I felt from motorcycle in Bakau Forest
3. There was a coconut scorpion on my foot when I walked in the village
4. For the first time, my hand got bitten by centipede in becoming swollen.
The funny things that I experience were :
1. I was dragged by the cow for some meters while no one was around to help. It was the most shocking moment.
2. When I spoke villagers’ local language, I felt like doll because everyone kept staring at me. But I was happy to learn the new local language.
3. Sometimes, I was like Google because villagers always asked everything and expected I know.
The interesting moment
1. I spent Fasting Month (Ramadhan) there while all of them are non Muslim. And my was so touched when they prepared me food for breaking my fasting, laughed together and spent the time to discuss everything.
2. We built an organization to maintain solar panel system that built by us all together
3. In the education field, I had initiative to gather children to learn many things together through nature outdoor school. I spent time a lot with my students. Day by day I just realized that they were very smart, funny children, and for me, they were the best gift from God who always was beside me and created special memories.
4. The Villagers’ treated me like a princess because it was rare that people from outside this area visited them.
It was so amazing, the place made me feel at home. Yeaaah I was different from them (religion, tribe, and culture), but as long as I was there being happy and enjoying that my presence gave their color for them and their presence was also for me. The things that I will never forget are their smile, their kindness, and their heart. Their heart is so meaningful, it is touching and I can not forget it until now. So life is about sharing; believe it. Now I have been backing home. Next time I’ll get back to them with more joy in my heart.