Written by Mega Ai
A couple months ago, I joined a work camp as a volunteer in Karimun Jawa Island. Karimun Jawa Island is a small and beautiful island in the north of Java Island in Indonesia. I spent two weeks there with some other volunteers from different countries. Two friends came from Japan and the other nine came from European countries. They are from Belgium, France, Dutch, Luxembourg, and Slovakia. There are also two Indonesian people as the camp and the co-camp leader. Many things I got and I learned there, that is for sure. I learned how to work in a team with sometimes extremely different point of view. I learned how to communicate with people in Karimun Jawa Island. I learned how to manage the garbage in other countries from my foreign friends. And the most valuable lesson I learned is how to appreciate the difference between us, European and Asia.
First of all, let me share something that I got from my foreign friends about their own countries.
The capital city of Belgium is Brussels
There is one beach named “North Sea” in the north part of the country
There are 3 languages used in this country: Dutch, French, and Germany
People there say “Bonjour” as “Halo”
This country is famous with windmill, tulip flower, cow, cheese, and wooden shoes
Everybody in Dutch has their own bicycle
The country is under the sea level
The people there say “Goedemorgen” as “Selamat Pagi”
Origami: art of folding paper.
We learn how to make candy box, star, balloon, and bird
Traditional clothes: kimono and yukata
The capital city is Bratislava
Hello: Dobryden (to older people/more formal)
Hi: Ahoj (to peer)
There are many lakes, high mountains, and forests in this country
Only 4 hours needed to travel around Slovakia
Many popular games there, like ice skating, ice hockey, and skiing
The capital city is Luxembourg
It’s the smallest country in Europe
The size of this country is as well as Madura Island in Indonesia
Only around 500.000 people live there
There is no sea in this country
There many castles above the rock. So it needs a bridge to cross by
“Good morning”: “Gudde moien”
The capital city is Paris
This country is famous with wine, baked long bread called “baget”, cheese, and Eiffel tower
Many voluntarily activities we’ve done there. Educate the people in the island about garbage management, cleaning the harbor, cleaning the school, painting the garbage bean, playing with children, planting the mangrove, and so on. We tell them about the important of separating the garbage. For the first time, we asked them to separate the garbage into two categories, plastic and non plastic. In the future, we want them to separate the garbage into several more. They are plastic, non-plastic, glasses, and paper. Well, that’s not an easy job to change the people habit. For most of the people there, separating garbage is still being a new thing to do. Besides, we did many cleaning activities, in the harbor, in the school, and in the street of the villages. We did it together with the children and the students. We also help the government of Karimun Jawa Island to plant the mangrove. And of course, we did it with the children and the students too. Mangrove plants have many advantages for the sea. One of them is it keeps the sea from the abrasion.
That’s all amazing for me. And I hope the advantages that the society will get from our voluntarily activities will be amazing too. There is one activity that I bet I’ll never forget, that is playing with children of the island. Mostly, they are students in kindergarten and elementary school while some others are student in junior high. We played traditional games together; we sang together, we made bracelets together, and so on. I loved the way the children speak, I loved the way they laugh, and I loved the way they smile. I loved every single behavior they did. They are human without sin. I was really having fun at that time, and the children too.
Another thing that I learned from this work camp is friendship. Until today, we are still keeping touch. Internet and the social networking helped us a lot to have a communication directly.
Until the day of farewell party came I just realized that two weeks were passed already. I had to leave the people there, I had to leave the children, and I had to leave all the things I loved in that island. I didn’t want to say goodbye. I didn’t want to leave all the body there. I’d really want to stay longer, but I knew I had to go. When we almost depart, some children gave me souvenirs. That’s surprised me. I was very happy and sad as well. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t give anything to them. I just wonder why they were so lovely. I said thank you and I promised them that I would come again in this island someday. I smiled, but they suddenly cried. I said to them, “Don’t cry, kids,”. But they even cried louder. Hey! Come on! Stop crying, kids! I talked to myself, “Don’t cry, please. If you want to cry, not in here, not in front of the people, and not in front the children,”. I didn’t want to cry. But my tears just fall.
Well, that’s one the most amazing experiences in my life. I feel great can help the society there. It is not a show off, I just want to share an experience that maybe able to support the other people to do the same thing. If we are able do good things for the other people in this world, so why not?
This article was published in http://www.voa-islam.com