71 Years of Independence – Let’s get to work

Children from the hamlet of Kiringan in Bantul, Yogyakarta.  For university, community service is mandatory. It enable students to step out of their comfort zones to be in touch with the world around them and be humble.
Children from the hamlet of Kiringan in Bantul, Yogyakarta.
For university, community service is mandatory. It enable students to step out of their comfort zones to be in touch with the world around them and be humble.

Tantalizing peaks of our mountains, vast, open waters and sandy beaches in Indonesia makes you search for the next holiday dates on your calendars and create a lengthy packing list. Plus, the sunny weather leaves for a great use to your sunglasses. Now of course, there is always two sides to the coin. It can get overly wet with rain over here. Plus, poor drainage in many major cities will release the dreaded (and dangerous) public menace that is the flood. Oh, you should also know that foul-smelling fumes will always somehow crawl and seep its way through the surgical masks that are ironically supposed to protect us. And when you see those fighting through the sticky heat under the blazing sun to get by, you are witnessing just an ounce of Indonesia’s reasonably large economic inequality.

But looking past all that, you will realize that this country is never short of that contagious friendliness, nor of little treasures that you find in the places you travel to. And just like in a previous post, I still managed to find a sense of belonging amidst the tumultuous few minutes every morning and afternoon during rush hour. I look around me and I see people being bunched up against each other in public transport, working tirelessly to make ends meet at home thinking to myself, how dare I complain? Not only that, what I currently do at this NGO, leaves me with nothing but to be exposed to the harsher realities that people experience.

The campaign they are running focuses on maternal and child nutrition, that I would normally think of as non-problematic. Yet in fact, thousands, and even millions of children in Indonesia lack the adequate nutrition that they deserve and areas such as Kalimantan and Sumatra, are among the highest in terms of children under 5 that are stunted in their growth. At that statement, there might be little to the imagination but truthfully, the children of any nation, our children, grandchildren — will be the ones to carry our country’s progress. And nutrition, is both their basic foundation and right to have.

Last year, I spent Indonesia's Independence Day in community service for 2 whole months with my friends. Being a part of the community, and completely hands-on in the festivities with the locals was truly unforgettable. And yes, the girl in the checkered shirt is me!
Last year, I spent Indonesia’s Independence Day in community service for 2 whole months with my friends. Being a part of the community, and completely hands-on in the festivities with the locals was truly unforgettable. And yes, the girl in the checkered shirt is me!

So, we can say that after 71 years, Indonesia might have gained its rightful independence with thanks to our founding fathers and heroes who have fought to overthrow years of colonialism and injustice. However, there is still a lot of work to be done in increasing the welfare of our people. Isn’t it our responsibility now to carry on the efforts of those who have went through the hardest?

Now independence comes in many forms, as it’s also a state of mind. But today, my country once again remembers the day of its freedom. And I feel incredibly lucky to be presented an opportunity to contribute to my own country. No matter how little, by being in this non-profit. Now I’m definitely not saying that any other profession is unworthy, but I hope that you find whatever you do in life brings you nothing but peace and leaves you with the drive to give back to others.

 

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