The Children’s Dream

we took a picture under the bridge. the drained bridge due to the cold lava.

At least two hamlets were gone because of the cold lava- the rain poured on the top of Merapi volcano, it washed tons of explosion materials down through the river. The quantity and the strength of this cold lava was very big that it destroyed the bridge pillars and also the hamlets located along the river. The children did not really remember how did it happened, some said it was at night and they just ran following their parents, some rode the motorbike. All they knew was their houses were drown into materials, some are completely covered. Now its been two years since the disaster, and the people has been living in the temporary settlement located in front of the hamlet offices. The local government built them houses made of bamboo, sized 6 x 3, standing side by side with no wall to separate one house from each other, make it possible for you to notice what TV program is watched by the neighbor next door. In the time of emergency, the rights of the children become secondary needs, if not the later one, because what matters were fulfilling the main and general needs such as settlement, foods and clothing. According to Pak Lurah, the academic achievement of children is decreasing after disaster, maybe because they lost the proper environment to study, maybe the disaster is affecting their psychology more than we thought it did. As our program we assist them studying, helping them with the homework, and even more than that we try to deliver information as many as possible. Especially for the international relations students, our main purpose is to show them that the world is bigger than Jumoyo, that they can go everywhere they want someday. Some kids are very interested, they can’t take their eyes off of the world map. Enthusiastically listened when we told them stories what is it in Japan and America, when we told them about the world war and which countries were taking part. He told us too what are the countries he wants to visit. We tell them that he can make it. He has to study harder, learn English, and I shared him the website address of AFS Intercultural program and PCMI.

two little boys in our huntara who might be the next Soekarno and Sudirman

Some other kids though are not that excited. Once I heard this boy yelled when I taught English in his class, he said, “Why would we learn English?!” I couldn’t answer, I thought to myself the comment was making sense. They have never been exposed to the ‘outer’ world, they have met no foreigners, none of their relatives went abroad, they have never dreamed of going abroad, why would they learn a foreign language then? So I asked a favor from UGM office of international office, from my boyfriend, and then Mbak Ika. I asked them if we can invite the foreign researchers in UGM to Jumoyo so they can meet with the students. It happens that these students are doing their research about disaster management, and I believe that Jumoyo is the right place for that. Pak Lurah and his village officers are great examples of leadership during disaster. Of course everything was messy when the disaster was happening because everyone were just unprepared. But they coped with it very well. Pak Lurah himself worked all days and nights, tracking his people who were separated from each other to find safe places, while at the same time he was taking care of refugees from other places (mostly they were from upper Kaliurang, only several kilometers away from the top of Merapi. Pak Lurah said that they panickly entered Jumoyo, already covered with ashes, some were suffered from burn). He was helped by volunteers, they cooked for thousands of refugees three times a day. It was just unbelievable.

After awhile, condition was not as messy. Pak Lurah started to create more sustainable solution to cope with the disaster. He established an organization called Organisasi Pengurangan Resiko Bencana, an organization to minimize the risk of disaster. This organization is not only create trainings for people and evacuation simulation, but they also keep news updated about what is going on in the top of Merapi mountain, whether or not there is condition risking the safety of the people down in Jumoyo. Jumoyo now also has their own local FM radio called Lahara FM (taken from the word Lahar which means lava), the radio entertained the people with songs as well as shared them information about the risk of disaster. I adore Pak Lurah for his vision and dedication, at the same time I cannot imagine what happened with societies that is as prone to disaster but do not have strong leaderships.

I can share some more about it, the point is I believe that we can all get the benefits from the meeting. Mbak Ika said they will do it next month after lebaran, it will be after my KKN program is finished. But I will still gladly escort them here to meet with the children and the organization. There are children who have dreams, if we can do things to preserve them, the children will someday make them true.

August 2, 2012

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