08 June 2011

The Journey That Teach Me How To Value Life

Hello everyone, first please forgive this long pause of blogging. It's been my second weeks in Lima again after 8 days staying with people in Alcamenca, small district in a highland-2 hours road trip by local mini bus from Ayacucho, Peru. I feel blessed for the opportunity that been given to me lately. It is not about how many places I have been to, but how many stories I can keep and share to other people in the future.

As a human, I have been living my life mostly in a big cities. Born and raised in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, the very first time I stayed outside of this town was when I enrolled Universitas Gadjah Mada, government's university located in Central Java spesifically in a city named Yogyakarta.

I always know that I won't be able to live in remote areas, the only reason probably because I couldn't imagine myself (ME) without magazines, newspapers, internet (the most important of all), et cetera.. et cetera. When I was trying to finish my thesis back in last year, I was very confuse about the option 'to go' or 'not to go' to Papua Island, the poor area in east part of the country. My thesis was about Freeport Company's contract and it's relevances with environmental protection in the Papua Island (where the company's based it's main mining activities). After loong considerations, I decided not to go to Papua (one of my life's decision that I probably will regret the most).

So back to the main topic, giving myself the idea of staying far away from 'civilization' is probably one thing that might be impossible for me.

When I decided to take the opportunity to join the team to work helping people in District Alcamenca, I wasn't fully realized how much the decision would teach me about life. Not until I came and stayed in the local house in Alcamenca itself.

The very first day, me and other people in a team was hardly find signals for mobile phone. Our provider was Claro, one of the biggest telephone provider in Peru, so losing the signal of the phone was kinda woken us up about 'the NO INTERNET possibility'. Everyone was kinda messed up and confused. As a young people, it is essential now to get connected with other part of the world, especially when you are a foreigner staying in other country. Of course sending email and seeing your family/friend's pictures on facebook are one thing that would brighten up your days.

Back at that moment, I was mad at myself, why didn't I refuse the offer to come here (Alcamenca)? Instead of staying here, I could have been living my normal city girl life in Lima, which is imaginably understandable how 'normal' it would be with daily routines just like any other people in other part of the world. 

But my dissapointment wasn't really for long. Despite the fact that no internet, no phone and the foods that we could ate during those days was between tuna canned or instant ramen soup, but seeing how people live their life with very basic things and still happy with all they got, made me cry a lil bit.

There was this one time when I came to the 3rd floor of the house where the rooftop was, and I sat in bricks watching sunset between two big mountains afar. I sat there and cried.

That day was the day when I had the opportunity to teach english at local school with other friends from the team. I saw with my own eyes how those kids were enthusiastically trying to learn how to pronounced "Goodbye". The fact is: They were all between 15th to 20th years old and they were still dont know how to say "Goodbye."

I was pretty sure that they were all smart and I could see by how they were trying to take benefits from the class that I attended that day. They want to learn more. They want to get more than they used to. Is it the situation to be blamed or the condition where the students has to divide their life from school life and working in their parents's field after the class are over?

My parents never told me to change my school's uniform into dirty shirt and helped them in their corn field. Never. But I kept on telling them how I feel bad about my life and wanting more than I have at that moment. In other part of the world, there are people just as same age as me, had to deal with their reality, but they're still cherish every moment in their life, even if it's only taking the donkey or their pigs walking around their village. They smile a lot. It seems to me that those people I met was all happy with what they had. 

I feel ashamed of my self. Why can't I be happy like them? Why can't I be happy with what I have and always looking for more, more and more? What is the definition of 'more', by the way? What's the limit??

My experiences in Alcamenca was one of the most important life lesson I've ever tasted. Since I always know that as a person I never believe in other people words before I feel it by myself, this time I got it all. I got to know that being happy is not about what I have, but how I feel. I should have changed the 'sense of belonging' into 'sense of humanity'. 

Factly, now I'm enjoying this fast internet connection, being warm under my blanket in my bed and had accompanied with coffee. Probably people that I knew in Alcamenca, or other people in the world, are trying to secure themselves from the highland's super cold night's weather under their small house with broken roof.

Tackling inequality in this world is not an easy job. In my opinion, inequality is a commodity for those who get benefits from development process. Hmm, let's just skip this part :)

Now I have to remember, in every thing I enjoy in the world, I should not wanting for more. Because asking for more is not always the good thing, especially when there are other people who could even reach less than what I have now.

More or less, is about being thankful.
And that's not an easy job.

.....that's not an easy job, my friend.

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