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#DreamIndonesia: The Need To Give Back for Indonesia

Dream. I dream.

This 2 words suddenly popped into my head as I stare at the vast blue ocean and white sandy beach on a glistening hot day at Flores, East Nusa Tenggara. Upon seeing the view I realized that Indonesia is immensely beautiful. Great nature and friendly people. What more can you expect from a country while you’re traveling. To be frank, my love for traveling already there since I was sent to travel to participate on an exchange program when I was 11. Since then, I’m hooked. I always find a way to travel more, see more, and just be on the go. Weird and unfriendly remarks came from friends  that thought what I’ve done so far is just a way for me to escape reality. But I never believe it and just follow my heart. Meanwhile, every time I head off to another journey my parents always remind me that “Anybody who is born, eats, sleeps, breathes, lives, and grows up in Indonesia must give his or her contribution to the country”.

White beach, gorgeous scenery, delicious food, friendly locals. That is what you will get when visiting Flores. My 6 days trip turn from seeing in a tourist perspective to a complete blessed I was born as Indonesian. On the 4th day, me and my friends were going to experience the life of Waerebo`s people by staying the night there. A 9 KM hike – one way – was our challenge to reach the desired destination. After more than 3 hours, 3 bottles of water, a scratch on the feet, and sweats, finally we arrive at Waerebo. We all awestruck seeing the village for the first time. Looking at the complicated houses surrounds the little village and kids running around playing, we knew our journey would be amazing.

Just like any village in Indonesia you cannot expect there would be internet connection there. So, this ‘rare’ opportunity we use to be closer with the people. Teach kids various songs, play Ular Tangga with them, or simply sit beside them and hear their daily stories. A story struck me the most when a middle age woman told me how a pregnant lady in the village get medical treatment. With their naive and plain answer was,`every woman has to walk back each month to go to the nearest doctor. When its their 8th months pregnant, they need to walk back to live in their relatives house in the nearest big village`. Upon hearing this my head hurts and I just want to cry. Walk back means hiking with no sandal or proper shoes for 9KM. I myself still feel extremely tired when hike the area yet this brave woman do it every month while carrying their unborn child. It’s just too much for my mind to handle.

The irony burns deep. Whilst every year we celebrate our independence day. The media all write about how we are now  one of the sought country for investment, how foreign tourist are coming to spend their $$ in Indonesia, and the most ironic one is how we scream our hearts out that we manage to freed our country from 350 years of colonization. I believe we’re still far from being independent. We’re still being ‘colonize’ by our own pride and our dangerously beautiful nature.

I believe now we got it too easy.  We need to change. Starting from:

  • Equal opportunity on every province to receive the same amount of education or funding for education
  • I dream mommy to be at Waerebo do not need to walk 9KM each way, with their baby bump, to see a local doctor. But, it should be available on their village. Starting with Flores become one of main destination for young doctors to teach
  • I dream I do not see or learn the news that the island at Flores is managed by expats but rather by locals. Starting from making it more strict for foreigners to open business there
  • I dream where the best facility  is not only Komodo Island, due to the Sailing Komodo event 2 years back. But, government should actively renovate and build more infrastructure that benefit the tourism industry there.

I believe there will always be more. I`m sure many Indonesians have thought this before. As a reminder I would like to share what others said too.

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