18th May 2009, is the first day of our involvement with Tunas Hijau. We got up early and prepared ourselves for the activities. Dani fetched us at our homestay which is the mayor’s house. However we were 15 minutes late because we were following the Indonesian time. Our friends in aiesec said Indonesians are usually 30 minutes late but Dani was on time. Well same goes for the Malaysian.
Firstly we went to Tunas Hijau’s office for some briefing. Then we headed to a private primary school Santa Theresia for some introduction on the project Curtis is conducting. We had some interactions with the kids. Dani was so nice to translate everything Curtis and Pasquelle said about the environmental programs they have in their country. As for me, I’m fortunate to be a Malaysian and verse in Bahasa Malaysia with the kids. The kids were shy at first but with Dani around, he made them feel easy. So the kids were easy on questioning us with whatever they are skeptical.
Later on they showed us how they recycle paper from newspaper. The newspapers were shredded into pieces and blended with some water before it is left to soak in a big bucket for a day. The soaked paper is known as ‘paper pulp’. Then they have a rectangular siever to sieve the pulp. The pulp forms into a thin layer once the pulp is sieve. This thin layer is removed by putting a thin plank on it and flop it upside down and it was left to dry under the sun. Then they showed us their handcrafts which are made of recycled papers. All of it looks pretty. Food packaging were made into hats and ‘tudung saji’ (to cover the food), newspapers were rolled and made into nice jewellery boxes or anything beyond your imagination, dried leaves were used as decorations and lots! There is too much to put everything in words! Then we had nice Indonesian cake, lemper. It was so yummy. I can never find that in Malaysia.
After our light snack we headed to SMP Negeri 37 Surabaya. Curtis gave a short presentation on the project he was conducting. The project involved 29 students from grade 7 and grade 8. He also gave us some education on Global warming and carbon dioxide as the major source of greenhouse gas. These students are required to do some research and come out with an activity based on the topic they are assigned to. There are 7 topics (electricity, shopping, leisure, cooking, gardening, washing and cleaning, and transportation). They should do a research on how these activities jeopardize our environment. Dani as usual became our translator so CHEERS to Dani. By then it was after 1 p.m. so had ‘lontong’ together for lunch. Was yummy, I enjoyed the food.
We left the school and took off to the beach where Pasquelle and I will be working. We were shocked to see the amount of rubbish, pollution, and the poverty in the area. The residents nearby do not have any wastewater treatment. Nor the centralized system and individual septic tank. All this wastewater flows to the sea. According to Dani this is a fishing village. Then I wonder again would I want to buy fishes caught from this water? Definitely NO! What are the health problems these people are facing? The pollutants in the river can be absorbed by the fishes from the food the fishes eat. We are actually absorbing the pollutants into our body if we consume the fish.
Later on we left the beach and headed back to Tunas Hijau to jolt down our observations during our trips. I really hope the recovery of the beach which was such an eyesore turns out successful. And lastly will like to thank everybody from Tunas Hijau and the Surabaya’s Mayor for making everything so easy for us. Surabaya Bisa!!!