Let me introduce myself: I am Julita Mekaria, from Jakarta, and joined EBPP on 31st Januari 2011 as Secretary to David Booth MBE, Founder of EBPP, with key roles to support David, EBPP Board & EBPP team.
Working in NGO is truly my passion with previous experience in Development, Public health and Human Rights, many with international NGO’s.. I decided to join EBPP because: first I had a calling to get involved work for humanity and helped in any ways based on my education, skills and experiences and EBPP focuss is to alleviate poverty through Education, Gezondheid, Voeding, Milieu, Agriculture and Technology for underprivileged and disadvantaged children and communities in Desa Ban, Karangasem, Bali. Why I chose Bali because at the beginning as I did not believe some parts in Bali especially East Bali still living in poverty because it famous tourism destination buildings, shops and beaches everywhere but apparently there is another side of Bali, a remote area high in the mountains of Bali between Mount Agung and Mount Abang has been untouched by civilization and living in poverty. Before the project started in 1999 thousand of families live without water, sanering, nutrition, onderwijs, electricity and road access.
I was so very happy when I had the opportunity to visit East Bali Poverty Project in Ban Village, Karangasem twice: first on Thursday, 3rd Maart 2011 with David Booth, Founder and on secondly on Friday, 11th Maart 2011 with David and Mr. Holger Schillig, a humble German man who gave some donations to EBPP.
FIRST TRIP, 3rd Maart 2011
The Agenda: visit EBPP Daya office, Cegi Gallery and Pengalusan School
We left Denpasar at 6 am sharp by four wheel drive, even though I was sleepy, but I am very glad to visit the Ban village, because that is the thing that I look forward to. We drove towards Mount Agung and Mount Abang and we passed rice fields, local market, temples and Lake Batur during the trip. David briefed me on EBPP history and developments since 1998 to date. Finally we arrived after a two hours ride. On arrival at the EBPP Daya office, we were greeted by local staff. David showed me rainwater reservoir & the EBPP Bamboo Training and Learning Centre. It is the place where community able to learn about bamboo planting and reforestation and Solar Power electricity, which it is very important and beneficial to support any activities and explained to me about bamboo reforestation and planting vetiver grass (Chrysopogen/ Vetiveria Zizanioides) to control erosion throughout the area.
Op die dag, there was the “Vision Assessments and Adjustable Glasses” last training day, held by Global Vision 2020, an Organization based in Canada and led by David Campbell with his team of4 people, that work to bring corrective eyeglasses in the developing world, using self-adjustable eyeglasses that allow users to correct their own vision by providing glasses and training.
Then, in the Bamboo Training & Learning Centre, we met Kejar Paket C (Senior High School) students of Cegi, Pengalusan, Manikaji & Jatituhu EBPP Schools, assembled to hear David’s presentation of his recent holiday in Houston, USA.. David presented photos of his holiday to meet his brother & family in Houston USA & introduced the new educational books (all with accompanying CD’s donated by his brother, Anthony Stuart Booth) on how to represent “Trees and Leaves” in artwork, Guitar study books with CD and “How to Draw Anything”. Daarnaast, David also presented a very helpful learner’s “Recorder Study Book”, donated by Ms. Debra Royle from Australia to assist EBPP’s Art and Music Programmes. Inderdaad, they will be very useful for EBPP children to enhance their knowledge and skills.
We continued our way to Cegi gallery, a brand new bamboo art gallery/studio for Cegi & other EBPP schools cooperative, sponsored by Mr Don Ferrin & colleagues from Singapore Management University (SMU). Already hanging on the not completed walls and displayed around the newly tiled floors were EBPP students’ painting of various objects such as temples, animals, landscapes, village scenes, mountains and so on.
The next stop is Pengalusan School, located approximately 300 metres beyond EBPP’s Cegi Gallery & School. We watched primary school children learning how to play recorder instrument, taught by Mr Bambang Handoko, (we call him by his nickname, Bang), one of EBPP’s volunteer music teachers. In my opinion he is a patient guy to teach those kinds of instruments to children who never knew what a recorder is and David challenged them to play and they spontaneously presented “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, a famous children’s Christmas song. To my surprise they played beautifully with no mistakes at all!
SECOND TRIP, 11th Maart 2011
The Agenda: Visit EBPP Ban office, Manikaji and Jatituhu schools with a potential new donor
Same as my first trip, David and I headed to Ban village at 6 am in the morning, but now not only two of us but we had another companion, namely Mr. Holger Schillig from Germany, who, 2 days earlier visited EBPP office in Denpasar. with his Indonesian wife Mrs. Pangestoeti Schillig. We picked up Mr. Schillig in Ubud, and he came well prepared with coat, mountain boots and food for lunch. David exp[lained that we would go to Manikaji and Jatituhu hamlets up very steep dirt tracks! Wow I can’t hardly wait to arrive there, as I’ve never done off road trip before. Eindelijk, we arrived at 8.30 am at EBPP Ban office, take a rest for a while to drink coffee and tea. Komang Kurniawan, who is the Team Leader for all EBPP field programmes & EBPP Yayasan Chairman, gave detailed information to Mr. Schillig, touring around EBPP Ban office and David showed us vetiver nursery and worm farming beside the office.
After a short briefing in Ban office, David, De heer. Schillig, Komang and I headed off to Manikaji to see the school and drop in on some of the lessons. It is made up the steep slopes of the side of the Abang volcano, bouncing around in the back of the car on the dirt track, truly it was challenging journey for us.
De heer. Schillig was impressed with their persistence and passion for learning. They struggled to get an education so they can live better in the future and will be able to develop their own village. Oh yes, before we left, three EBPP children’s namely Nengah Gata, Nengah Mudita and Nyoman Wenten, who had just received Karate Black Belt after taking the 1st Dan National Zone III Exam in Bogor, on 1st Maart 2011, gave us a stunning Karate performance! YES! they made it. Like a wise man says “No Pain, No Gain”. Two thumbs up for you guys and congratulations!!
After leaving Manikaji, we headed straight to Jatituhu. Going there is like going to Manikaji: steep dirt track!!! And I don’t know why I still have more energy, maybe, well it’s only my personal opinion, because I saw such genuine people in Ban village working hand in hand, breathing fresh air and everything back to nature. I think not only I feel like that, but also Mr. Schillig! He was always enthusiastic made interaction with Jatituhu students and introduced himself from one class to another class.
I was amazed at the great progress in all EBPP programmes since 1999 until now, empowering future generations for sustainable social and economic development. Finally it is time to go back. I was certainly happy and it is one of my most unforgettable moments in my life and I am fortunate for this opportunity to work with EBPP and it has inspired me that everything is possible. Although recently Desa Ban in East Bali have improved facilities in education, gezondheid, agriculture, infrastructure and nutrition, I proud with David Booth MBE and would like extend my sincere gratitude to him and EBPP team for their kind priceless effort. The last but not least “The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose”.