About the program
A week ago, I joined 2 weeks voluntary program of US-INA kerja sama by USAID and The Floating School Makassar. This is a collaborative work between alumni of University Puget Sounds and Young South East Asia Leaders (YSEALI) to bring our knowledge to the people on the islands a.k.a teaching.
First of all, we did briefing and teamwork activities in Makassar before heading to the island, learned more about The Floating School, storytelling through video, cross-cultural communication, and theatre for social change by Ryan Sutherland for two days.
Pangkep (kepulauan Pangkajene) is one of the disadvantaged regions in South Sulawesi, it is in the north of Makassar. It has 117 islands and occupied by about 300.000 people. In the islands, there is a problem where some of the kids do not go to school because limited infrastructure and facilities. Currently, The Floating School (TFS) as our host has approached 5 islands with the total of 170 students listed. TFS brings some books and stationary supplies to the islands. In addition, TFS also brought 76 volunteers to teach the kids on the islands with their own capacity and specialities.
There are two islands that we would take care of, pulau Satando and pulau Saugi. (pulau = islands). Pulau Satando has a bigger area than Saugi, respectively occupied by approximately 500 and 300 people. Both islands are near from the mainland. We took a boat for around 15 minutes.
The main transportation used in both island is boat since most of the people work as fishermen. Everyday seafood. Yumm…
It is a beautiful small island with a wide sandbar around it. The people of Saugi were well-welcomed and happy to greet us. For 9 days, we had to stay on the island, lived with the locals. I stayed at the head of the village’s house. Surprisingly we ate a lot of seafood that so expensive if we bought it on Java island.
fyi. our spoiled food was fed to the ducks.
None of us knew the situation on the island and the character of people. Some of us got frustrated that we have no planning through this project. My team split into 2 groups which are youth teen and kids in the morning activity. They were so ambitious leaning through our program in English, IT, Arts, and Sustainability subject.
We also encouraged the parents to actively do the dance and art workshop.
Culture and behavior make people different, thus it makes our project more challenging. Language barrier becomes a major challenge in the project. The local dialect sometimes hard to be interpreted by the Indonesian participant. Moreover, the misunderstanding happened when Indonesian and US participant had a conversation. We figure out that we need to be more open and have the courage to clarify for both participants.
Other things that we didn’t expect occurred in the field are: time flexibility of the participant and also the students, the character of some groups, formal education that doesn’t suit well in the field, and last but not least, the student confidence at the beginning.
All in all, we are very excited to be in Pangkep. Make new friends. Make more impact. Ultimately, bring the lesson back home.
Special Thanks: Kak Rahmat dan Kak Nunu + other volunteers + people of Saugi
This video presented for the Saugi people.