Saturday, February 25, 2012

The plastic-initiative

The kids with their bunch of plastic flowers.
What is “trash”? What is “plastic”?
For us those questions might seem ridiculous. Everybody knows what “plastic” is. Before I came to Lombok I really did believe that.
Proudly presenting their plastic...
But many people in Lombok have quite a different understanding of “trash” and “plastic”. You wouldn’t find the same things in an Indonesian trash container as you would in a European. For example, everything that is unaesthetic is trash, like leaves and sticks that fell on the ground. Those are things that they neatly pick up and throw in a trash can. But what we think of as “trash” they’ll just throw on the streets, behind the houses and in the rivers. If you tell people to pick up all the plastic in the village, most of them will only pick up plastic bags, like the one you get at a grocery store, because the Indonesian name is ‘tas plastik’ – ‘plastic bag’. Everything else is not plastic because it’s not called plastic.
Of cause those are some extreme cases but unfortunately in Lombok they are not as rare as you would hope them to be.
At the Yayasan Anak Oasis the children learn to distinguish between real trash and things that are harmless for human and nature. They learn about how dangerous plastic can be and how they can positively influence their own surroundings by recycling and simple things like reducing the consumption of plastic –wrapped products and refusing to take plastic bags.
Wisnu, holding the plastic trash of 7 children of only one school day.
This week the kids collected plastic trash around the village, washed it and made plastic-flowers out of the trash. They looked great and I bet we made some moms really happy this week. :)
For the next Week all of the kids have to bring all the plastic trash they produced in school to the Oasis. We collect all of it so that the kids will get an idea of how much plastic trash they produce in only one week and only in school. We hope that they will get a better understanding of how huge the Indonesian trash problem has become.
At the first day they came running right after school and proudly presented to us their collected plastic. So cute!
I feel that we are really making progress with the children and I hope that the parents learn a little, too.


Desak Kadek and

Galir with their bunch of plastic flowers.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A good education is the way to a better future

Hello everybody!

I had a great time with my family. After two weeks of power travelling they flew home yesterday. I enjoyed this time very much but I am also very happy to be back at the Oasis and to my class. The three oldest kids in the Oasis and in my class are Putu, Bunter and Astawa. They are 15 years old and in their last year of SMP. In Indonesia there are 6 years of junior high school(SD) and 3 years of middle school(SMP) and high school(SMA).
Putu is the best student of the school and Bunter and Astawa are also outstanding students. Everyday they come to the Oasis to study and play. They have been at the Oasis for such a long time already that they are almost part of the Oasis team. Putu and Bunter love balinese dancing, they are really good at it and give classes to the smaller kids. Astawa is really good at playing the guitar or drums and enjoys teaching everybody who is interested how to play. They all like to help at the Oasis where ever they can!


 All three of them were part of the first group that joined the Oasis but after one year Astawa had stopped coming to the  Oasis. He had to work to help feed his big family. He was only 10 years old when he started to work on the ricefileds. One year ago, at the age of 14 he finally returned to the Oasis and started living a  somewhat  normal childhood. During all this time he somehow managed to keep up with his studies and is still a good student. They are very smart and ambitious which is a rare thing to find here. Putu wants to become a doctor, Astawa would love to work in the tourism business and Bunter still hasn't decided on what she wants to become yet. But she is really creative and would like to do something with design or teaching.
To achieve these wishes they would have to go to the SMA which shouldn't be a problem since their grades are more than good enough. The only problem is that there are no decent SMA's close to Jagaraga. They would have to go study in Mataram and the transport as well as the study fees are so high, that none of the families can effort to send their kids to a school in Mataram.
People who don't have an SMA education don't stand a chance in getting a real job here. Thats also a reason why there are so many unemployed people here. Their education is just not good enough. People who haven't been to an SMA won't even get a job at a supermarket.
These kids have so much potential and it would be such a pitty if it went to waste. The Oasis feels responsible to help Putu, Bunter and Astawa get a proper aducation but we will need the help of sponsors since the costs are just too high. If anybody is interested in sponsoring one of them or contributing to the costs just a little, we would be very greatfull! Anybody who is interested can contact me at my e-mail address.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Guests in the Oasis

I apologize for not having posted anything recently, but I have been a little distracted. My father and my brother have come to Lombok to visit me and the Oasis. I’ve been giving them a private tour through Lombok. It is unbelievable how much I have experienced in only 5 months here. I never realized before, but now, that I get to tell my family in person everything I know about Lombok, I can’t believe how many stories I have to tell them.
Last Week they also visited the Oasis and convinced themselves personally of what a great place the Yayasan Anak Oasis is. They brought 2 leather soccer balls from Germany. Since the kids just love soccer a new friendship was born and my father and brother immediately felt comfortable. As you can see soccer connects people all over the world.
During the last week we traveled a lot and visited all kinds of places. We visited the capital of Lombok, Mataram, the monkey forest, the Island Gili Trawangan, some waterfalls and we went to the Rinjani, the volcano on Lombok. They are going to stay here for one more week. We’ll probably visit another small Island called Gili Gede and Bali.
I can’t tell you how happy I am that I got to see my family once again after almost half a year. Half a year is a long time if you are staying in Lombok!
They are also overwhelmed by this beautiful place. They, too, have experienced so much in just one week. Now I’ll get back to showing them around the Island. I hope you don’t mind having to wait a little for the next real post.

My Dad and my brother at the beach.

My brother, Ade and the kids were playing soccer all day!

In my english class we went to the rice fields. The kids love to study in the rice fields. Siti, the dog of the Oasis, always follows us where ever we go.
English class in the Berugak.

My brother and me.

We also went shopping in the traditional market in Cakra.

This cheeky monkey stole the entire bag of peanuts while we were feeding the peanuts to them.

We went everywhere by motorcycle and every now and then we had a very nice view along the coast of Lombok.

A refreshing bath under a waterfall. So cold...

Mammoth trees.

The Hindu temple 'Batu Bolong'. It is build on top of a cliff. The view from up there is also very nice.