The Diary of an Internee – Karawang

On the third week of October, ADRA team along with Lianne went to Karawang to show her the BAMBOO 2 project there, a project that focuses on five villages in that region. The goal is to improve the livelihood of these villages.

The inhabitants are dependent on the income of the rice plantations, salt fields and fishing. Just after harvesting they are rich, but the money goes through quickly and then they have nothing left. Furthermore, the area is struggling with floods in the rainy season, it is important that people learn how to manage money, learn to save and generate a second income.

In addition, ADRA would like to work in each village which is associated with the flooding, when the water is 1.5 – 3 meters high. Every year people move their animals and belongings to a safe place. They are not accustomed and ADRA will provide training over here and think together with the villagers about other options. One example is to install an ‘Early Warning System’ so that villagers are warned in time. This can be easily plugged into the public address systems for the example is mosque.

The team and Lianne visited one of the five villages every day to the village meetings, and Lianne has given the leadership training for women. The residents find it interesting that someone comes all the way from the Netherlands to give them training.

Lianne stayed at Cikuntul village because commuting to the city is too far. It is a beautiful house surrounded by rice fields and fish ponds. She have her own room with a bed, desk and clothes rack and she shares the house with three ADRA colleagues.Lianne have been staying there for about a month. She went to four villages to provide training for the women about entrepreneurship. It is common that the men are at work and the women take care of the children and the house. Families where the mothers have an income, are of course economically much stronger. Lianne’s goal was to show them how strong they can be as a team and that together they can achieve a lot. She asked them to identify their strengths, what they are good at. At first it was a bit quiet but later, they were a little more loose, and some said they were good in negotiating or selling products.

She explained that they can learn from each other and that they have a lot of knowledge together. They found it nice and they also found it very convenient that they now knew what the other was good at. After some explanation on cooperatives and entrepreneurship was time for a brainstorm! Lianne hung paper on the wall and asked them to write down as many ideas for a product or company. It might be as crazy as possible, it did not have to be realistic, and that it was just to look at new and surprising ideas.Then they were asked to exchange their papers and they read the ideas of each other. Lianne had not thought that in village, not everyone could read or write, so ADRA helped the villagers to write and Lianne suggested that they sign their ideas. There was much laughter and in the end 10 paper full of ideas were hanging.

Lianne also went back to Muara Baru for training on administration and accounting. As soon as the money comes in the families give it up on everything and sometimes they can not even pay their expenses. The training went very well and the ladies were amazed to see how much they spend every day with snacks and cigarettes without even realizing. The coming month they all will track their own checkbook to see where they spend the money on. At the end of the month, ADRA will be mailing the results to Lianne. She is very curious! She also went to Muaru, at the request of the ladies training on team building on the program. They did some exercises together and then Lianne explained to link trust, communication, roles, meetings and feedback. This will be used for other villages as well.

Lianne was also surprised with a garden full of students who wanted to practice English and had prepared all sorts of questions, but were too nervous to ask. They had never seen a foreigner. They really liked it, as this was the first time they could practice their English with a foreigner.Lianne decided another afternoon to visit their school so they could get some more practice. It is a big school with over 1000 students. At the end of the day Lianne received a fruit basket from the students, which she found very sweet! One boy who dared to ask lots of questions came even at midday and brought her mangoes because she had said that they are much better than in the Netherlands.

Last week there was a conference held in Jakarta from ADRA International about flooding and risk management. Where on Monday and Tuesday a simulation in Karawang was planned. Various parties (eg fire department, relief organizations, police, NGOs) are involved in this support and Lianne was there too. On Thursday she came to Jakarta’s office to have an evaluation and goodbye party, and just last Saturday she flied back to the Netherlands.We are glad to have Lianne as an intern here. We shared a lot of experience and wish her the best for her future and hope to meet her again in some other opportunities.

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