If you like to climb a mountain, maybe Mount Merapi will be one of destination that you want to visit in Yogyakarta. I was not climbing the mountain but I lived for about 2 months there. There was a volunteering month from university at Merapi Villages. Merapi was chosen because it’s exploded in 2010 and it had lots of victims. It was in the Christmas time December to January. It was so sad for many friends of mine as they were usually celebrating Christmas with their families in their hometown. At this time, we would celebrate Christmas with new family and new place.
We got a place to stay. The owners are very nice and kind. We feel like we have parents there. The wife is always kind in preparing food for us. Even she would make morning snacks and tea for us. Ouh my God! She’s too kind…!!!!! We’re very lucky as other groups had to go buying vegetables in the early morning and cooking before doing activities. But we could only wake up a bit late and focus to all our activities.
We had so many programs in volunteering month. The main program from university is about using the feces from Cows and Goats. Many people have cows and goats in their houses. Some of them have lost the animal because of the explosion. We made fertilizer from the feces for organic plants. Lucky that we have biology students in our team. They became leaders for the fertilization program.
Then, we had renovating and repainting the pre-school class. As it was uncomfortable for the kids to study there. The kids from some villages are studying in the school. We had our team leader who lead this program.
I became a leader for housewife program. I decided to teach the housewives to use material that they’re already had in the village such as Jack fruit, Bamboo, and taro. In this program, I felt lucky that I could invite my elementary school friends. I invited two of them, one for making handcraft from bamboo and the other one for teaching how to cook jack fruit and taro that the housewives could make and sell them.
Other programs such as making and living a new library by getting new books from some donators, giving socialization for teenagers in the village about skills so they can have choices what to do in the future. Many teenagers in the area haven’t had good future. There were only few of them who realized about their future. Teaching and learning with kids, and also playing ball.
We were 10 and we were from different major, 2 from Biology, 3 from Math, 1 from English Literature, 4 from English Education including me. We really enjoy our time there in doing our programs. We had to earn money by ourselves also because our uni only provided us with US$ 300 or about Rp. 3.000.000. We learned how to live with different people, respecting each other, uniting different ideas and also solving problem together.
I got bad headache in the 3 weeks before we finished the volunteering month. When all of my friends went to work on our program, there were two little girls who stayed in the place and taking care of me. We always had friends from different team visited our place and some new little friends in the village also. We did singing together, playing traditional games together and telling stories.
At the end of the volunteering month, we visited each houses of the people who helped us a lot during our stay. We also made a farewell party with the teenagers by singing together and grilling fish, corns and eating some snacks. It was unforgettable moment and I will never forget the experience staying in Mount Merapi with friendly local people. Even you could feel the volcanic earthquake sometimes when you were sleeping. Ha Ha Ha