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One Indonesian’s Environmentalism

Photo: Safira’s Journey
Safira’s father digging a pool for fish as part of his effort to clean up a river that was beautiful in his childhood. “He works with only few people. … He will come early and do some work first before his friends. He wants to motivate his team to work harder.”

I wanted to share a post from a young blogger in Indonesia who wrote not long ago about her father’s work to clean up a river. The blog is Safira’s Journey.

Safira writes that her father is retired from the civil service. He had a high position, she says, but he refused to take bribes.

Since retiring, Safira’s father has “tried lots of things such as making bio oil from wild plants, and farming. He has a mini silk factory at home before. He takes care of the silk caterpillar until the process of painting the batik on the silk with his friend and my mom. Now he is working and active for Rubbish Bank.”

Her dad’s involvement in the Rubbish Bank, a waste and recycling organization, flows from his dream of making the river near their home clean again. The organization sells people’s usable castaways and turns household garbage into fertilizer for organic plants.

The Rubbish Bank sells the fertilizer to farmers and encourages villagers to make their own. Safira’s father and his team made a special tool for turning kitchen scraps into fertilizer, and they provide the tool to interested families. “The people will get the money once in a year,” Safira says. “My dad is very active in it. He helps and works a lot.

“The Rubbish Bank team and the teenagers in my village made a business. It’s a small warung,” a kind of Javanese family-owned business. “It is a place where we can buy rice with a small fish in a package and other snacks, plus [drinks like] ginger tea, hot tea, or ginger milk. They also made fish pond for fishing. People will pay for an hour or two hours to do fishing and if they get the fish, they can bring it home.”

Safira admits that the warung hasn’t always worked as well as hoped. She says that negative people made trouble, suspicious that only her dad would benefit.

“It’s common here, where we want to help or to do some good things. People will think negatively.

“Now the warung is rented to one of our neighbors. It’s better so the renting money can be used by Rubbish Bank. …

“My dad cleans the environment around our village especially for the river. He wants to clean the river as he has a dream to make the river clean and clear like he has seen before when he was a kid. He is also an initiator for water pump by using liquid propane gas. So, the farmer can save the budget about 50% to maintain their farming field. It’s good idea for irrigation.

“The river is getting better now than before. It was very disgusting with lots of rubbish there. People always throw his rubbish to the river. But now, it changes. They send the rubbish to the Rubbish Bank. So, our environment is saved from rubbish. …

“I’m happy if my village is clean and healthy. I’m very proud of my dad who works hard to give example for the people around him. He becomes an advisor for some environment activities. I hope our government will help him someday to spread his goals to make Indonesia green and clean from rubbish.” More here.

Safira’s Journey is a great website, by the way, full of interesting stories about her village and its environs, with lots of pictures.

3 Responses

  1. Lovely story and super photos–I’m excited to look more carefully in slow time.


  2. And wow, her village has a view of Mt. Merapi–a gorgeous volcano!



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