All roads lead to… Batam

Hello, friends and family! It’s been like what – MONTHS, since my last post so I don’t know what to put on this one.

To start it off, I wanna let yous know that I left Siberia already! It was actually two months ago. Remember my mate J? We both left on July 16 right after we finished the second season of summer camp. We boarded the Trans-Siberian Railway in Krasnoyarsk in early morning and disembarked in Irkutsk the next day. The journey took around 22 hours and that was one of the greatest experiences of my life! Just so you know, Irkutsk is the city where Lake Baikal, world’s deepest and oldest lake, is situated but sadly we didn’t get the chance to appreciate the beauty of Siberia’s most astounding wonder as we had to catch our flight to Bangkok in three hours. Nevertheless, I got to see Siberian dachas and taigas along the way!

We landed safely at Suvarnabhumi 7 hours later. By the time I walked off the plane, I could breathe my first humid Southeast Asian air in nine months! The journey didn’t end there yet, as I had another flight to Jakarta via Don Mueang so I took the free shuttle bus available at Suvarnabhumi right away and said my farewell to J. I’m glad I could see some of yous in Jakarta, although I know it was only a short 48-hour visit but still 🙂

I’m back in Batam! I’ve actually been here for about five weeks now and I’m liking it so far. I mean I’m only footsteps away from the wide ocean. Speaking of which, Saturday we waded through South China Sea. One of the major reasons why I returned to Batam was to start an NGO based in Riau Islands Province and then Pemuda KREATIF was born! The word ‘kreatif’ is an Indonesian word for, you guessed it, creative, but not only that, it’s also short for Kepulauan Riau Ekskursi Aktif (Active Excursion of Riau Islands). The NGO focuses on youth development and empowerment on the outermost and under-priviledged islands in Riau Islands Province.

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Sailing through the isles of Riau Islands Province

Our pilot project was held on Sembur Island, situated 68 km south of Batam. It was a quite challenging journey getting to the island as we travelled overland for two hours, crossing 7 islands through 6 Barelang Bridges and sailed for about an hour by small boat carrying dozen of sacks of icicles! Yes, they even import icicles from Batam every three days. We arrived on the island at roughly 10 o’clock forenoon.

The programme began 30 minutes after our arrival and was divided into 4 sessions, namely Workshop Kreatif (creative workshop), Seni Kreatif (creative art), Berpikir Kreatif (creative thinking), and Kompak Kreatif (creative games), each lasting 30 minutes plus a 20 minute lunch break in between. It was industriously fun and exhilarating! The pupils were very keen on the activities delivered by the volunteers.

At around 2 o’clock the programme ended and we planted a mango tree that we brought from the city to show our love for the environment. The tree is called ‘pohon kreativitas’ or simply means tree of creativity. Then we went sightseeing, tried local food from various street vendors, and spent some time playing at nearby white sandy beach to kill time waiting for our return boat departing at 6. There’s nothing better than watching a sunset over the ocean!

I really love working with the volunteers who share the same passion and goals and care for the less fortunate. I’m fully committed to serving these people and helping them live better lives. An effort made for the happiness of others, no matter how small, lifts us above ourselves. It gives our lives a purpose and makes this world a better place. I hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Love, Deny

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