Staring at rocks

I have been staring at rocks for about 14 minutes. I had no idea rocks could be so incredible. Seriously, just a pile of rocks, amazing.

Of course there is a lot more to these little rocks than meets the eye. These rocks, along with a bamboo enclosure, a freshly dug trench, a concrete filtering pond and garnished with some reeds are the product of a mornings work for the plucky young things from Ceres Global.

The manager of the Organic Farm here at the YUM village in Cipanas. West Java is a gentle soul. Quiet, hard working and 100% involved, committed and in love with his work, Oleh is an inspiration. So today it was an absolute pleasure to be able to help him out with what we saw as a simple mornings work, but what was to him, another timely and costly job in the long list he is constantly trying to get through.

The water filter system is something that Oleh has been planning for a while. The water that was used to irrigate the crops came from the drains which run down the road outside the farms boundaries. Filled with silt, rubbish and pollution it was vital that some sort of filtering system was installed to clean the water, preferably in a natural, environmentally friendly way. No electricity, no pumps and no cabling necessary just a few rocks and bamboo along with 6 pairs of extra hands and a whole lot of enthusiasm ensured the job got done in 4 hours.

It’s just another day here for us at the YUM village in Cipanas. It’s funny, many people would look at a country like Indonesia that we would be able to teach them and “help” them with all of our modern knowledge and technology. Although I think I can safely say on behalf of the group we have learnt more about ourselves and this beautiful part of the world from the fantastic staff and kids at YUM than they could ever learn from us. This trip has definitely been a cultural exchange, with us teaching them Australian songs and dances (pretty sure we were having more fun doing the hokey pokey than they were) and them blowing us away at bonfire night with traditional songs as well as poetry readings from Sopiah and a performance by Kampungs local boyband, pretty sure they’ll be in the top 10 singles chart by August, seriously, watch out for them.

It has also been an opportunity for us to not only lend extra hands but to help contribute ideas about how projects could be run more efficiently, brainstorming new ideas and potential solutions as well as taking ideas back to Australia to work on and implement in our own lives and communities.

Technically I didn’t help physically build the water filter system, even though I’m fairly confident I played a vital role in the project by taking photos, verbal encouragement and hydrating Devin (don’t ask), the pride that I felt after the dam was unblocked and the water came rushing aka trickling (just trying to add a bit of drama here people) down through the system was incredible. To think that we can actually make a difference, that something that we see as so easy and simple can make such a huge difference is the kind of thought process and feeling I wish every person could experience. The look on Oleh’s face is something that I won’t forget and long after we’ve left YUM that little cluster of rocks will still be there, being incredible and doing something amazing.

Written by Lydia Fisher July 2012

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About Ceres Global

CERES Global is a project aiming to engage with the issue of global inequities and the well‐being of all people on the planet and the environments in which they live. It has a special focus on working with remote village communities. CERES Global aims to engage Australian people with the issues of developing countries whilst enjoying the richness of their cultures and the wisdoms they can add to our understanding of sustainable wellbeing. The focus is on establishing ongoing relationships and links between remote communities and our part of the world.
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