When you live far away from your home country and heard the news that one of the islands from where you came from has been struck with a natural disaster, it is heartbreaking. The distance from where you are currently living to Indonesia has suddenly stretched twice as far, and a sense of loss pours over any Indonesians who are living abroad. However, with sadness comes a call for unity of the people who share the same culture and land that you were born in.
The death toll of the Lombok earthquake in August is over 600 people and estimated 400,00 people are displaced out of their homes (Massola & Rosa, 2018). Recently, the Central Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami at the end of September caused more than the death of 1000 people, more than 5000 people missing and leaving more than 60,000 people displaced (Kahfi, 2018, Jakarta Post).
With the cumulation of devastations occurring in Indonesia, I collaborated with the Australian Indonesia Youth Association NSW Chapter to unite both Australians and Indonesians, young and old, in a day of Indonesian cultural exchange as a fundraising initiative for the people of Lombok and Palu. All proceeds will go to the Agung Siaga Community, a volunteer logistic and information hub, based in Bali, founded to aid the displaced evacuees of the volcanic activity of Mt Agung. They are now aiding towards the survivors of the Lombok and Central Sulawesi disasters, through the delivery of food, medical supplies, water filters, blankets and solar panels.
Held on Saturday, 6th of October 2018, at Holy Trinity Community Hall, Dulwich Hill Sydney, the day consisted of wonderful performances from Sydney’s Suara Indonesia Dance, with their take on traditional Balinese and Aceh dance and Sydney Conservatorium’s Sekaa Tirta Gond Balinese Gamelan Group with their exquisite Rindik performance. These performances were accompanied with delicious home-cooked Indonesian cuisine of Beef Rendang, Telor Balado, Stir Fry Green beans with tofu and stir-fry vegetarian noodles, together with the typical Indonesian drink of Teh Botol. For those who were still hungry, Indonesian snacks and desserts were sold on the day where all proceeds will be donated specifically to Palu.
|Gary and Oscar from Sekaa Tirta Gong Balinese Gamelan Group playing the Rindik
|Suara Indonesia Dance Kids performed a traditional Balinese Dance
|Suara Indonesia Dance Adults Class performed a traditional Aceh dance and live music
We kept our guests well informed on the current situation at the disaster struck areas at North Lombok and Central Sulawesi, with a detailed presentation from Pak Novan Ivanhoe, Konsul Protkons from KJRI, and a presentation on the wonderful works of Agung Siaga Community at Lombok and Palu followed on.
|Pak Novan Ivanhoe from KJRI presented the impact of the disasters at Lombok and Palu
|Vania Djunaidi from AIYA National presented the works of Agung Siaga Community
After a month of endless coordination, emails, meetings, calls, Whatsapp messages and stress, the day was a huge success and an enjoyable event for those are keen to learn about Indonesian culture and those who truly miss home.
Over 90 people came along on the day, and $3066.32 was raised. After announcing the good news to one of the field volunteers of Agung Siaga, the possibility of installing a new water infrastructure at a village in Lombok will be made to reality.
|Delicious Indonesian Lunch and Snacks on the day.
|Over 90 guests came along on the day!
Words cannot describe how grateful and thankful I am for the generosity, kindness and care of the people that came along to support our neighbour who are in absolute need of our help right at this moment. The power of unity, culture and community is something that we should continually embrace.
If you would like to support the Agung Siaga Community and see what they are currently doing at Lombok, please like their Facebook page: Agung Siaga Community or pop into their website: https://agungsiaga.org/
Make sure you check out Suara Indonesia Dance and Sekaa Gong Tirta Gamelan Balinese Group! Like their Facebook page to see their upcoming events and be continued to be cultured with the diversity of Indonesia.
Massola, J 2018, ‘” I just want to get my baby to a proper home”: Lombok reels from quake’, Sydney Morning Herald, 20 September, viewed 9 October 2018, https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/i-just-want-to-get-my-baby-to-a-proper-home-lombok-reels-from-quake-20180919-p504to.html
Kahfi, K 2018, ‘ C. Sulawesi quake survivors begin returning to homes’, The Jakarta Post, 8 October, viewed 9 October 2018, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/10/08/c-sulawesi-quake-survivors-begin-returning-to-homes.html#