bi-weekly round up, Dec '05
Instead of preparing office bi-weekly report, I decide to write my blog bi-weekly round up.
House hand over ceremony (Peurade, Pidie, Dec 21)
The event went well, with Bupati Pidie (District Head), Head of Bappeda (Regional Development Board), and Regional Army/Police Chief was there. Our team and partner also complete, including the representative from Embassy Donor.
Five house ready, compare to 25 ~ 50 we planned. Many houses have reached final stage of construction: have roof, wall partially smooth cement, and rough floor. I believe all houses, 200, in that area will finish by mid Jan ‘06.
The event is a proof that we have progressed significantly in shelter program. Hopefully, donors will provide more fund for program expansion.
Currently, around 1,150 houses in construction, majorities are new house and some are rehabilitation of damage house. In village Rawa Gampong and Peukan Baro (near Sigli city), 200 houses has advanced rapidly. I’m confidence by mid Feb ’06 all 200 will finish. At the same time, other 750 houses have begun construct across Pidie region.
In the afternoon, Mas Wawan (our partner area manager) invited us for free drink to celebrate the good day. Personally, I feel happy, like a little kid, and wanna hop around such a craziest fox.
Now, many people use English term/acronym in daily communication. In the past time, people use Indonesia term/acronym for the same object. Even in Indonesian they may not know what the object they talk, but at least they familiar with the term.
Worse, now people use English term even without knowing what the meaning of the word. They just say it because other says the term. Example of the words: NGO (non-government organization), UN (United Nations), Red Cross, livelihood, shelter, and mangrove.
From quick check and few discussions, I find out people mostly does not understand that NGO is what in Indonesian call LSM (Lembaga Swadaya Masyarakat, Community Development Institution). Many think that UN and its agent that does not have ‘UN’ letter in its acronym (ILO, WHO, FAO, WFP) are the same as usual NGO. As in the case NGO term, commoners do not know that UN is what we call PBB (Persatuan Bangsa-bangsa).
Red Cross is easier to identify, because all Red Cross around the world, including Palang Merah Indonesia, has the same logo and everybody familiar with it.
Rather than saying “pemberdayaan ekonomi rakyat” (people economic empowerment, which is famous term for politician and govt official in Indonesia), now they say “program livelihood”.
I’m not sure whether it is better to translate the term into Indonesian, so people understand better what they say. Or let them use the English term, without knowing what it is, following the way our discussion among donors/NGO which usually use English.
Anyway, what matters for the people is how much actually we have provided for their need; food, house, capital to start up small business, various small infrastructure/public building, etc.
Dances; creative or fake art?
In Sunday (Dec 25), my friends and I visited a traditional dance group at a Junior High School Wanna Great, Lubuk Gapuy, in Greater Aceh area. The kids, all girl and nice too, show us four dances, Seumerah (washing), Likok Pulo (move of Pulo), Panyot (lamp), and a medley of the three dances. Two of the dances, Seumeurah and Panyot, suppose to be creative dances. While Likok Pulo is a traditional dances from Pulo (island, which is located at coastal around Banda Aceh).
After the visit, we begin discussing what traditional dances or creative dances are. One of my friend state that the essence of Acehnese dance is a complex combination of dynamic varieties move, sound of music from instrument and vocal, and collectiveness. Then she criticized the dances of Seumeurah and Panyot for not having the dynamic varieties move, thus fail to be a real Acehnese dances. She continue explaining that the two dances is similar to many Malay dances, where no vocal sound and consist of simple step forward/ back/ left/ right/ up/ down.
Another friend, who is dancer, also criticizes that combining several dances into one dance is not new creation. In fact, it makes the dances loosing its original value. He suggests that the combination is based on popular and commercial demand which disrespect art of dance. Minimizing movement in dances also show lack of creativity, disgracing any dances claiming to be Acehnese one.
One thing we agree: the chair of the dance group is civil servant who actually lack of creativity. But his position in cultural office makes him an art creator, especially the one with govt sponsor.
A year after commemoration
Dec 26, as many other people in Aceh, I attended one year commemorated of tsunami. I was in Grand Mosque of Baiturrahman, Banda Aceh. People come to say pray together, for them who die or lost in the tsunami, and for a better future (especially with peace is in Aceh now).
Then, I moved to a “Siang Malam” coffee shop near the mosque. Siang Malam famous for mie kocok (noodle soup) and es campur (ice drink). You know, I always in hungry state. In addition, the place also reminds me of my past.
By noon, my friend wanted to go to Ulee Lheu area, which is called as “the ground zero” of tsunami. The president, SBY, was attended the commemoration there. Ironically, some of the people who live in the camp for almost a year have to demolish their home. This is to allow the President to have a good view in that area. Well, whoever the president, authoritarian or democratically elected, she/he just human who does not like seeing misery but she/he happy to trampled people to covers it.
As another tourist who still not bored for misery sight seeing, we check out the house and port construction in that area. One of the board state the spirit of the people: “lebih baik disini, kampung kita sendiri” (yes the word is similar to popular rock song Rumah Kita). I just hope that more NGO will let the people build the donation house by them self; known as public participatory approach development.
Btw, déjà vu, my mother in 20 Dec 2004 was in Jakarta, visiting me. That was how she escaped tsunami. And recently, Dec 18, my mother flied to Jakarta again.
Post conflict program – assessment
As soon after tsunami, I attended several donors meeting: USAID, international NGO coordination, World Bank, and ADB. One thing that I repeat consistently: without peace, tsunami recovery program only solve partial Aceh backwardness problem. Cause Aceh backwardness problem, such as poverty, low education quality, slow economic growth/industrialization, largely conflicts related. During the conflicts, Aceh was totally in isolation. In fact delay in international emergency assistance for Aceh happen because of the “Martial Law” and years of isolation (see special section Human Rights Watch on Aceh.
As soon as peace process begins, with strong support from international community, I believe that it is time for me to come back to Aceh. And there the peace agreement signed in August 15, 2005. It bringing more hopes that ever, far beyond the hope during earlier peace dialog (Cessation Of Hostility Agreement, Jan 2000- Mar 2003).
After I join UNDP ERTR, again I stress the important of post-conflict program in addition to tsunami recovery program. I said internally, international NGO coordination meeting, seminars, and also every meeting with local government/NGO.
When our boss from Jakarta says she will send mission to conduct assessment to prepare post conflict livelihood program, I’m happy again, like a little kids, craziest as a fox (you see, I rarely feel happy, so this is a good sign).
During Dec 28-29, we conducted assessment for the post conflict livelihood program. Hopefully, the proposal will ready soon and in two or three months we ready for the program. Well, good news at the end of the year.
So… happy new year! Hopefully, next year will be more productive, in work and blogging ;-)