Wednesday, September 06, 2006

This Karawang Girl

What a night!

Tonight I haven't feel sleepy yet, I don't know why, I suddenly remember a friend. I met her at karawang, on some HMI's conference. I want to share my experience about her.

It's all started when I have to attend some conference in Karawang. It took about 4 hours of long journey from Bogor to reach the place. The agenda was MUSDA BADKO HMI (HMI regional conference) and it was held for four days. The location is in front of Karawang's public square.

In the third night in karawang, I feel a little sick and tired. So I decided to take a little tour on my own in Karawang. A little risky I think especially because I never been in Karawang before, but I absolutely willing to take some risk. When I was trying to find angkot (public transportation services), I was suprisingly catch by my friend. There's no other way than admitted to him that I was tring to escape fron the conference=). By my surprise, he was trying to escape too. So we decide to go together.

Before we go, we met this girl. She was sat alone in near of us. Her face was quite pretty, but look so distressed. At first I feel uncertain to call on her, but my friend urge me to do. So I introduced myself and my friend to her, thankfully she's responded us well. I can't imagine if I were in her position, maybe I will not so easy to take strangers like that.

Back to the story....finally she was agreed to accompany us as a temporary guide in Karawang. Before we go, we met my other two friends. So, the five of us go to the nearest mall in town. Me and my friend was trying to dig up secrets why she's so depressed. In the beginning she was feel hesistate to tell us about serious things that she keep. But, we convinced her to share the story. And the story spilled over her....

We're so touched by her live story. She was the oldest child in her family, and just graduated from high school. She had two other brother and sister, who both still in the junior and elementary. She lived in Karawang's region, but not in the city. She is work at one of the biggest radio station in Karawang. Her father's work as a foreman in some small factory to cover household expenses (and it was not enough, from her information).

As an oldest child in the family, she has a responsibility to help the family finances. At the radio station, she was paid 3500 rupiah per-hours for broadcasting in three hours a day. From her salary (about sixty thousand rupiah a week) most of it spend on transportation expenses. The journey from her work to home was spend about three hours.

The problem turn up a little complicated when she admitted to us that she told her family that she earn eight hundred thousand rupiah a month for salary. When her family tried to ask some money, she can't gave it. Her family had some serious finance problems that hanging in their house.

It's finally turn's up that she was runaway from her home. She feel sick and tired about all of the problem that happened in her house. Finance problem become the significant issue in her home. Long before, her family was quite wealthy and have a family business. But because some problem they must faced the bankruptcy. Their family was not ready to adapt in new lifestyle, the one that completely different from they used to. Years by years goes by, their family life haven't changed yet. Her father started to plunged into-what we call-dark side of life. He started to drink and leave the religius services. In their home, her father is rule with iron hand. She often had a row with her father, that is one of the reason why she never tell the truth about her salary.

The point that I can take is that her story was not a rare story. If we open our eyes, ear and heart, we'll find out that that also happened in our neighbourhood. As we aware, the poverty rate in Indonesia is still high. We often see people with wages or salary less than one hundred thousand rupiah a month. But, we can also find people who spend their money like water. I never judges the rich people for their lifestyle, it's their right to do that. But it will be a little wiser to thanks to the God for their fortune by give away some. We have to realize that the gap between the rich and the poor in Indonesia is so wide.

I always say "it's better to look down than look up". Everyday and every morning that you wake up, just think about how lucky you are now.

Eny W.A

P.s: Me and my friend is keep in touch with her. We've promised to try the best to help her. Maybe we can't help her straightaway because we have obstacles (we're still in college), but we'll try the best.