A Story From Batu Ajung, West Kalimantan
We named our community: Love Borneo. It’s a group of young people who has grown spontaneously; doesn’t have any chairperson or board of committee, but we have one vision that unites us, that is to share love to people in need. Our three main focuses are prisons, remote regions, and schools.
We thank Yayasan Sahabat Anak Jakarta for partnering with us in opening Rumah Baca (a reading house / a library) in a remote region of West Kalimantan. The goal of this project is to raise awareness from the local society and its children on how important education is. Sahabat Anak has also supported us in sending 80 school bags filled with stationery to the students of one Elementary School in Batu Ajung village, Dayung, Ledo, Bengkayang, West Kalimantan.
The majority of the people there is Dayak Bekatik tribe. They use their mother tongue in their daily activities and Indonesian language in a formal setting of education. There are 7 teachers in that school, including the principal. Each grade has one teacher who teaches all subjects.
To get to the Batu Ajung village is a long trip. From Pontianak (the capital of West Kalimantan) we will need about four hours with a motorcycle or a car to reach Ledo. Then, from Ledo we can reach Batu Ajung either with a motorcycle or a boat through a river. With a motorcycle, it can take up to 30 minutes ride on yellow soils which also hilly and bumpy. If it rains, the access will totally cut. The common access is by boat through the river that will take about 40 minutes. As soon as we arrived there, we will be greeted warmly by the local children. The village has neither electricity nor cellular signal.
Most of the locals work as fishermen, rubber farmers, rice farmers, river miners, or laborers at the nearest palm oil plantation. The formal education available in the village is only elementary schools. The junior and senior high schools can only be reached in Ledo which takes about 40 minutes boat ride. Poverty and the challenging access have made the parents and the children (who have taken the elementary level) don’t take formal education seriously.
The village itself is somewhat dirty and filthy. The river which supposedly becomes the source of clean water for the locals has become muddy as the result of gold mining; therefore the water is not drinkable. The villagers usually use the water from the spring or the rain for their daily needs. Their animals’ faeces can also be found all over the village which make it even dirtier. This condition has also made many of the children there have health issues. There are even children who can wear the same shirts for days.
Being moved by the condition, the Love Borneo team has decided to help the villagers understand on how important to set their eyes on a better live and brighter future. We are committed to go to the village once a month (on the last weekend each month). Our team usually depart from Pontianak at 5 a.m. and continue with a boat at 10:30. During our time in the village, we give free Math and English lessons for students’ grade 3 to 6. For students’ grade 1 to 2, we teach them reading and basic counting. Some of our team members are professional nurses, and they are also willing to give a free health medication to the villagers. We stay overnight at the village and go back to Pontianak the next day because we have to work on Monday.
Batu Ajung village is only one of the many remote locations in West Kalimantan that need serious caring touch for the sake of their future. If we go through the river alongside Batu Ajung, there are still three farther villages with the same or even worse condition.
We thank Sahabat Anak for partnering with us. The children there are very happy. The support given can help them to be more excited to study and go to school. We also send our regards to the whole team of Sahabat Anak in Jakarta. We look forward to your visit here.
Love Borneo Team