Sunday, February 12, 2023

Neas from Papua came back to Asia Plateu for 9 days to join the UTSAV program. UTSAV in Hindi is a festival or celebration. UTSAV this time is meant to be a celebration of 55 years of Asia Platue, 50 years of Asia Platue auditorium, and a gathering celebration after a pandemic for more than 2 years. Here is his inpiration:

Asia Plateau
For me, Asia plateau MRA training center is one of the homes to return to. After returning, many longed-for memories came back such as singing, playing guitar, drums, story sharing and many other stories. From this place, I learned many things about life, about forgiveness, about accepting myself, and about life's calling. Many people come to this place with different life journeys. Five years ago, I came here for a six-month internship program from August 2017 - February 2018. I first came here on a whim, with my mediocre English, not much money, no skills, and no hope about my life.  When I met many people from different backgrounds and listened to their stories, I learned a lot from their life experiences. Thanks to my classmates, Uncle and Auntie in college, they helped me a lot in my personal and professional growth. Now, I can establish Hano Wene Foundation in Papua.
Inner Listening
Doing inner listening at Asia Plateau was a very different experience. I really miss doing inner listening in Asia Plateau because the atmosphere in Asia Plateau is very calm, away from noise, vehicles, listening to the sound of singing birds, and a clean environment.
While doing inner listening I was reminded by my social activities in Papua. Doing social work without pay is not easy, but I feel called to this work, helping younger people in rural Papua to access education. Many challenges came from family, friends, and other organizations. From all the challenges that made me want to give up, the demands from my family to get married quickly, have children, and get a good job is the hardest. I always went against what my family want, and I'm happy with what I'm doing now. The demands from my family made me uneasy about doing social activities in Papua. I don't know if the organization I lead will be able to get a permanent donor so that my friend in Hano Wene and I can get a pay, but I always have faith and hope that one day we will get a permanent sponsor. Please support my prayers for that.

Sharing story
In my daily life, many things happen, both positive and negative. I often share these experiences with my family and close friends, but not everything I can share because of limited time. This life story in the family group was a good opportunity for me to share the turning points of my life. I can tell them with confidence without any worries. I can't find this kind of opportunity in the neighborhood, in my own family I can't tell about my personal life. I personally appreciate my friends in the other family groups for telling me about their lives, listening to their life stories, I feel empathy and as humans we share a lot of the same problems.
A Safe Space
In IofC India, one of the cultures that I love is creating a safe space for everyone. We can all freely express and share what we are feeling personally and professionally. With this safe space, I was able to talk about the political issues that are happening between the Indonesian government and the people in Papua. We Papuans have many bad experiences with the Indonesian government, until now the government cannot solve the problems in Papua.
Reconnecting with old friends such as Jamphel, Chuskit, Ngosih, Kelvin, shany, Aparna, and others, we have been separated for a long time after the internship and outreach program. In addition, due to COVID-19, we could not go abroad and meet. Utsav 2023 connected us to meet again and tell us about life in our respective countries. We also agreed to support each other in our respective jobs. We hope our friendship does not stop here but can continue forever.  
Getting Re-Energized
Normal life is always busy with a lot of activities, activities and work. I often spend a lot of energy and forget to rest. Utsav gives me a lot of time to think about my life. There are many small and big things that I have done but forgot to appreciate. Inner listening reminds me to appreciate what I have done. When I realize it, it gives me a new spirit. 
Meeting new people
I am very happy, at Utsav I can meet many new people from various countries, backgrounds, organizations and tribes. Most of them have joined the Initiative of Change for a long time, there are only a few of them who have just joined. Each of them has a story of having personal and global change through the initiative of Change. I am one of the lucky young people who can attend and directly interact with them. Listening to their stories inspired me, I felt that I wasn't alone in moving for change in society because there are many people out there who are making changes.

Family Group

There are many things we can share about the turning point of our lives in family group meetings. Most of the team members in the family group were meeting for the first time. They were all very kind, friendly and patient to hear our life stories. Every time we shared a story, Mr. Chandreshwar Khan moved closer to the person who was sharing, as he could not hear well from afar, as he has a slight hearing problem. On the last day of the family group meeting, we created a WhatsApp group, so we could update on our activities and continue sharing.
Stay with IofC Family in Pune and Bombay
After the Utsav activities were over, before I returned to Papua, I visited my friend Navneesh Makkad in Pune, he took me sightseeing in Pune to visit several tourist attractions. He also invited me to eat together at a nice Indian food restaurant. I am very proud to have a friend like him, he was very kind and helped me while visiting several places in Pune. He gave me internet to contact Dwarka to pick me up at the bus station in Mumbai and also dropped me at the bus station to continue my journey from Pune to Mumbai.
The journey from Pune to Mumbai was more than two hours by bus. In Mumbai, I was picked up by Dwaraka at Dadar bus stop, he drove me to Leslie and Mayuree's house. Since the long journey made me very tired, I slept there that night. They gave me a room to rest in. The next day, I woke up early and walked on Juhu Beach. At noon, Leslie drove me to the train station, where I traveled to Mira Road by train to visit Ishart Nawaz's family. I stayed with Ishart and his family for three days, and they took me to visit the beach, a school for street children, and to eat at Indian restaurants. I am very lucky to have a family of friends in India, they helped me a lot during my stay with them and I will always pray the best for them, may God always protect and bless them.

Meeting Christine from Papua-Netherlands and Culture Night
Being away from home, meeting a family in another country after a long time was something I didn't expect. I thank the Utsav team and Uncle Suriesh, who helped connect me with Kristina Wambrauw from Initiative of Change Netherlands. Kaka Kristin is from the Biak tribe of Papua who has been born and raised in the Netherlands, is the third generation of Papuans to become Dutch citizens. Due to political problems in Papua, there are many families from several tribes in Papua who have moved to live in Pacific countries, Australia and Europe. One of them is Kristin Wambrauw's family. Kristina often visits family in Papua as a tourist on a Dutch visa.
During culture night, me, Yofrina (our friend from Indonesia), and Kristina from the Netherlands joined a group, we sang Papuan songs.

Author: Neas Wanembo
Editor: Ari Budi Santoso