Asia West Pacific – April 2019

AVP and I in West Papua

By Dorthea Rumere, translated by Nanik.

Thea at the 2019 Creating Cultures of Peace International Training in Pati, Central Java, Indonesia

Hello, my name is Dorthea Rumere, but I’m called Thea. Rory introduced me to Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) at the end of 2017. She was my colleague at the Institute for Assessment and Strengthening Papua’s Capacity. Rory said the material provided was very practical, not just a theory but rather a way to empower yourself, learn and practice. It’s also suitable for Papua and the Church community, so I was very curious.

We were working for the Prevention of gender-based violence through USAID BERSAMA in our villages, Yoboi and Kehiran 1, in Sentani District. Kehiran 1 Village is located on the mainland, whereas Yoboi Village is located on Lake Sentani. All the buildings, such as houses, schools, churches, village offices, libraries and volleyball courts, are encircled like a stage surrounded by a natural sago forest. This program of discussions focused on women, men and youth has run for more than one year, since August 2017.

In November 2017, Rory informed me that we would take part in a training at Peace Place in Pati, January 2018. I had no idea what it would be like and never imagined I’d participate two years in a row! When the time came to depart on January 10, I was very excited, even though I was recovering from a cyst surgery on December 1, 2017. We boarded a Garuda flight for five hours to Soekarno Hatta Airport in Jakarta, where we waited a few hours to fly to Semarang.

Scripture Study of Building a Culture of Peace in the Church, March 2018, Photo by Rory

Arriving at Ahmad Yani Airport in Semarang, we were picked up by two friends. They greeted and introduced themselves kindly. We waited for a while for more participants. I saw a man with a backpack pacing back and forth while watching his surroundings. I greeted him and asked, “Are you going to the training at Peace Place?” Apparently, he was! His name was Matthew from Australia. We sat down and told stories while eating meatballs and noodles.

Shortly thereafter, I met three other participants–Joan, Marisol and Jungjoo. (I call her “Chong Ju” to remember more easily.) Moments later Rosie came from New Zealand, complete. Matthew and the three Koreans boarded one car. Rory, Rosie and I boarded the other car. We left the airport for Peace Place.

We entered the city of Pati at night. Apparently, I had fallen asleep. The car turned on the road with the bridge and shortly afterwards turned into the front yard of Peace Place. Because I was sitting in the front, I saw people sitting in the front yard enjoying fruit while talking. Apparently, they had just had dinner.

Thea joined other participants at a Roundtable Conference on Interfaith peace in Pati, Central Java

This was my first impression, an unforgettable experience. A woman stood up and immediately greeted me. She called me by name and hugged me. It was Nadine. From her greeting, I felt as if we had met before or even knew each other already. This is truly amazing!!! That was the first lesson from Nadine for me. After enjoying dinner and hearing some directions from the training team, we were escorted to Bintang Kecil Kindergarten to rest.

My second experience was when Wiwid, Bungu and some great friends at Bintang Kecil Kindergarten helped and cared for me. They prepared hot water to take a shower every morning and night. I always remember it to this day and really feel grateful. They inspired me to also continue to do goodness to others during my life. In this first training, I learned a lot from the behavior shown by everyone, and it was very fun.

I got the opportunity to attend the training again in January 2019. Thank you very much. My health condition was much better. After a pleasant, long journey, Semarang Ahmad Yani Airport was much bigger. We still waited for one more participant from Australia, a woman named Paula. Paula shared Permaculture in this training. Awesome!!

I have now attended this AVP training twice. However, the experience I got was very different each time. In the first training, I got many valuable stories from everyone’s experience. In the second training, there were people who were the same, but there were also new people and they all came with new experiences which all enriched me. There is so much good work in me that I have to show. Like what I read in the Bible (Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”). This is the challenge to me.

2019 Creating Cultures of Peace Training in Pati, Central Java, Indonesia

Here was what I got during the training:

  1. My names in these workshops were Talanted Thea (in 2018) and Thea Tenang, meaning Calm Thea, (in 2019). Something new and very fun. I trained myself to memorize all the names of the participants and succeeded. Feeling there was so much kindness through adjectives behind the names. Every time we spoke, we said our affirmation name first. Feeling closer, more similar, intimate and full of love gave us the power to make a change.
  2. We sat quietly for a few minutes at the beginning of the activity. This was a new and very good way for me. I tried it at the youth meeting at Easter 2018, at Yoboi Village meetings and also for myself. I learned to do it every morning before starting my morning meditation.
  3. Every word and sentence spoken at the end of each session and the workshop, all became mine. I felt very rich with positive things and kindness. I have practiced it and want to continue doing it in life every day.
  4. Calling names and telling feelings trained me to speak honestly about what I’m feeling. I learned to discharge my emotions, which is a very real experience because it relates to my real life every day. This tool is also good to develop in the community.
  5. I liked River of Life activity. I felt like I was in childhood. I felt proud in the present when thanking Thea childhood. And felt touched when in the future and motivated Thea now to take positive steps to achieve the future as expected. I felt it was in the story. Sad and happy mixed together. This tool was truly amazing and drained all my negative emotions.
  6. I liked the Positive Sculpture activity. We shared beautiful stories that still remain in memory. Through this tool, we released our sadness. This was new to me and I will practice it in the community.
  7. I liked the Whisper Circle activity. When changing the negative word that people always said to me became a positive word, it was touching. The whisper was soft, unexpected and touched my mind. I cried. There was power in those words. I have tried this tool in the community of women in the Church. Many moms shared their feelings. One person said, “It’s like the sound of an angel. I was touched and cried.” I also used it with the youth in Yoboi Village. Positive words have power. Awesome!!!
  8. The new material in the 2019 training was “Permaculture.” I was very curious about it. Every time there was a chance, I searched on Google. This is interesting to develop in Papua, especially in the environment and community where I live and work.
  9. The Stories of Trauma session was very interesting. I met a lot of teenagers, youth and adult women who had violent experiences. I am also a victim of violence and I train to be able to share with them. I learned to discharge my experiences of violence by telling stories, crying and grounding myself. This is a great learning for me as well as therapeutic approach I can use.
  10. I can’t tell one by one, for me all the material given in this training was very useful.

Youth Movement Peace Building Movement in West Papua, April 2018. Photo by Rory

My commitments after participating in these two training sessions are to:

  1. Continue to practice what I get in my life every day with the principle that today must be better than yesterday.
  2. Believe in the Transforming Power of life based on conscience. Everyone has it and everyone can change.
  3. Get to know myself, both my weaknesses and strengths. Learn to believe that everyone is capable, and to be a good companion as well as a good listener, and remember that my life is useful for others.
  4. Start with education. With our local group (LEKAT), I will continue to maintain relations with the community at Yoboi village. What I will do with the community is to be involved in a group of children at Rumah Baca (The Reading Room) once a month. Starting with AVP Basic and Power of Goodness events.

From what I got, I wish to express my gratitude to the sponsors who gave me the opportunity to take part in training at Place Peace in Pati. I really hope to continue doing something in Papua. Starting from myself and the environment. May the Lord Jesus Christ bless you. Warm regards and love from Jayapura, Papua Indonesia.