Papua – through my eyes

By Charlie Hartono - 9:06:00 pm

Just 10 days after my Saumlaki trip, my awesome office mate Dinda and I flew to Jayapura to accomplish our Papua field trip transiting towards Wamena, Jayawijaya. By air, distance from Jakarta to Jayapura takes around 3,700 km or equals to 5 hours 25 minutes. Direct flight of Garuda Indonesia GA-0656 departs daily at 23.20 from Soekarno Hatta Airport to Sentani Airport. The earliest flight to Wamena is by Trigana Air IL-271 at 07.45.

Feels like the memory still lingers inside my mind when last time I visited Wamena highland in 2013 with Ferry Salim – UNICEF Indonesia Goodwill Ambassador and Bank Central Asia. The Airport was not as good as the current one. At that time, I could even encounter some men wearing Koteka strolling around at the airport. But now, change indeed happens significantly. The airport is now managed very well and I felt so comfortable with the welcoming view of the beautiful mountain covered with white clouds. I could also see so many Javanese faces in the city becoming Ojek Drivers, selling typical Javanese foodies like Satay, Chicken Noodle, Meatball and even Cilok (steamed chewy balls made from tapioca starch)!
Children of Napoa Peak, Wamena | © UNICEF Indonesia / 2016 / Dinda Veskarahmi
Although the infrastructure development in Papua shows very well progress under President Jokowi programme, I can see that the inequality is still a huge challenge. High HIV cases among teenagers due to low awareness of information on HIV and AIDS; Villages without school; Children who live in a poor hygiene practice; Violence amongst parents and children – even between teachers and students; Puskesmas with trained supervisor but no trained cadres, and vice versa. Those are indeed  unfinished-homework for all of us – not just for the Government solely.
Children of Karogi Village, Wamena | © UNICEF Indonesia / 2016 / Dinda Veskarahmi
To me personally, working with UNICEF and going for a field visit is an opportunity to think and to re-think on how to incorporate relevant real action and bringing better impact to change the challenging situation. Equally important question that I should ask myself again and again: How much effort and contributions have I given out for the children in Indonesia through the professional work that I have done?

Selamat Hari Anak Nasional!

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