Thursday, January 27, 2011

DO-CI-RENG: The Youth’s Ways of Trauma Healing for The Child Victims

Mount Merapi, the most active of Indonesia’s 130 active volcanoes and has erupted regularly since 1548, had stopped erupting and spewing the materials and ashes on last one month. But the victims –people with lost homes, burned plantations, physical illnesses, and loss of beloved family members –are still being recovered by the government workers and volunteers to bring them back to normal life. The children, at-risk victims of each disaster like volcano eruption, are the core point of caring that should be thought out seriously because they have a bright future to generate the best achievements for my home country, Indonesia. Playing with them became our fresh idea to discuss with some friends in community of Jogja Peace Generation (JPG) to decide what the activity we should do then.

This idea of assisting the child victims of volcano eruption didn’t come in haste but I and several friends from the community had observed while distributing the supplies such as water, food, and blanket for the victims from several shelters in Yogyakarta and Magelang. As youth’s community with experienced members over seven years, JPG strongly understands what activity we might do for the children round of Mount Merapi, and name of Do.Ci.Reng (literally close to meaning “Cheerful Games with Peace Generation”) finally invites us to involve with children on December 2010.

Regarding the childhood phase, I could see a world with full of play as the basic rights options. This point of view was captured by JPG to carry out the programs which are comfortable for them in seven until twelve years old. We agree that play is very important in the learning and emotional development of all children. Considering the functions of play such as enhancing relationship and social skills and developing values and ethics, JPG organized the cheerful activities such as playing games, having funs with local wisdoms which are existing in their indigenous cultures and other educational aids.

The last statement of indigenous cultures and everything else correlated with the way of life is the particular thing to be conducted to children through this program. Our dictum speaks that “we don’t want to change their philosophy and local wisdoms they have”, but we just accompany them to have fun together in order to forget bad memories about volcano eruption which currently occurred to them. We were in one way to preserve local wisdom and indigenous culture, one of the JPG’s core values, to keep multiculturalism for diverse people. And the children, as we know, are an unparalleled asset of the future to run well all of their life’s philosophies and local indigenous in sustainability.

Finally, this program was designed definitely to come up the children’s hope which was conducted in the Gulon Village, Salam District, Ngersap, Magelang, Central Java. The members were approximately 150 children of Elementary School from five to twelve years old. We held this program every weekend on 4th to 5th, 11th to 12th, 18th to 10th of December 2010. Weekend is the finest time for children to play and spend much time to explore other ways of play which might not be practiced before. We brought myriad activities of plays and games based on their local indigenous, workshops, and creativity developments of which core values referred to multiculturalism educations, environmental cares, and locality preservation. Those programs could be classified into several themes, namely (1) for environment: coloring and drawing the used barrels for garbage bin, and planting seeds of chilly and tomato in the used mineral water bottles as the pot. We strongly guided them to reuse and recycle the myriad stuffs which could be used for them in their life; (2) for local indigenous: making “lidi puppet”, making origami based on local knowledge, and drawing a kite of hope by using the scissors, crayons, sticky tape, etc, and (3) for multiculturalism education and creativity: training of writing stories and poetries, workshop of making play and drama. Those activities did not include yet numerous local games and plays which became predominant ice breaking and main roles for each program.

First week was the first challenge, and I could say it’s not easier as I thought about, because we had to recognize the children’s mental and physical abilities and what ways of plays they always practice in field. Therefore, we sincerely need to adapt the children’s world with everything they used to do with their friends. After knowing their behavior little by little, we divided them into small groups consisting of 5 to 8 children for each group, then we invited to color a barrel to make a garbage bin. Coloring or drawing the object is a basic way of early childhood education. We freed the children to picture all things on their mind instead of specifying a theme about “Our Village”. Through this session, I found awesome moment indeed showed by the colorful barrels that represented their ambience and mood of feeling. They pictured all things: a mountain, river, tree, pile of stones, butterfly, and portrait of person which innocently spoke about their perception of the village and its life in general.

First week activities during two days had given a learning much about mental and physical abilities of children we would face on further activities. The second and the third weeks were the most important thing because those all are about local and traditional values of culture which engaged with the children for long years. “Lidi Puppet” spoke more about representation of Java’s traditional art performance. Actually, it’s not a real puppet but just a duplicate which learned the children about traditional arts and challenged their flair to be innovative and creative about traditional heritages. The “lidi puppet” was made from used newspaper and lidi (palm or coconut leaf rib).

Through the numerous activities, I learned a thousand wise things from children during these three weekends of play. I witnessed the experiences of working together among the children to reach a final goal of each program, how they relaxed in the cheerful time, how they innocently asked me and my friends to serve as special, and how they behaved spoiled way to catch my attention. In the end of those program, I think how easy to warmly make friend with them like in one family where we loved each other. From their eyes, I could see the happiness, hopes, and cheerful moments even though they were subjected firsthand to the disaster.

I called them as Do.Ci.Reng troops (Laskar Do.Ci.Reng) for both the children and JPG’s volunteers to have friendly and joking fun. We will come back to that place and meet the Do.Ci.Reng troops as our follow up and commitments in advance.