Traveling to Pulau Tunda

Sunday morning, April 10th 2016, some groups of professionals gathered in Dermaga Ancol and Jalan Sudirman, to travel together not only for vacation but also for volunteering. Those groups were from Komunitas Inspirasi Jelajah Pulau (KIJP) Batch 5, which just expanded their area of voluntary works from Kepulauan Seribu to northern Banten province. Eventually there was also another group of KIJP Batch 5 that already departed on Saturday morning since they were heading to Pulau Sebira, the northest island of Kepulauan Seribu, even closer to Lampung province.

Membangun Generasi Jujur di Pulau Tunda | Photo by Harditya Pragola

I was blessed to be assigned into a group full of cheerful and creative people. They are professionals with various background: medical doctor, banker, marketing communication, humanitarian aid agency, entrepreneur, CSR planner, art director, environmentalist, fin-tech, social media consultant, digital agency, journalist, etc.

The recruitment committee placed 18 of us to Pulau Tunda. It is located in northern Banten province, 2-3 hours from Karangantu. The island is about 300 hectare with two main villages: east and west. There was only one elementary school there, and we were going there to share our life experiences while building connection with the local people and planting seeds of dreams to their kids. It was also a beautiful place to visit as seen on Instagram, especially for snorkeling, diving, fishing, or photo-hunting for dolphins.

That Sunday we departed from Jakarta around 7am. It took around 2 hours to get to Karangantu, Serang. Some people said that Karangantu was the second largest pier after Sunda Kelapa in the history of Sunda. Our bus stopped in front of sun-drying salted fish area where our boats anchored. If you want to get there by public transportation, you can take a bus from Jakarta to Serang, and then change to mini bus from Serang to Karangantu. Make sure you arrive at Karangantu before 1pm since there is only one public boat (KMP Tunda) from Karangantu to Pulau Tunda per day.

After waiting for almost an hour, our boat finally came. It was a small boat with a single machine, with maximum capacity around 25 people. We took a rest for a while since the boat was moving.. so.. slowly. [insert zootopia's sloth here] Make sure that you bring your powerbank or additional battery for camera since there is no electricity at Pulau Tunda during the day. Moreover, your cell phone will be useless unless you use Indosat or XL and stand in the corner of the pier to find proper 2G signal.

Finally we arrived around 12 at Pulau Tunda. First thing first, we met our contact person, Husaini (Ucen), and his parents who helped prepare our food and coordination with some key people in Pulau Tunda. (Note: You can contact Ucen directly if you need local guide to visit Pulau Tunda) Then, we met Pak Sahroni, the principal of SDN Pulo Tunda, who is very kind and helpful that he let us stay at his new house for three days.

After having lunch, we went to the reading park (taman baca) nearby the pier. We gathered with the kids who were playing around the pier, and read some books for them. We had collected some book donations before coming to Pulau Tunda. There we did some storytelling both in Bahasa and basic English to improve kids' interest to read books. We tried to show the kids that reading is fun and even it can improve their knowledge.

#JanganTUNDAbaca Kalimat inilah yang pertama kali terlihat saat mengunjungi "Taman Bacaan Masyarakat Pulau Tunda" yang hanya berukuran sekitar 3x4 m di dekat dermaga timur, . "Ka kenapa remis di buku itu besar? Apa bedanya dengan remis di sini?" Atau pertanyaan lain "Lumba2 di sini jenisnya apa ka? Kenapa munculnya hanya pagi hari?" . Pertanyaaan2 yang membuat keringat keluar tanpa diminta saat itu.. Kaget dengan rasa ingin tahu yang besar dari mereka, apalagi jika ditemukan jawaban dengan penjelasan gambar visual di buku.. . Sore itu adalah hari pertama kami di sana, tapi pita suara sudah berkurang 70% kekuatannya, bukan karena teriak2 melainkan karena mencoba menjawab setiap pertanyaan dari mereka... . Hai Taman Baca tetaplah menjadi tempat bermain anak2 di Pulau Tunda... . 📷 : mama cantik @heelsbackpack ❤️ . #ceritadipulautunda #kijp5 #angkatsauh #generasijujur #pulautunda
A photo posted by Angel Nassa (@angelnassa) on

Beside reading the books for the kids, we also played some traditional games with them. Some of us also chat with the local adult around the pier to get insights about how people live in Pulau Tunda and what we can do through our activities in KIJP.

A photo posted by Bunga Noladika (@heelsbackpack) on

Few hours later, it was twilight, so it was time to enjoy the sunset before going home to finish our preparation for the Inspiration Day, the day that we all were waiting for.

D-Day! We woke up early morning to queue to take a bath. We even made the schedule to use the bathrooms since all of us stayed in the same house. We had to go to the school before 7am to meet all teachers and prepare for the opening ceremony.

We started teaching at 7.45. First and second year students got three sessions, while third to sixth year students got four sessions with us. We explained them about our job, what we actually do, what the impacts of our jobs, and how we achieved our dreams in a creative way so that kids could understand. Moreover, we shared about our values that are honesty (to be honest generation – as our campaign theme : #GenerasiJujur), independence, hard work, and never-give-up attitude.

In the end of the Inspiration Day we asked all students to write their dreams in a note, stick them to the poster that we put in the wall in each classroom. We hope that those kids will always remember about their dreams, then work and study hard to achieve it.

After finished teaching all elementary students, all volunteers gathered around and appreciated the local teachers for what they do in improving education level in Pulau Tunda. We respect our teachers so much because of their contribution in our lives.

We then took a break for an hour and continued our activities building connections with the local people. We splited into two groups: one group stayed in the east village to mingle with men and youth organization (karang taruna), and another group went to the west village to mingle with women community. We did social mapping in both villages, and specifically we did potency mapping of Pulau Tunda with the men / youth organization, while in the west village we explored creative productivity of women of Pulau Tunda.

In the night, we invited most local people, especially the key people, to have dinner together. We did "bancakan" - a form of dinner that we put all food (rices, fishes, chickens, vegetables, etc) in a series of banana leaves and eat them together. It was really interesting.

We went back to Jakarta on Tuesday. It was quite heavy raining that morning as if the universe told us to stay longer in Pulau Tunda. Although it was only three days, we felt some connections with the island. We really hope we can return to Pulau Tunda and contribute more to the society through the upcoming KIJP programs.

See you in the next adventure..

"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty."
— Mahatma Gandhi

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