Rabu, 02 Desember 2015 - 08:45:30 WIB
A Volunteer Experience
Diposting oleh : Administrator
Kategori: Stories from The Field - Dibaca: 2255 kali

A Volunteer Experience

 By Caroline Watson


After fumbling for the words to tell my bus driver where I needed to be dropped off in Yogyakarta, Central Java, I finally arrived in Yogyakarta on a Monday, after a 17 hour bus ride. Waiting for PPMK to pick me up from the bus terminal, I was utterly exhausted and unsure of what to expect, but now that I’ve finished my volunteer experience with PPMK, here’s a little of what you can expect:

Sulastri Trimiharjo, Director and pioneer of PPMK Yogyakarta was the first character of PPMK I met. Arriving at the bus terminal in her official PPMK uniform, Lastri welcomed me to Yogyakarta with a smile and and open arms. First and foremost, Lastri prepared us some delicious Javanese coffee and then off we went to the PPMK office.

The PPMK office is situated amidst large rice fields and surrounded by rolling hills, just outside the busy streets of Yogyakarta. At the PPMK office there are about seven people working and a small family living just behind the office. On my first day Lastri and I hopped onto her motorbike and zoomed off to visit various clients of PPMK. We first met with Mrs. Sumilah, who had received a loan from PPMK to support her rice crackers business. Since receiving her loan from PPMK, Mrs. Sumilah’s rice cracker business is thriving. Next, we visited a family who had been given livestock from PPMK to raise and nurture and later sell for profit. Judging from the plumpness of the sheep, the livestock would sell for a good price. The next client we saw had been chosen by PPMK to have a new toilet constructed in their home. The family was very excited to have a new toilet. We continued to meet with clients throughout the day, each seeming more grateful for PPMK’s help than the one before.

The next day we visited several prospective clients to evaluate them for possible loans. In our visit we asked each client to help us fill out a survey to gain a better idea of their socio-economic status and the community at large. As PPMK takes on more and more clients, they need all the information they can get in order to fairly evaluate each client and provide help to those who need it most.

As we approached the end of the month I helped Lastri to create their monthly newsletter, which turned out to be my favorite project of all. In recalling PPMK’s recent activity, not only could I share the unique stories I had learned of our clients, but also the stories of the PPMK staff and the motivation behind their work. PPMK is all about helping others to empower themselves and learning from one another as team.

At the end of the week PPMK gave me the chance to visit the 8th century Buddhist temple, Borobudur. PPMK staff drove me to Borobudur where I spent the morning immersing myself in the story of Buddha’s becoming. All in the same day, PPMK staff took me on one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever been on. In reflection, I am extremely happy that I decided to volunteer with PPMK and forever grateful for my experience. 


 Where am I?