Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lessons to learn

We went ashore to visit the extensive market area of Tual (Indonesia) and discovered the poverty of the area. There was tiny stall after stall of merchants selling anything and everything, usually under tarped roofs. Some were sitting on the ground displaying their wares or selling in alleyways in very dim conditions with no lighting. During the heat and/or rain of the day, sheltering tarps would also hang down in front.

Get it here...

The water's edge was littered with garbage and we watched more than once as the denizens walked from their waterfront hut or market stall and tossed a full plastic bag of trash into the ocean! We were speechless...but what could we say even if there wasn't a language barrier?

Such things as garbage containers and pickup and recycling that we take for granted back home are an unknown concept to so many here. Most of the populous here are predominantly concerned in just eking out an existence, leaving no enthusiasm or energy to promote a wholesome environment.

It was very disheartening to see the constant disposal of plastic garbage into the ocean. Yes, we too dump garbage into the ocean but only biodegradable and non-harmful items such as paper or produce waste, metal cans, and glass jars while at deeper seas. Sea Turtle's garbage after 21 days = 1 small bag of hard plastics/tetra containers and 1 jug stuffed full with soft plastics, none of which goes into the ocean.

Minimal garbage

Our agent's helper, who also works as a teacher, asked the cruisers to visit his students to expose them to some foreign influence and to practice their limited English. We were happy to learn that the students are learning to be environmentally conscious and are taught and practice recycling. They even make items for sale such as plastic flowers from collected garbage. Hopefully the young can teach their elders about the importance of the environment but we feel it will take persistence and 1 generation to see results.

Other hand crafts they make include jewelry from shells and beads, and cloth wear that they produce from their sewing classes. Each of the women cruisers were given a beautiful pair of earrings made by the students.

Students are taught English in school and were interested in the cruisers' stories as we spoke about our travels and answered many questions. The classroom is divided into 2 levels of education. The ages seemed to range from about 12 to 17 years.

Jordan surrounded by students and cruisers

In another classroom, we watched as the girls worked on their sewing projects. These young girls actually sew the smart-looking uniforms of their teachers...

The students had also prepared a small lunch for everyone and had it nicely displayed. The rice rolls were very scrumptious (I should have asked for the recipe!) followed by a tasty pudding, and all washed down with refreshing homemade mango-papaya juice. Back in my school daze, I was taught Home Economics where I learned sewing and cooking too as the boys were busy with Shop (mechanics, welding, etc.) Our sewing machines were a lot more modern but these old treadle Singers appeared to make perfect seams.

Oldie but goodie

Computer usage is also taught at the school but we found the internet to be very slow not only at the school but throughout Tual. After a lot of scouting, we found 1 internet shop that had pretty good connections but you had to use their computers as they had no wi-fi.

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