One for Humanity.
For the past 2 months of my travels, I experienced a lot of life-changing moments but nothing prepared me for what I’ve experienced in Klaten, Indonesia.
After spending 3.5 weeks in Malaysian Borneo, I went to Yogyakarta for another volunteering gig. I volunteered in an English school in Klaten, which was 45 minutes away from Yogyakarta.
Unlike Yogyakarta, Klaten is not a tourist destination. The only tourists I saw there were the 3 other volunteers – an English girl, a German girl, and a Brazilian girl. Apart from that, Klaten is, I think, 95% populated by Muslims.
I stayed in Klaten for 2 weeks, assisting the teachers and having English conversations with the students. Students would always mistake me for a local but they have their doubts because of the way I dress and how I can speak good English.
But here’s the turning point —
During my last day, we participated in an outdoor activity. I was assigned to assist the group of girls while Lotti, the German volunteer, was assigned to work with the boys. It was just a normal conversation where we have Q&A in English, but little did I know of the effect I had on the kids.
As we were finishing up, the girls gave me a letter, a keychain souvenir, and a wrapped gift filled with local delicacies. I was already overwhelmed with gratitude for all the gifts, then THIS came along:
Indeed, we are ONE.
At a loss for words, I was deeply touched.
You see, I was merely a volunteer, stopping by for 2 weeks. But I’ve never felt more welcome than I did in Klaten. The teachers and students were grateful and appreciative that we were there, sharing our knowledge and experiences.
If they only knew the effect of this experience on me — no words will ever be enough. I am truly humbled as it opened my eyes, my mind and my heart.
They are Muslims and I’m Catholic, but none of that matters. All of us are created equal, and we are here in this world with one mission — to spread LOVE.
The cultural difference was also very apparent, but, again, it doesn’t matter. Respect and acceptance are what matters.
In the world we’re living now, where HATRED and RACIAL DISCRIMINATION rule more than LOVE, Respect, and Acceptance, moments like this can make all the difference.
If only people experience what I experienced, or see what I saw, feel what I felt, then maybe, just maybe, people would be more generous and compassionate, making this world a much better place.
But I can only hope. Hope for unity, to be one for humanity.
May we all live for moments like this. Moments that touch our lives and inspire us to feel good, to do better and be better.
Sending you all love from my side of the world.