Towards the end of the second semester, I realized that I was in need of community and service hours and because I wasn’t too sure about how many hours I had, I jumped at the chance to take part in this activity to supplement the hours that I needed to complete the C&S requirements for grade 9. I had known about Adelle’s mom’s organization, YCAB, and I was very interested in the activities that they did, and so I was definitely quite excited about being able to help them in any way possible.
After letting us know about the C&S opportunity, Adelle sent several emails that gave us an idea of what we would be doing for the activity, and to prepare myself I decided to read and look through all of the attachments that were sent (the health questionnaire, instructions, map, etc.) I felt like it was an interesting activity as we would be going around asking people about their health needs and such – which would allow me to gain a new experience. It was definitely quite a change from the other activities that I had been doing throughout the year as we would be coming in direct contact with members of the Petamburan community and we would be able to see first-hand, their living conditions and meet all sorts of new people.
I had to wake up quite early on the day of the activity, and we made it to the meeting area by 7 o’clock. When we reached the meeting point we were given name tags, and we went through a briefing process. During this briefing, several YCAB officers talked about what we would be doing and we read through the questionnaires together, going through each question and making sure that everything was clarified. We were then separated into groups, and then into pairs before we left for the Petamburan area. When we reached there we immediately began the interview process as the YCAB field officer supervising Iris and I brought us to the first contact.
Interviewing turned out to be much more awkward and difficult than I thought, as I felt like I was actually struggling a little bit to speak and to communicate and make myself clear with each question. The people in the community were not highly educated and so it was important to make each question as simple as possible, and I realized that as the interview process went along, I got better at doing so. Each interview with each contact took around 25-30 minutes a we had to get through several pages which were all filled with questions. Iris and I actually took quite awhile and we were actually one of the slower groups compared to other pairs who were able to get through 6 sets of questionnaires. We actually only had 4 people to interview because the other contacts weren’t there for us to interview – there was definitely lots of improvising that we did. All of the people we interviewed were women who each did different jobs, and I did notice that their health needs were fairly similar. Towards the end of the interviewing process I definitely got a lot better at interviewing and it felt so much smoother and more comfortable by the time I was done. It was definitely a successful process overall and I was happy with the results that were obtained by the end of the day.
It was great to see things from a different perspective that day, as we walked through a tight and packed community of trash-pickers, small business owners and housewives. I definitely learned a lot from the activities that day as I listened to each person talk answer the questions. There was one woman who was gladly welcomed us into her home, another who was sick but still able to do the interview, and even one who lived right by the railroad and was cooking while we were asking her all of the questions. I remember the loud sound that the train created as it passed by, making Iris and I jump out of shock. I feel very privileged to be able to see the true side of Jakarta, and I definitely realized how blessed I was to be living the life I lived. It was very comforting to see them welcome us and respond – it was certainly a humbling experience to see them live simple lives with big smiles on their faces. I look forward to carrying out more activities such as this one in the future!