There is no cell phone service and no internet at the mayor’s estate so you probably won’t find it on google maps. It is near to my school–just go over a small bridge, pass the stunning and well organized fruit orchards and you’ll see it there on the right, across the street from the jungle. You cant miss it, really. The white pillars wash up on a wide North Carolinian lawn and the shiny SUV’s busy the gravel driveway like a dozen cell phones dropped from a sack onto a table.
Haris Nadjamudin was voted into office around the same time I moved to Gorontalo. He is as new to being a mayor as I am to teaching at an Islamic boarding school. He is the type of mayor to spend time and money planting fruit trees in his first few weeks as opposed to redecorating the kitchen or getting the internet up and running. His is a political philosophy based on the Independent platform. It is for all these reasons that I bow in reverence to Mayor Nadjamudin and have become very eager to work with him.
He is a very sincere and serious man, in response to which made me sweat. Or perhaps it was the long and heavy traditional Gorontalo garb I was wearing or the brown headscarf meant to conceal the blond and bouncy Californian girl. However, after my presentation (heavy with visual aids to appease language barriers) concerning the world’s environmental crisis and the incredible trash problem in Indonesia his nods relayed approval and his metalinguistic grunts wafted emotional acceptance over my proposals. Serious environmental change is due in this town and I have the guy in charge at the forefront. He proposed I meet the vice governor soon, that I go on a hike with him 12 hours into the jungle to see a local tribe, and that I write all my proposals he agreed to on paper. He is grateful for my passion and happy to walk with me through this reform.
I proposed the following:
1) Put garbage cans in and around all areas where people live or visit and implement a work force to take care of those cans and that garbage once a week.
2) Have official signs near these cans that demand people NOT leave their garbage on the ground. “Buang sampah pada tempatnya!”
3) Support environmental based curriculum at local schools. Some teachers at my school and I will facilitate the writing of this curriculum.
4) Hiring a workforce to do jungle, street, beach, and coral reef cleanups. I will do my part to get my students among other schools’ students involved.
5) Make city wide contests for schools. What school can gather the MOST litter? Who can come up with the best environmental science project? Most incredible art project made from recycled garbage? etc.
4) Hold a leadership camp that empowers the community in English speaking and environmental compassion at a local national recreational site (waterfalls/hotsprings).
All these things are goals that I hope will not only beautify this province, provide new jobs and help sustain a bit of tourism but will play a role in unearthing the underlying compassion that all earthlings inevitably hold in their hearts for their planet. It will help in making the future us and the future earth healthier.
I have attached some of the photos I used to do the convincing. Photos I plan to use on the vice-governor, the governor and whoever else. Perhaps you might want to use them too, to make your own changes, somehow, somewhere.