Are You Crazy?

Story by A. Ruwidrijarto


The preceding question is: Are you happy?
The answer is also Yes.

End of Story.

Hmmm…Not yet.

By now you might have noticed that right from the start, Noken The First Time, way way back, craziness is always a very big part of Noken. Crazy people, crazy group of youth, crazy ideas.

What if not crazy can we say of the following samples of people/group/community who believes that they can:

  • facilitate 15-year-olds without prior computer skill to code, develop a mobile application
  • create a community market but not market
  • make fire with lenses, balloons, and condoms, ice, can, or chocolate bar
  • be a prototype guy, get everybody together and get things for everybody
  • be rain gauging farmers
  • get away with names like Brayan Oerip Maju Bareng Ati Tentrem, or Sapta Wening, or
  • Lojohan Indigenous River Coffee Shop, or whatever names that cannot be acronymized
  • into three capital letters
  • be blind but no no no…not bland at all
  • be revolutionary while deaf and mute
  • erase colonialism from the face of the earth by the power of mar.tuax, having goats as
  • companion, enjoying the unknowns
  • pick only ripe red cherries and place real hope in the young generation
  • make dreams come true.

Like a true Sentanian, I’d say: Sippp ya.. Sippp ya… because as I have mentioned at the start, a lot of craziness makes me happy.*

So, it’s not a surprise when on the launching of Menoken di Tabi, at the top of the hill of Yotoro, 11 March 2021, in the noken circle that morning, Andre shouted out, “Are you happy? Are you crazy?”

We all shouted back YES for the first question. On the second question though, some were not sure what the answer should be. Many said yes, some said no. Understandable. Out of ahundred or so at that launching, with the Bupati of Jayapura, heads of district, chiefs of kampong, staffs of the regency government, police officers and military personnels, there must have been some normal persons.***

But all nokenners, starting from the bupati himself, stated YES we are crazy.

I don’t have the pictures of all these crazy people, therefore the following is just an attempt to share with you some of their stories, in no particular order:

Mathius Awoitauw, Bupati of Jayapura.

In his remark in the launching, he said, “Only crazy people gather here. To noken is to get all these crazy people out and connect them, that is the way we can make progress.”

His government’s vision is “empowered indigenous peoples, improved peoples economy, a quality Jayapura.” Out of this vision Jayapura is presently the only regency that has GTMA, a task force on indigenous peoples, laid down so many Kampung Adat, recognized many indigenous peoples and territories, and formed the Jayapura Indigenous School. The indigenous school is now present in almost all formal schools in the regency. Those formal schools will soon have put two name plates side by side: the name of the formal school and the name of Jayapura Indigenous School. This kind of indigenous school is one and only in Indonesia.

He is by far and away crazy because he climbed all the way up to all three tops of Yotoro Hill, under the scorching sun. Others had no option but to follow the lead.

Becoming a nokenner, Bupati Mathius launched Menoken di Tabi, requested that the last day of noken be in his kampong, Yokiwa, provided bus and speedboats, lunch- dinner-breakfast and many things in between, and allowed camping at the newly planted grass lawn of his private residence in Puay, Yokiwa (the staff in charge of the lawn is very serious about his responsibility and told us not to use the tent pegs.**** We didn’t).

Sitting next to the bupati is Martua. His craziness is well documented, check these out:

***There were also Ondoafis, indigenous leaders. I think they’re actually crazy and must have said yes.
****A tent peg (or tent stake) is a spike, usually with a hook or hole on the top end, typically made from wood, metal, plastic, or composite material, pushed or driven into the ground for holding a tent to the ground, either directly by attaching to the tent’s material, or by connecting to ropes attached to the tent (from Wikipedia).

Hanny Felle, Rumah Baca Yoboi.

I learned a lot from this crazy woman:

  1. Heart is all that matters. When you work with and from the heart, everything will be okay.
    When you work with kids, the most important is that you touched their hearts. Never be angry
    with them. Don’t let them ever feel they are not liked.
  2. Whenever people start asking “Who do you think you are?” bringing in and offering ideas,
    accompaniment, energy, the whole of you; just answer: I am a woman and I care about your children. I am here to accompany them learning, reading and writing and counting, understanding where they are from, their mother tounge, their culture and tradition, their natural surrounding, their community, their life space.
  3. To you boys and men, husbands and fathers, don’t feel so insecure seeing girls and women, wife or daughter becoming whoever they are, fully and happily, out there in the world.

On number one: no more explanation is needed. Even The Beatles agreed, saying “All You Need Is Love” and Blackpink too, saying “I kick it how I wanna kick it when I wanna kick, no you can’t tell me not to kick it cause I’m gonna kick.”

That’s how Hanny Felle’s been doing, kicking it. Started as a Sunday school teacher, she soon realized how bad the literacy was among the young generation in her communities. So, she turned her house in Yoboi, Sentani as the Home of Literacy for 85 children in the kampong. That was 2011.

For the next 6 years she had to fend off so many people, including government certified teachers, village authority, parents, who constantly asked: who do you think you are? What is your qualification doing all these? What is your personal interest and gain spending so much time and your own money?

Her answer is number 2 above. She continues kicking it through the Three Stones of the stove:
indigenous leadership, religious heads, government authority in the kampongs. Now, 2021, Hanny
Felle has grown Home of Literacy far and wide. It is now up and running in at least 21 kampongs in 5 districts in Jayapura. More is in line, Hanny has been busy responding to requests from kampongs all over Papua.

I got so much kick out of this noken that I want to share the story right away. So here it is. But I promise I will write about more crazy people of Menoken di Tabi. So, hang in there….


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