A seemingly impossible journey to become a selfless person: Halmahera Chapter

Fitria Chairani 12 Oktober 2011

You have the right to work but never the fruit of work.”

The Bhagavad Gita, the most famous poem in all of Hindu literature and part of Mahabharata had taught me the concept of selfless; detached from ego, emotion, negativity, lust or desire. Those who have reached that level are an inch away to reach Nirvana. They live to serve others and by no mean think even one second about their own benefits. I have seen some people who are at or at least very close of becoming selfless. Ibu Kiswanti, whom I met during the Indonesia Mengajar Training amazed me with her story on how, despite her hardship, she still fought to serve people, built a modest library for street and low-class children, and wanting no other than better education for children and her society. She struggled and dropped out after elementary school. She did not give up even one second. Her dream is simple, to educate. To have children find their inner self. None of her dreams is selfish, rather, it is selfless. Gandhi, Mother Theresa is among those who are selfless. Paying no attention to wealth or fortune, selfless people serve with love for others. They give out everything but never enjoy their fruit of work. They shall remain away from selfish attachment. As Gita says,

You have the right to work, but never the fruit of work.... Strive constantly to serve the welfare of the world; by devotion to selfless work one attains the supreme goal of life.”

Source: singaraja.wordpress.com

I could pursue to live in New York just as I have always dreamed of.

I try to be selfless. I try to continue work for others, without selfish attachment or self-benefits. I allocate a year in my lifetime to serve the people in South Halmahera, North of Maluku. To be honest, I had a selfish purpose, to be better, to have a break, to excel better than most of my friends. However, after second thought, there are tons of ways to be better; I could simply pursue my second master’s degree instead. I could pursue to live in New York like I have always dreamed of. I could fight for Ivy League schools while continue working at the World Bank office Jakarta and living my comfortable life. I could have taken another internship at the UN office abroad, live a life that i have always dreamed of: a prestigious position the international organizations. I could travel if I need a break. I could do euro trip, live abroad dive trip, and take luxurious trips for a break.

I could do all of the above if I choose to be selfish. I could just leave the task of teaching children at the rural area to those who are fresh grads and much younger than me. Yes, I am one of the oldest members of the team, and it sometimes frustrates me. I had already been exposed to real life, real work, reality, while most of them barely started it. I had to put up with endless trainings, people whom I could not relate to, deprived of sleep and luxury, in order to serve the people of South Halmahera.

For some reasons, that does not seem like a sacrifice at all. When I imagine the face of the people of Halmahera, and the children that I will be teaching, I no longer think about myself. All fears of not becoming a good teacher, worries of not being able to deliver subjects, manage class or make the students understood, suddenly disappear. I want to teach. I want to serve.

“It is a human nature to think.”

Yes, I could simply travel if I want a break. I could simply work at NGO if I want to do community development. Or I could just pursue a master’s degree in development program pursuant to my plan. But there is something different about teaching. There is something different about touching people’s life. By delivering knowledge, enlightening them with concepts of math, science, and fulfill their logic, I at least know that I had made change in their life.

It is a human nature to think. Just as to breathe or to eat. It is a teacher’s job to indulge student’s appetite to learn and to satiate their thirst of knowledge. For me, it is an honor to be the one who introduce the children that the world is big. It is even bigger than an endless ocean. I want to be the one to tell them that they are free to think anything they want. They are free to dream, to imagine and to fly. Let their mind explore and let their curiosity plays. Children are God’s greatest gift and I am honored if I can be a part of their life.

I had never felt this strange feeling before

Real world deals with poverty, debt, social issues, family problems, conflicts, politics, and endless negativity. But I will take these children to travel to the other side of the world where scientific progress and human innovation dominates. I want to show them that nature and human are interconnected and work in a synergy to create beautiful world that we live in today. I want to show them the positive side of the world, and create inner optimism that they can change their life, and even the world. No one, even their parents, has the right to kill their dreams, or tell them that they cannot pursue or even have a


courtesy of adra gesza

There are endless reasons to go to Halmahera. I want to challenge myself. I want to serve. I want to develop rural area. I want this, I want that. Who knows what I really want until i got there. But when I had a glimpse on what will it be like in Indong Village, where I will be staying in, I felt a sudden urge to go there. I want to go there immediately. I had never felt like this in any place I had worked before. I had never felt the urge, excitement, fear, as much as I feel right now. I had almost the same experience when I left to Cambodia. But I imagine the challenge must be different. In Cambodia, I lived in a city, with all the comforts. Even better than Jakarta, I had all the freedom I want. But here, in Halmahera, I stay in a village. I live with the school principal. I interact with the society, parents and children every day. I am a new fish in a far away ocean. I migrate across continent. I am stranger to the people as they are strangers to me.

At the end, who knows where I will be a year from now. Things might completely change once I return from Halmahera. My dreams, hope, passion might change, or even grow stronger than before. It is a jungle out there. I just hope I can serve the best. I hope i can be as selfless as I can. Detached from self will and ego, and committed to help others. One thing for sure, I know that this selfless journey will significantly mark and color my life. So I can look back and be proud that I have a Halmahera chapter in my life. 

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