While reading, check out Marie’s Indonesian pop song which talks about cleaning Jogja from trash.
It was the same week when our gathering took place in one courtyard as an initiative of a local guy. With the address tag in our hands, we found our way to Indonesia’s largest green organization Walhi.
As far as we knew our early arrival concerned checking over the place and talking about the night’s logistics. Instead, we landed in the middle of an internal meeting, 15 sceptical faces staring at us and waiting for a great performance.
Indonesian green force now demanded a presentation of something that we were still in the process of figuring out ourselves. Heart beating inside, we opened our computers and held a speech on our plans for the future, but especially for the forthcoming night. They observed, waggled their heads and finally asked the important questions.
So what could be these important questions. Like “what will you do with all the collected trash in the end?” or “what is your funding plan?”. No, this organization focused on something else.
“Very interesting project, but let us now talk about the important things – what will our position be in this project?” asked the boss with dollar signs blinking in his eyes.
“Well, we are opened for co-operation and hope to established a mutually accepted partnership. Especially as we have the same goals concerning the environment. We would need to discuss Walhi’s role, how would you like to contribute to the wellbeing of the city. But as we were invited here to plan tonight, maybe we could fix a separate meeting for this negotiation?”
“Sure-sure. But still, what will be Walhi’s position in your project? Who will be obeying who? Walhi cannot afford obeying to Let’s Do It, Jogja!” he said while drawing different niveaus in the sky, the one above referring to them and the one below to us.
“But we never asked you to obey us, it is supposed to be a co-operation to achieve same goals. It all depends what will be the most suitable area for us to work together.”
“If you wish, Walhi can take all responsibility for your project to work.”
“Please understand, the organization is a world-wide one and we are not here to look for someone to lead us.”
“Well you need a steering committee, Walhi can take this role.”
Somewhere at the resonant steering committee our negotiation stopped when the boss’s shirt turned wet of sweat and he opened the top bottom. And us being utterly confused because instead of borrowing their garden for the night as one of their members had offered us, we were now standing in a position to negotiate who will lead the project. Therefore we tried to lead the conversation back to the tracks.
“Maybe we should discuss about the essence of the project to see if our visions correspond to each other and how would you see it working?”
“Yes, sure. We were thinking that we should collect the trash and throw it in front of the government offices, they should be responsible!”
Really, a very brilliant solution.
Men’s shirts dripping of sweat, we stopped the conversation but continued having several of similar kinds. As we were not willing to leave the responsibility to Walhi who wanted to pick a fight with the government, they now started indoctrinating our volunteers. Each time they met someone they gave them pressure to make us reconsider our viewpoint until one day a representative from Walhi came to talk to us in our office.
“You know what, Walhi thinks this cooperation cannot last.”
This was such a good news of ending this oppressing relationship with the rotten green force that we spurted out (though in Indonesian polite-mannered way) all that we thought of this situation. After exchanging ideas for almost an hour and making clear of everything (again) the gentleman stood up,
“Alright. We will talk about it in Walhi to see if we want to continue the cooperation.”
This was the last drop into the cup of patience that was already splashing out frustration. We confirmed politely that we didn’t have time for these power games and left the weird situation for ever. Even though our hearts crippled for leaving the largest green NGO of Indonesia, we indeed received many more evidences that the organization didn’t really care about the environment after all.
** Read how it really works: http://www.letsdoitworld.org and do not get discouraged by my subjective blog posts about leading the project. The stories are intended to be entertaining, therefore I will mostly describe the conflicts instead of successful moments, which there were plenty as well. How ever it all sounds to you, I still believe this one one truly amazing project and should be carried out in all parts of the world. Hopefully, with your help.