A Pedacito Of Pulo Aceh, Indonesia
Updated: Jun 2
The distinctive smell of the Banda Aceh coast strongly spread in the air. Fishing boats had been leaning along the side of Lampulo Harbor. No fisherman set sail that day. As Friday was a day of no-go fishing.
That has been a well-known cultural belief of the Acehnese people. The simple act of traditional people in supporting the balance of nature. To stop fishing once every week. Letting the ocean rejuvenate itself.
Friday is also known as a blessed day. The day is focused on worship and doing good deeds, especially for Muslims. It was indeed an act of gratitude for God's grace. The One who showers humans with various goodness from the lands and seas.
My friends and I, who voluntarily registered for social work called The Floating School, felt excited and anxious almost at the same time. Despite its remote area, Pulo Aceh was one of the islands I desperately wanted to visit the most. Not only for its beauty but also for its adventure.
To reach this island, I had to spend about two hours sailing across the sea, using a small boat without any life vest on. For your information, I can’t swim very well. I'm even less fast at swimming than anchovies. Yeah, I did understand the risk, but this magnificent island was too lovely to be ignored.
It was three hours after 12 p.m. The sun was getting hotter. I had started suffering from the sultry weather. After almost two hours crossing the ocean, the boat finally arrived on Pulo Aceh.
Pulo Aceh is one of a thousand islands in Indonesia. This island is famous for its beautiful beaches and natural views. Not to mention its delicious seafood dishes. For those who love nature, this island is the perfect home for your soul.
All the volunteers from various backgrounds were invited to sail to Pulo Aceh. The purpose was to encourage and enrich the knowledge and skill of the island kids.
By meeting and connecting with various new people, the indigenous people of Pulo Aceh would feel isolated no more. As volunteers, we received a very precious experience and of course a new family.
For three days, the volunteers got their share of work; from taking care of travel, equipment, food stocks, event documentation, and work exhibitions. I oversaw the island children's art exhibition. Their creative works fascinated me a lot.
The Pulo Aceh children wrote poetry and short stories. They exhibited their paintings and photoshoot artwork. The kids made crafts by recycling garbage on the coast and secondhand clothes too. Some had been converted into key chains, piggy banks, photo frames, bean bags, and tote bags.
All these works were the result of their learning for 6 months from various volunteers who come back and forth every weekend to Pulo Aceh.
This program was run by Acehnese youths to change the concept of traveling; enjoying the trip by also contributing to people in remote areas, working socially, and interacting directly with the community.
As a local, this kind of trip changed my perception of traveling. I once thought that cool travel only happened when visiting distant and popular places. I used to only feel proud when I had the opportunity to travel outside the province or abroad.
I never thought that there were so many tourist sites around me and they were so very beautiful, not only the location but also the people.
In today's modern and fast-paced era, where we tend to be so individualistic, visiting Pulo Aceh gave me a peaceful heart and a nourished soul. Visiting new places, serving new people, sharing knowledge and experience is the best way to prove how awesome healthy connections among humans can be.
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