THIS IS APRIL X CHELSEA ISLAN GOES TO PAPUA TO DELIVER SHOES FOR CHILDREN IN WAMENA AND SENTANI

October 2017, This Is April launched a new collaboration with Chelsea Islan called This Is April X Chelsea Islan Charity Collaboration. Some percentages of the profits were donated to produce and delivering shoes for children in Papua.

February 8th – 13th 2018, This Is April team (Jasmine & Ayu) and Chelsea Islan went to Papua to deliver the shoes directly to a few student centres. Two thousands shoes were produced and delivered to 20 student centres at Wamena and Sentani.

We managed to visit 3 places to deliver 300 pairs of shoes. Those three places were Tunas Harapan Student Centre at Potikelek, Gunung Susu Student Centre and Yosua Student Centre at Sinakma. All located at Wamena.

Let’s start from day one. We went at 22.45 WIB from Terminal 3 Soekarno Hatta by Garuda Airlines. It was almost a six hour flight. We took a direct flight to Sentani and arrived at 06.10 WIT. Sentani is two hours ahead Jakarta, so it was still 4 am Jakarta time when we step our foot at Papua.

We had breakfast while we were waiting for our next flight with Trigana Air to Wamena. The earliest flight from Sentani to Wamena by is at 7.45 and 8 am. But we took the 10.20 flight by Trigana in case our flight from Jakarta got delayed. It took around 40 minutes to get from Sentani to Wamena by jet. If you use ATR plane it would take 15 minutes longer.

We arrived at Wamena at 11 am and the temperature was nice. It was a bright day but the temperature is certainly cooler than Sentani, which was around 24 degree celsius. We got to our hotel which was not far from the airport. We put our luggage and had the chance to rest for 30 minutes and again get ready to visit the first school to deliver the shoes.

The first school that we visit is called Tunas Harapan Student Centre at Potikelek Wamena.  We were greeted with traditional dances. The children were outside, lining up and dancing when we arrived and gave us flower necklaces that they made themselves. It was a mix of paper flower and Plastik Flower which is a real flower that looks like plastic and is commonly found in Wamena.
 

It was such a touching moment, some of the kids came only with sandals or not wearing any sole at all. Chelsea Islan and us were helping them to tied up there shoes and had a little chat.

Some 12-14 years old girls came up to us and gave us a Noken. Noken is what we put on our head. It is a multifunctional knotted or woven bag native to the Papua. It is usually hung from the head to bring various goods from carrots, potato, woods even children!. Can you imagine how strong their heads are? Amazing. These girls handmade the noken and gave it to us. It was very personal, it was truly sweet.

We were there until it gets quite dark and some of the children were running with our cars as we left. They were so happy. The spark on their eyes were priceless. That was the first spot and the first day. We have delivered 100 pairs of shoes out of 2000 pairs that we have spread along Wamena and Sentani.

Our hotel had no air conditioner in it. We did not need it though, since the night was always raining and it was around 15 degree Celsius every night. It was one of the best night ever since we did not get enough sleep on the plane the night before and the beyond happy feelings we got after visiting Potikelek.

We went to two different schools on the next day. It was Gunung Susu Children Centre dan Yosua Children Centre at Sinakma. A hundred pairs of shoes were given to each of the children centre. It was as touching as the first one. Some of the children came without shoes or sandals and they wanted to go home bringing the shoes on their hands. They were not wearing it home. When Chelsea Islan asked them why, they said because they don’t want the shoes to get dirty because they love the shoes so much. That statement hit us. For most of us, shoes we care about are those branded and hyped shoes, while for them, they just love the shoes because they do not have any. After we talked to the children that the shoes were given to be worn to protect their shoes, they were willing to wear it. Another deep thoughts came to us.

Chelsea couldn’t stop her tears from flowing. We surely were very touched. Urban city life sometimes move too fast that makes us restless and overlooked little stuff in life which we should be grateful for, little stuff that really matters. That moment, we realized that we have been blessed and it was such a blessing to be able to share the happiness with the children in Papua.

There are in total 2000 pairs of shoes that were produced from This Is April X Chelsea Islan, but we visit three places only and delivered 300 ourselves. The other 1700 pairs were delivered by Compassion which was collaborated with Langkah Kasih.

It was raining after we left Yosua Children Centre at Sinakma Wamena. So, we decided to stop by to have some warm coffee. Schop Coffee Shop which was located at Irian Street was said one of the best. It was a small coffee shop, they serve Wamena Coffee. It was one of the best moment as well. Good coffee, good people and we were at Papua. If you plan to visit Wamena, you might want to try another coffee shop too called Mukoko which is located just on the front of Wamena airport. They also sell Wamena Coffee Bean. There is also another place worth to visit called Hotel / Kafe Jerman, but we did not get the chance to visit because it took around 1.5 hours from central Wamena to get to the place. The view is great they say, but than we did not fully regret that we did not go because we went to a place which we can say Paradise.

The next day, we started early at 6.30 am and heading to Habema Lake, the highest lake in Indonesia located at 3225 meter above sea level. It was more than two hours drive, but it certainly was not boring at all. The view was literally breathtaking. We first stopped at an army basecamp at Napua District. We had to report our journey for safety reason. After that we drove to Habema Lake. We couldn’t help but to stop the car and enjoy the scenery. The clouds were like a blanket beneath our feet. It felt like the world above the clouds. Nothing really beats the beauty of nature.

Along the way, we see greens and trees and rainbow too. First time we thought Papua would be dry, but we were wrong. Papua is very fertile and has a lot of green scenery. We stopped at a landscape on 3300 m asl where we could see the whole Habema Lake below us. Habema Lake is 224.35 ha wide and 9.79 km in circumference. From here, we can see the peak of Trikora Mountain, which is the third highest peak in Jayapura Mountains after Puncak Jaya and Mandala.

We took a few pictures and shot some videos before leaving to another breathtaking spot. Oh yea, there is no toilet here. So, you have to go to behind bushes and rocks if you need to go to the toilet.

We drove another hour to Batas Batu or Papan Batu. The place is even higher up. If you can reach Habema with any car, to Batas Batu you need a 4 wheel drive cars. The place is very remote, we met some native Papua walking around wearing koteka and bringing a huge knife. It is common for them to bring knife around when leaving the house. Perhaps, like us always bringing our phone when leaving the house.

After an hour of super bumpy road and amazing view we arrived at 3400 meter above sea level, Batas Batu. It was 7 degree Celsius freezing, the wind was chilly which makes it feel even colder, yet the sun was shining fiercely. Most of us got sunburn, but you know tans and burns fade but memories last. So, it was beyond worth it.

We went up to the mountains of grey and white rocks. It was not hard but tricky since the rocks were so sharp. Once we got to the top, the view was oh so out of this world. The white and grey rocks looked like covered in snow from pictures taken. It actually does snow sometimes when it gets really cold.

We didn’t want to leave but we had to. We went back to our hotel and packed our things to fly back to Sentani the next morning. Our flight was supposed to be at 8 am by jet but there was a delay so we had to switch to a turboprop plane. The plane was a small non jet plane and the boarding pass was manually written. Some of us got a little nervous, but thank God the weather was great.

The ride was unexpectedly smooth and we arrived safely at Sentani after an hour flight. We had to wait for our luggage to arrive, which was sent with another plane. After our luggage arrived, we checked in at our hotel in Sentani. We went to this one place called Love Lake. It is called by the name love because it is a lake with a heart / love shape surrounded by green hills. It feels like you are in Teletubbies Hills. Its green grass and blue sky as far as your eyes can see. You need to experience it yourself to understand the magical feelings we felt inside. Even great pictures don’t absorb the beautiful vibe. We felt like little puppies who run around happily on green fields. For you who loves green landscapes, this is a must visit. You can just lay down and enjoy the grass scents. It is that beautiful.

We stayed there until dark and drove to Jayapura for dinner. We had dinner at a seafood restaurant by the Yos Sudarso Bay. It felt like you were in mini Hong Kong since there were buildings and pretty city lights surrounding the sea. It was very different from Wamena which we experienced the day before.
We flew back to Jakarta with an early flight the next day. We bought Roti Abon and Wamena Coffee bean for souvenirs. For those of you who loves to travel, Papua should be in your bucket list.
 
We went to Papua to fulfill the mission to deliver 2000 pairs of shoes for children in Papua from This Is April X Chelsea Islan, but we came home with more blessing from the humbling and amazing experiences we had.

“Spread love and compassion. Not hate and ignorance. Together let’s make the world a better place”

Written by Jasmine Jawie
Picts by Sri Wahyuni, Bruno Oktavian DS, Adi Chandra and Jasmine Jawie

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