FAILING harvesting has certainly been a major blow for millions of people in East Sumba Island, where their corns’ crops suffered from harvesting. And this kind of bad situation has been taking place since September 2011, as hundreds of villagers in the region might have experience another major but also tragic blow: famine.
Speaking to his catholic congregation and his priests in Pangkal Pinang Diocese of Bangka Island off Sumatra Island, Pangkal Pinang Bishop Msgr Hilarius said that this is the time when universal solidarity among fellow Indonesian citizens should be materialized. Father Hans Jeharut Pr –a local diocesan priest in the diocese—circulated the message to all members of Kelompok Bakti Kasih Kemanusiaan (KBKK) through their mailing lists.
And the respond was positive.
As Catholics in West Sumba Island has manifested their compassion with their fellow Sumbanese residents in the East through the so-called “One Glass of Rice for East Sumba”, KBKK here in Jakarta has showed their strong commitment to extend their helping hands for this program.
Sumba Island is situated within one hour of flying from Denpasar of Bali. In Sumba Island, there is only one diocese namely Weetebula Diocese with Msgr. Dr. Edmund Woga CSsR. Comments from the bishop is not available.
When Father Jeharut’s personal message circulated into KBKK’s internal mailing lists, scores of KBKK’s members initiated to materialize their compassionate commitment through charity donation.
The move is very spontaneous. However, the response is very good. Despite they managed to collect money worth of 21 millions (US$2000) within days, KBKK also urged their members and all Catholics to provide rice.
“No need to collect huge provision of rice for this purpose. Let’s do first things first to materialize our compassion for East Sumba’s famine victims,” KBKK’s chief Dr. Irene Setiadi shared her idea to scores of Catholics.
Among the most easiest to do to achieve the mission, she said to AsiaNews recently, is collecting one-full glass of rice everyday worth of “only” 2,000 Indonesian rupiahs/IDR (US$1,9). If every catholic could materialize this “charity project” within 30 days, explained this Germany-graduated dermatologist, “Each family could collect at least 5 kilograms of rice worth of 60 thousands IDR”.
Charity project to Sumba Island is just a spontaneous move performed by KBKK to extend their helping hands to others.
Earlier on mid January, KBKK also set a charity mission to Manado Diocese to extend medical and pastoral services to remotes islands in North Sulawesi Province.
But unlike previous charity missions to scores of remote areas across Indonesia, last January’s mission by KBKK to Manado Diocese has garnered much appreciation from both internal participants and local residents in North Sulawesi.
“Last January’s charity mission to Manado Diocese was performed by 33 participants coming not only from Jakarta and its surrounding; but members are also coming from 8 dioceses across the country including Padang in West Sumatra, Denpasar in Bali, Nabire/Timika in Papua, Kupang in East Nusa Tenggara, Pangkal Pinang in Bangka-Belitung,” said Irene Setiadi to AsiaNews early this week.
Manado’s charity mission might be also the most “colorful” group ever dispatched by KBKK to perform their mission to extend helping hands to others. There was not only catholic lay persons, but also priests, professionals, and bishop.
Manado Bishop Msgr. Yos Suwatan has extended his appreciation to KBKK when a festive mass was performed to celebrate 25th anniversary of priesthood of Father Terry Ponomban Pr –a local diocesan priest— along with his fellow priests celebrating their 25th priesthood in the diocese.
Father Ponomban was the former director of apostolate commission in the Indonesian Bishops of Conference (KWI) and he is also known as the co-founder of KBKK.
This late February 2012 will be another charity mission to perform by KBKK in Cepu of Central Java.
Photo credit by Ingrid Barata