How I Live in the Midst of the Forest

How I Live in the Midst of the ForestFor 1 year and 3 months I served as a doctor of PTT in Bintuni Bay, West Papua. 1 year I serve in Bintuni Bay District and the remaining 3 months I serve in Puskesmas Tuhiba, one of the districts in Bintuni. Tuhiba District is approximately 20 kilometers from the city of Bintuni by road trip, up towards the mountain.

Access to Tuhiba in the form of sand roads or land is relatively good when the weather is sunny, but so nestapa when the rainy weather. The journey that should be taken within 1 hour ride motorcycle taxi, could be 2-3 hours with ojek ride down alias must walk partly through the mud.

But Tuhiba district is one of the closest districts of the city of Bintuni, so this is still nothing compared to my other colleagues.

In Tuhiba, electricity only lights up 12 hours a day with diesel power. Starting from dark start until dawn approximately at 5 am.

No citizen owns his own generator. Only puskesmas have generators but that is already damaged. Moreover, expensive fuel is so inefficient using the generator for operational puskesmas.

There was almost no signal at all except on the veranda of the PLN employee's house, near the left-hand column.

For water problems, there are several wells in the village. 1 well could be used for several houses together but the well water is also usually become cloudy when it rains so I prefer to use rain water.

To go to Tuhiba, I already have a motorcycle taxi (thanks to info from Tuhiba doctors before). His name is Pak Akis. He is a motorcycle taxi specialist access road. The motor has been modified, the tires have been replaced racing in order to pass all kinds of obstacles to the mountain.

His skills can I say beat the athlete motocross or downhill because he can pass through the mud area, which I think is impossible to pass smoothly without making me have to get off the bike. Do not forget not only I carry it, but also all my luggage: 1 gallon water, 1 egg shelf, my other food ingredients and drugs. It costs only 50 thousand rupiah if to Tuhiba.

In Tuhiba, there is only one food stall, selling meatballs. So for my daily meals I have to cook myself. Yups, this may be a bit of a shock to people. Even including my own friends, because from the outside appearance I look like a person who when cooking water was burnt. I have to admit, cooking is not my hobby. I do not have the patience of a la masterchef to decorate my plate, but I can really cook. For me, the most important thing I can eat (without making me diarrhea or poisoning). I started learning to cook while I was in college. Initially it was horror, cook kale not quite cooked, cook soup taste chinese medicine, but gradually assisted by Chef Farah Quinn, I started to cook. Until that time I had to live in Tuhiba forest, I was able to feed myself.

Another ability that is enough to help me there is the ability to communicate well. The well I can use is about 50 meters from my official home. My body is small, I can not afford if I have to go back and forth to lift a bucket of water for my bathing needs. So I asked the local people for help to repair the water pump belonging to the puskesmas, so that it could be connected directly to the bathroom of my official house. In addition I also ask for a tap on the profile tank behind my official house so I can use the rain water that is stored there. As a result, I have 2 sources of water that I can use.I also asked for help from the head of my health center so that her daughter would sleep in my house to accompany me. Frankly, I was afraid to live alone in a service house in the middle of the forest.

Just imagine if I can not communicate all my problems and find solutions with the help of local people. Maybe my body is already muscular because every day have to lift a bucket of water and I have good friends with gendruwo or kuntilanak from Tuhiba forest.

Another capability that is not less important is the ability to find activities. The operational hours of puskesmas Tuhiba are usually between 8 am and 12 noon. After the puskesmas closes, I have to look for busy so as not to get bored in the house without electricity until Maghrib later. I usually read many books because reading is one of my hobbies. Sometimes I sew a crossstitch for a tablecloth or pillowcase at home. If the afternoon is not too hot I gardening, planting cassava, yam or kale. Yes, it's good for me to cook if the vegetables that I brought from the city is up. If the electricity is on, then I can watch television.

Actually living in the interior as in Tuhiba is very pleasant. The atmosphere is very calm. No one is rushing or working hastily because time is not money there. Time is lived with as necessary, as needed, as per its convenience. Everyone knows each other, everyone is willing to help each other. But I usually can not stay too long there, with regard to groceries. Usually within 2 weeks my groceries are gone so I have to go back to town. So, a day or two days before my plan to return to the city, I will stop by the PLN employee's house, look for signals on the porch of his house near the left post to contact Mr. Akis to pick me up again.

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