Authors: Jose Gabriel Macion & June Park
The Fish Market
(Image Source: Jose Gabriel Macion)
Shark hunting has always been a controversial and debatable issue in the marine industry. Different arguments regarding ethics and morality are being debated to this point. However, our visit to Indonesia gave us the opportunity to look at the story from both sides of the spectrum. Many people believed that the shark market was disgusting, hideous and unethical in every sort of way, but when we heard the stories of the local fishermen and women who worked in that area, our minds opened up to the situation.
One local we interviewed is 60 years old. Now, we may all criticize the ethics and the morality of what they are doing, but for most of the people working there at least, they work there because they have to. According to the locals, the marine industry in Indonesia is one that gives many opportunities to its workers, men and women alike. To most of the locals, the jobs that the marine industry of Indonesia offers is the most beneficial, not only to them but to their families as well. These people work in that market for at least 9 hours a day. The horrible and disgusting conditions that we can’t bare to be exposed to are conditions that they have had to endure just to get enough money for themselves and their family
If you ask most of the grade 11s, they will probably tell you that the fish market was the worst part of the trip. The stench of the market sticking onto our clothes after the visit is one factor that will probably influence that answer. However, despite all of this there is one thing that can’t be denied and that is the amount of respect that the workers there deserve. At the fish market, we had the opportunity to interact with people who were willing to give sweat and blood for their families. The stench nor the conditions didn’t matter to them, what mattered was that they needed to work hard enough to feed themselves and their families. The fish market may not have been my favorite place, but it is the place where I gained respect for a group of people whose hard work and grit made them deserve so much more.
Bond with the locals
This trip not only enlightened our views on a global issue, but it also gave us the opportunity to get to know the people who lived and worked there. The people we got to interact with are all extremely hospitable and friendly. In fact, our interactions with the people are one of the reasons why this trip is so memorable.
The first interaction I would like to share is our interaction with the students from the local school. I learned a lot from our visit from the school. Now, it should be noted that none of the students knew how to speak English, thus we found a different way to get to know the students and that was through sports. Once we brought out the football and the basketball, we all clicked instantaneously. It Mr. Dixon’s words “Sports transcends language” and it was true. We all came from different cultural backgrounds, but we all found a way to connect with each other despite that. Additionally, the students were very social and were not shy at all. In fact, the activity they enjoyed the most was taking pictures with us. At the end of the day, we had to leave the school early because it was too chaotic. However, our interactions with the students made me realize one thing. In society today people are always fighting over things and sometimes the reason is that different cultural backgrounds and practices clash with others. However, it doesn’t always have to be that way. In interacting with the students we found a way to communicate, we turned our cultural differences into a bridge that connected us rather than a wall that could have separated us. If we applied this in many other situations, then perhaps the world would become a simpler place.
The second interaction could also be considered one of the most memorable parts of the trip. That interaction is one we had with the local children who we always met at one of the restaurants we usually went to for dinner. There was one whom we enjoyed talking to the most. His name is Alexander and our conversations with him became one of the best moments of the trip. We enjoyed his company, to the point where going to the restaurant was the most anticipated part of each day. We all enjoyed his company and I think that he enjoyed ours as well. On our last day, he was extremely emotional when he found out we were leaving. As a farewell gift, he and the other children all gave us handmade bracelets. Alexander and the other children are extremely young and cheerful despite living in poverty. Meeting those children was a humbling and enlightening experience because it made me realize that if these children can experience so much at a young age and still find it in them to smile and make the best out of their lives, then we can too. Life is a challenge and as students who haven’t even finished school yet, we’re probably going to go through so much more. However, despite the uncertainty of the future perhaps we can learn to take a lesson from these kids and face these trials with our heads high and a smile on our faces.
(Image Source: Riza Yamazaki)
We had a lot of free time during this trip and this gave us the opportunity to enjoy and explore a country most of us had never been to before. During my free time, I got to enjoy the beach with several of my friends. It’s refreshing and rejuvenating to go for a swim after a hard day’s work or just go out and breath in the fresh air. It was a great experience to just enjoy the place and each other’s company during our free time. We had little to no worries and in the process, I believe we grew closer and made new friendships. Just enjoying all the new things Indonesia had to offer was amazing because in the process we made memories and bonds that we will continue to enjoy and remember for possibly the rest of our lives.
Our Week Without Walls trip to Lombok, Indonesia was an amazing experience. Through the fish market, I gained knowledge that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. In my interactions with the locals, I got enlightenment to always work hard despite whatever life may give me. Finally, in just enjoying Lombok’s beaches I learned to admire the beauty and the serenity of a country I was never familiar with before. This Week Without Walls trip fell on my birthday week, and I have to say that it was one of the best coincidences that could ever exist because it made the trip and the memories I gained mean so much more. I’m in grade 11 and while the time for all of us to separate and head towards the future is close, this trip gave me and many other students the opportunity to learn, appreciate and enjoy everything this trip had to offer. That’s my story in experiencing the wonders of Lombok.