I wake early in the morning and am surprised to see that Quentin is not in bed, nor is he hogging the bathroom. I can hear soft chattering coming from the verandah and I go to see what’s going on. Aunt Kathy, Uncle Peter and Quentin are all sitting in the deck chairs talking. Quentin still looks slightly pale and rather tired, but at least he isn’t throwing up anymore.
It’s decided that we are going to spend a quiet day at the hotel, lazing by the pool and maybe going for a massage. I tell Quentin about the orphanage Uncle Peter and I visited yesterday and he seems really interested and asks Uncle Peter if he can go there too. Aunt Kathy tells us that we will be going to another orphanage tomorrow, if Quentin is feeling up to it.
We talk a lot about how the Indonesian orphans have to live, relying on donations for clothing, food and even schooling. Aunt Kathy explains that the orphanage we will be visiting tomorrow is up in the hills and a much further drive away. She tells us that this orphanage is much poorer than the one Uncle Peter and I visited yesterday and that many of the kids there don’t have any family at all.
Quentin and I start talking about ways we can help the orphans and decide to put our spending money together and buy some food and essentials for them. Aunt Kathy and Uncle Peter love our idea and suggest that we go on a big shopping trip before heading out to the orphanage, but they want us to save our money and so they offer to pay for the groceries for us.
I’m really excited about it, so I grab a pen and a notebook from the suite and start writing a list of things we should buy, while Quentin and Uncle Peter go for a swim in the pool. Later, we all go for a walk down to the local massage place. Uncle Peter decides to have a back massage, while the rest of us settle with a foot massage. The ladies come over with their little stools and start preparing to massage our feet. The lady who comes over to me looks incredibly young, I doubt she would be any older than myself.
I ask her how old she is and she smiles and shakes her head, before looking over at one of the other ladies, who translates my question into Indonesian for her before telling me that the girl is 13. She is barely two years older than me. I chat with the girl while she massages my feet, with the help of the other lady who translates our conversation for us. The girls name is Eka and she is the eldest of nine children. Her family live together in a two bedroom house and she is working to help pay for food and bills for the family since her mum got sick. Eka has never gone to school and of the nine children in her family, only two have ever been to school, as schooling is very expensive and the family has not had the money.
When we leave the massage place, Aunt Kathy gives the girl a tip and she smiles appreciatively, then says “Tiramikasi” while holding the palms of her hands together in front of her as though she is praying, which Uncle Peter says means thank you. Quentin and I spend the afternoon talking about school and what we would miss about it if we never had the chance to go. At first we both think it would be awesome not having to go to school, but then Aunt Kathy reminds us that all our friends are at school and we wouldn’t know how to read and write or count money, which would mean we wouldn’t be able to read books or know what change to get when we buy toys or lollies.
Aunt Kathy explains to us that by not going to school and getting an education, children in places like Indonesia grow up unable to get good jobs and earn money to support themselves and their families. In Australia the government helps people who are unable to earn enough money to pay for accomodation or to eat, but in Indonesia, if you don’t have a job and work for money, then you go hungry or become homeless. She says that people like Eka are very lucky to be offered a job without an education and most children aren’t as lucky as her.
I think about all the children at the orphanage that Uncle Peter and I visited and wonder how many of them would get to go to school. How many of them will grow up to be homeless or go hungry?
I want to do something to help them, but I don’t know what. After all, I am just one girl on my own so nothing I do would make enough of a difference. I can’t stop thinking about it though, so I try to do some brainstorming on ways to help orphans and children like Eka to be able to go to school. Some of the ideas I come up with are really stupid, like stealing a plane and bringing them all to Australia, which would never work. But some of my ideas aren’t too bad, like running some fundraising programs back at home, maybe with the help of my school, to help raise some money to help pay for schooling to children in Indonesia.
Later I tell Uncle Peter and Aunt Kathy of my ideas and they seem really impressed. Quentin wants to help and together we all try to think of a name for the program. Quentin wants to call it Schools Cool, but I don’t like it, mainly because most kids my age don’t like school and would likely laugh at anything with such a silly name, but I don’t tell Quentin that, because I don’t want to hurt his feelings, so instead I just tell him I want it sound a little more professional than that.
Uncle Peter mentions that Indonesia is not the only country where there are children unable to go to school and tells us about his travels to Africa when he was younger, when he went to some of the rural areas where people lived in mud huts and had no water. He tells us about a little boy he met while he was there, who also had no parents or family and he wanted to go to school so badly that he would sit outside the classroom door and try to listen in on the teachings.
I daydream about how wonderful it would be to raise enough money to send children like that to school and decide that the fundraising I do won’t just be for Indonesia, but for any children who live in a third world country and are unable to go to school for whatever reason. All children should be able to get an education so they can get a job and have enough money to eat.
We all stay up a little later than usual, brainstorming ways to raise money, names for the organisation and the things we would need to do to get it up and running properly. Aunt Kathy knows a lot about business and talks about registering the name and licenses we would need to get donations or run raffles and such things. It sounds like a lot of work and I start to feel a little disheartened, thinking it’s way too much work for one person, but Aunt Kathy doesn’t agree.
“For starters, you don’t have to do it all on your own, Uncle Peter and I will help you as much as we can and I’m sure Quentin will too.” Quentin nods enthusiastically. “Not only that, but if you have the attitude that you can’t make a difference in the world because you are only one person, you will never get anywhere in life. Everything advancement in this world, every difference that has been made, every major advancement, has begun with just one person.” She holds up a single finger, looking at me seriously. “Never think you can’t make a difference to the world, because the more you think that, the more it will be true. It only takes one person with an idea to change the world and you should always strive to be that person.”
I smile and hold my head high. “Oh I will Aunt Kathy, I will be the person to make a difference.”