I started my blog Patah Tumbuh in 2013. “Patah” means broken. “Tumbuh” means to grow. I decided to use the name to symbolize the coming and going of generations. I care about young generation. Unable to contribute anything financially, I try my best to show my love through Patah Tumbuh (Patahtumbuh). I write what little knowledge, informations, and wisdom that I have. As time goes by, Patahtumbuh becomes a crucial part of me. It becomes my identity. Patahtumbuh is me, I am Patahtumbuh.
About a year ago, I read on my friend’s timeline about a young couple from Jakarta who lived and worked as volunteers with young kids in a secluded village in Papua, the furthest eastern part of Indonesia. I was deeply moved and their story has remained in my mind for a long time. What they were doing was once my dream.
After living in Taiwan for 20 years, finally I got a chance to learn Mandarin more seriously. I started going to a Community College near my house. My classmates are migrants from various countries in the world. After several months, our teacher told us to write a short composition about how we ended up in Taiwan. Someone at the college office suggested that my teacher send the writings to a photo essay contest themed “We are Family” held by a government organization.
I wasn’t very enthusiastic, knowing that a new student like me had no hope of winning a writing contest. But then I changed my mind. In my understanding then, the winner was the one who got the most votes. I began to ask for some friends’ help. Although most didn’t understand what I wrote, they voted for me.
When I learned that the winner would get a prize of five thousand NTD, I began to daydream what I would do with the money should I win.
I told my Taiwanese sister in law about my dream and she in turn told her friends about it. I also told two of my best friends, A and B, “It was my dream since a long time ago to help young children’s education, especially in marginalized areas in Indonesia. Up to now, I haven't been financially capable of doing so, partly because of my responsibility as a stay-at-home wife and a mother of four. If I win this five thousand NTD, it will be my first earning after 20 years.” I also told them that I would use the money as a foundation to start “Patah Tumbuh Peduli” ( “Patah Tumbuh Cares”) , a non-profit organization. Maybe I would be the only member initially. I told them that I would send the money to those in need. Saying that, I was thinking about the couple I read about a year ago and the kids in Papua.
A asked, "And then what? After you send the money, where else will you get funds for PTP (Patah Tumbuh Peduli)?"
I said, "I am not sure. Maybe I will start finding a job… selling things, writing books, or maybe I will get donations. People who know me will trust me. I am going to have a transparent account on whatever happens to the money they donate. I believe God will provide a way. The most important thing now is to win this contest."
The three of us became quiet for a moment.
The next day my sister in law called and said, "Rose! My friends said if you win that contest and decide to send the money, they would like to contribute a little too."
I exclaimed with joy, " Whoaaa, thanks a lot, Sis!"
I immediately called my friend A to tell her about it, “Look how God provides for me. I haven’t even won yet and there is someone has promised to contribute already.”
A couple of days later our Mandarin class had an end-of-semester potluck.
When we were eating, my teacher asked me if I wanted to teach Indonesian language there at the Community College. I said sure. She then introduced me to the college’s administrative assistant and I was told to fill in an application form online. Although there was no guarantee that I would be accepted but there was hope, right?
I also had to compose an eighteen-week syllabus. I was working on my first week “Knowing Indonesia” when a facebook friend told me he wanted to send me a book titled “This is Jakarta”. I was shocked. He didn’t know a thing about what was happening to me around that time. He didn't know about my dreams, my plans, or what I was doing at that exact time. I instantly prayed, "Lord, You really want me to do this, don’t You? "
At about the same time, I found out that the winner prize was not money. I felt a little bit disappointed and shared that with my friend B and my husband. I also told my husband that if I really became a teacher, I would need a notebook. I didn’t have one. He told me I could use his.
The next evening my husband went to an annual event at the hospital where he works to dine and attend the drawing of prizes for the hospital employees. While still there, he sent me a picture of him receiving a notebook! I replied him, "God knows I need a notebook.” He has to give me his prize later. LOL.
Then I called my mother in Indonesia. She said, “When you have a good intention, then all that is good will come to you so that your intention will come true.”
On Januray 17th, 2019 I received my prize - a lamp. I was grateful and thought of it as a sign that I had to be a light for those in the dark.
Several days after that I got a message from B. She told me she had been thinking about what I said and wanted to stop by to contribute something for PTP. She did come and brought me an envelope. After she went home, I opened it to find NTD5,000. Later my SIL added NTD5,500 from her and her friends.
All started from my blog that I meant as a media to share knowledge. The Mandarin class I attended was next, followed by the event the Taiwan government held to show their welcome to migrants with the motto “We are Family”.
You, me, Papuan people, all Indonesian kids, and all this planet’s population are family.