One of the side stories of the great Indonesian Independence Day celebrations is that I met the students from a local Maritime Academy. I was wondering about waiting for morning celebration to begin and spotted some young people sporting spotless white naval type uniforms. If you want to meet young Indonesians just break out a camera, instantly I was in a crowd of gleaming faces and white uniforms.
The instructor introduced himself and we chatted a bit, as he proudly lined up his squadron for the ceremony. After the event we talked more, one thing to another and I was ferrying the class to Furthur, six students at a time. The very polite and inquisitive kids took tours of Furthur one group at a time, eighteen students in all. Back on Land they invited me to the school the next day.
The instructor, Vinsomsius, picked me up on his motorbike, took me to the Catholic school and showed me the grounds. They have three academies; maritime, engineering and tourism. I was so impressed with what they were doing with so little resources. Their electronics display housed antique gear, an 80’s vintage fish finder, HF radio, two sextants, a box compass, and a GPS receiver.
I instantly wanted to be some part of this; it was such an opportunity to help young people eagerly learning the world I love. The kids are beaming with enthusiasm. It was agreed that I could teach a class the next day. What an opportunity I was given!
Pondering what to teach, and how to communicate with a class of non-English speaking kids, I came up with an idea to teach them how a GPS works. I place the globe on a table and had three students be the satellites orbiting the earth. Then on the white board I drew how the lines from the satellites intercept to designate a location. I then moved the boat on the drawing and showed how the GPS tracked the boat. We did a route and figured the time to travel.
I had interrupted a math class, being taught by a young Indonesian lady, I told the kids if they learned the math they could navigate, the teacher seemed to appreciate the pitch.
I then showed them the route of Furthur on the globe and we talked about the trip across the Pacific. The translator did a great job
and the kids were so eager to hear of my tales. I have been asked to teach another class and this weekend I will take some of the students out on Furthur. I have been searching for a way to “pay it forward” for all the great times I have had in Indonesia so I am grateful for this opportunity.
It is amazing how they are teaching these great kids with such limited resources. The engineering area had two old engines to work on, two sets of wrenches and some other random tools, not much. Yet the kids are learning and fast, they asked good questions and seemed to drink of the fountain of knowledge. I commend the instructor and the effort they are putting out. These kids are the future of Indonesia’s maritime industry and if the smiles I saw today are any indication, the future is bright.