A phone rings and a man speaking in English, claiming to be from the environmental office of Jogja says to have read about our project from the newspaper and is interested in meeting us to discuss possible ways of collaboration. Wow, from the government! Calling us! Want to help and support the program. That kind of attention doesn’t fall on us every day and naturally we are flattered.
We meet up, they show great concern, they appreciate our struggle, promise to give their best to make it work and we agree mutually that they will become the leading force of our logistics compartment. They promise to find us one representative who will follow our meetings.
During our next get-together a silent girl hidden under a headscarf appears from the city office. She hardly says a word during the whole discussion but only smiles in agreement to what ever anyone says. Only when it’s time to talk about the recycling system of the city, her voice raises, she tosses a few brochures in front of us and starts elucidating Jogja’s garbage reuse ideas.
“First, a waste truck comes and collects bags from the houses. It will then be proceeded to the landfill where recycling process starts…”
Then the girl turns the page and our eyes grow boiling red. A huge pile of trash, cows and coats walking on it, is presented as something to be proud of.
“…Then the neighbourhood people bring their animals to the landfill, who start eating the organic waste.”
A cow with a plastic bag in its mouth looks at me from the picture.
And how could a cow tell a difference, which is organic and which non-organic? And if the cow eats plastic and later we will eat the cow? These questions flew the little girl to the world of question marks for a moment, but she didn’t float there for too long:
“This system has worked for years,” we hear as an answer as if it made clear everything.
Despite all the girl promises to draft a budget concerning the logistics of collecting the trash and hand it in in 2 weeks time.
Pic taken from Dora’s FB wall
Two weeks have passed, but there are no news from the Jogja environmental office. The same time our faith in their wish to do something diminishes in seconds. We walk into one of their cabinets and see the everyday life of officials. In a large classroom type of space at some empty tables a few people are sitting down. One reads a magazine, one stares at a fly, one plays tetris with her phone and the rest two gulp down greasy burgers.
“Oh, sorry, we haven’t had time yet to deal with the budget!” one of them murmurs through his beard.
Another week passes and our souls get anxious. I send a SMS.
“What about the budget, is it getting ready?”
and I receive as an answer “Ready! It’s 27 000 ruupias”.
Yes, indeed, the local government offered us a budget as big as 3 euros after a 3 week waiting. So there was nothing else left to do than to grab the pen and paper, figure an approximate cost of human resources, trucks and gas, guess the amount of waste in the whole city and put it all together ourselves.
“187 000 000 seems fine?”
** Read how it really works: http://www.letsdoitworld.org and do not get discouraged by my subjective blog posts about leading the project. The stories are intended to be entertaining, therefore I will mostly describe the conflicts instead of successful moments, which there were plenty as well. How ever it all sounds to you, I still believe this one one truly amazing project and should be carried out in all parts of the world. Hopefully, with your help.