Sunday, September 18, 2011

INDO DIARIES 2010 - Wednesday 14th July - GOODBYE P-WEC! (1)

The foul mood and slight sickness (on Ian's sniffly part) continued. We woke to the early music from the village, raging and feeling very trapped and confused. We had no idea what to do. Any attempts we had made to organise a trip into town took hours to knock down the walls of resilience and responsibility.

This morning, we had finally made a plan to go to Malang with Asti; to go to Pro Fauna, print some pictures, buy some materials (with our money) and get the work done finally. We went down to breakfast - I knew it would be a great day.Even just one morning in Malang would provide a much needed change of scenery.

Rosek, the founder of the organisation was in the food hall. I wondered why. I offered him water which he refused, but he sat with us at our table ad rudely chatted to Asti in  Indonesian (he speaks good English...).

Ian had 'a look' in his eye and I could tell that something was about to unravel.

'We still haven't received your money, so we want you to pay again and if the money comes, we will send it to you.'

Basically, to volunteer with any organisation, you pay a nominal fee that usually covers expenses such as food & accommodation.

Actually, Rosek had brought up the issue of the money since day one (I didn't write about it as I didn't deem it necessary.) I paid the money later than I should have, but I made a money transfer at the Post Office near my work 2 weeks before my departure. Stupidly, the receipt was in Japan, or at least I hoped it could have been thrown out with some many other bits of paper....

Anyway, in the first four days I was at P wec, I had run up a huge bill calling Ian to ask him to locate the receipt. I knew I had paid it. And, each time I saw a member of staff, I asked if they had located the money, but to no avail.

And, here I was, at the breakfast table being given no chance. What did they think - we were made of money?? I have come to learnt that there is a certain type of person in Indonesia who seems to think that the foreigners are rich. (See my post on HAWKERS). Of course, this is not true. We had worked so hard to save the money for this trip, and after the success of my Kalaweit volunteering trip, I was so excited to be able to volunteer again. But, here we were, sat with Rosek, who wanted us to pay again. Sure, we had spending money for the trip - we were away for a month, but would we really carry extra cash with us like this???

I was mortified. I had promised to sort it when I got back to Japan, and of course I couldn't do anything from the jungle location we were sat in, but this was not good enough for Rosek. Oh, can I mention here that his wife, Mate is in charge of the finances? She seemed all friendly when I met her, but now I can see she is as deviant as her husband. All he cared about was the money. I was close to tears, but held them back to be strong.

As we ate our breakfast, very reluctantly at this point, Rosek had the cheek to inform us that the next week, we would be 'trained' for the outbound activities (the outdoor area of activities that includes the flying fox etc). Once again, while I am happy to help a cause, I did not come to Indonesia to learn how to harness people to jump off a ledge.

Inside one of the rooms at the Mess Parrot
Read a little more about my arrive - My first day
There's more - He then told me that all the vehicles were being used by the 'guests' to P wec (they were going to Bromo Mountain, a trip he overcharges for, naturally.) Remember the move we had helped with? Well, it was the Chiness investors of P wec who were coming to stay and they needed a nice hut. Interestingly enough, the Mess Parrot was available, but perhaps the idea of shifting furniture appealed a whole lot more.

I was livid at this point. I can understand the need to look after the investors, but to do it at the cost of the volunteers and the people who actually want to come and physically HELP...?!?! It is such a shame because Rosek has turned a great idea (the charity of Pro Fauna & animal rescue) into a hideous money making enterprise (P wec) and even has the cheek to label it with the popular term 'Eco tourism'. Of course you would want to visit it. The centre at P wec had nothing to do with animals save the cages at the back but I was never allowed to interact only sneak a few photos in when no one was looking.

As I sat there in disbelief, I was certain that one of the 'nice' members of kitchen staff walked past me with a scowl.

OK, this was the wake up call. We excused ourselves form the breakfast table. We left on the pretence of going to the village. Both Ian and I had made our decision. We didn't even need to share it. We were leaving, and we were leaving today.

We still felt trapped but, as we started talking, we realised we could ad would figure a way out of this. They knew we had transferred the money. Why would we have flown to Indonesia to VOLUNTEER if we were freeloaders. it simply does not make sense.

We were thinking we could sneak our bags to the front of the P wec compound and order us a taxi out of there (how? we knew no number.)

I was prepared to walk the estimated 3 hours to Malang! That is how badly we wanted out of this.

Back at the room, we threw everything into our bags. Ian suggested roping Asti helping us. She could take a day off and help us get the taxi. He did try, but any talk to anyone at pwec resulted in our words hitting brick walls. We carried on packing.

Then Rosek appeared and spoke to Asti (not us) saying he wanted the money by Thursday (!) I lost it. I didn't want poor Asti to be in the middle but as I cried and complained, she found herself having to translate to Rosek, who could very well understand in any case.

I told him that it was pointless us being at Pwec. Nothing had been done to prepare for our arrival. Even the volunteer co ordinator had never been around to actually co ordinate anything. Our schedules had changed and we were not doing anything worthwhile to help. I had come for the animals and not even worked with any.

Surprisingly, the message was understood and Asti reasoned with him that we should go into Malang and visit Butet, the volunteer co ordinator.

We were told that there was another scooter driver available. Actually it was his day off, but like ALL of the other P wec staff, he had to come in and do the garden (interesting how they are pruning everything for these investors...).

So the plan was for us to head into town on the back of two scooters.....Phew. Malang, here we come.

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