From Captain Budi’s first trip to provide aid to the East Timor refugees in 2000:
We have no plan at all to build an orphanage in Timor.
But as our trips to the refugee’s camp, we saw so much and so many poverty along the road. To help out others is not necessary to be some one you know or your own people. We are thinking that we should help out others who need help, no matter who they are. We will spoil the word help if you are choosing to whom we should help. Based on the facts that we were seeing, we decided to build one orphanage in Timor Island.
The reason we went to help out the East Timor refugees:
We were having our dinner together in Singapore then suddenly the television was showing a report about the East Timor refugees.
It was a very bad seen that we watched and my wife and I were thinking about how can anyone able to help or to ease their burden in life?
Both of us were praying that night then we were start talking about them.
I told my wife that my leave is coming in 40 days time and what about if we pay them a visit.
That night I started to make an email to my friends and letting them know about my plan and the trip to the refugee’s camp. I finished writing the e mail at 05:00 AM (from 23:00 PM).
The first respond was at 06:00 AM and this friend was willing to give me 2000 USD to support the planned trip (an Indonesian Chinese who is now living in Australia). We did manage collecting use clothing, toys, food supplement, baby’s equipment, shoes, blankets etc. A total of about one ton of goods were collected in Singapore then the new problem was rising.
How can we bring them across to Timor?
We tried to calculate how much money will be needed just to bring the goods across by plane and by ship. Out of the blue a friend suggested me to contact a person who is in charge as a station manager of Singapore Airlines. Singapore Airlines is a very good company with its cost management.
How in the world we can ask for help (a very big favor) to bring the goods across at a reduced tariff. With God’s blessings things are possible, we did not only have a reduced tariff but we were given 100% free to send them across to Jakarta.
From Jakarta we did buy a lot more goods like soap, tooth paste, candies, eggs, instant noodle, snacks, baby milk powder, medicines for external use, green beans, sugar and a lot more.
As we did the buying spree, we started again to think how we can bring them to the refugee’s camp locations. Another friend reminded us that his brother is the second man on shipping company (passengers and cargo). We did contact him and another miracle as given to us.
He did not talk much nor asked us many questions about what we were doing. He just asked us how much cargo is required to be transported.
I said about 6 tons from Jakarta then he told us that he will make sure that at least we will be given 10 tons of free cargo. From Jakarta to Timor is about 1500 miles.
My self , my wife , my 3 children , a volunteer from London and my 6 employees are coming along to Timor by ship . It took us 3, 5 days to reach the port of Tenau (a port in West Timor).
At Kupang city we bought a lot of rice, more green bean, sugar, instant noodle, corn, flour, cough syrup, Malaria tablets, eggs etc.
The final preparations were 51 hours without any sleep at all, by 25 people day and night.
Two trucks of 14 tons each were full and two other vans were ready at 02:00 AM.
The journey was calculated about 5 hours previously but with full load we made to the place only after 9 grueling hours. We went to a catholic church for a direction and two pastors were escorting us to the locations.
We did all the distributions directly by our selves, directly to the refugees and nothing was missing in between. We did start the distribution from 13:00 PM to 21:00PM without any rest.
The locations were very popular as the place where people were killed or the place where the militia were working. With God’s protections we were feeling so secure and nothing has ever happened to any of us (at that time my son wasn’t even 4 years old yet).
The trip back was quite scary one as one of the truck was running out of fuel and we must stopped in the middle of no where in the dark with no food to our self and water to drink.
At about 03:00 AM, from no where God sent us a truck with good hearted driver and stopping for us. Another miracle happened again, he did not only stop for us but he is willing to share his fuel to us for free of charge and having enough fuel to the fuel station, Praise the Lord.
The returning journey was about 11 hours as we have to stop for the fuel problem.
We reached the hotel in Kupang city (we rented rooms in the hotel that we actually never been slept in it), we washed our faces and off to the airport and return to Jakarta via Bali with Merpati airlines ( we made the airport 5 minutes from the dead line).
. We arrived at our home in Jakarta at 22:00 PM, drink water or some were drinking hot chocolate before we all went to bed.
We slept nonstop for a long time for the first time in 12 days and woke up the next day at 14:00 PM (the tiredness was really making us sleeping for very long time).
The trip back to Singapore was a great one as all of us were able to get a seat in the first class on Singapore Airlines.
Started with no plans , after watching the television report in Singapore , we did complete the trip to the refugee’s camps , bringing the needed help and return to Singapore in 40 days time. The trip it self took 12 days.
Based on the conditions that were existing during that period in Timor, there weren’t any kind of organization or government structure for the East Timorese.
For me visiting the East Timor refugee camps were rather risky and dangerous.
After careful evaluation my wife and I were considering to build an orphanage in West Timor. Basically we should help the people who need our help regardless who they are.
Peggy was given a notice by her aunt that there was one orphanage was about to closed as the care takers weren’t able to sustain its financial burden. Many of the children were suffering from illnesses and hungry. We pick up some of them and we rented a house to host them for a year before our orphanage is completely built.
The two children who are still with us are Michael and Prity (both are 4 years old and ready to go to school by January 2005). Some of the children were given to their close relatives that we found for them.
The was a time when many orphanages were facing the difficult time when the financial crisis in 1998 on wards ( the regular donations were stopped as the businesses were collapsed), abandoned babies were quite common and it was so sad to hear that it was really happening.
That is why we decided to build the orphanage in West Timor (to host some of the abandoned babies).