Outdoor Education in Papua

Mission Aviation Fellowship MAF charity children serving people Pogapa Indonesia

Grace enjoys hanging out with the people of Pogapa. Photo by Grace Holsten.

Crowded around me, the women of the village of Pogapa sang and hollered with all their might, their colorful woven net bags swinging from their heads. We ran up and down the airstrip, in search of greens and leaves for the bakar batu, a traditional feast where meat and vegetables are cooked with hot rocks in a pit dug into the ground. My friend and fellow classmate, Helen, and I had been standing by the pits, watching the preparations for the feast, when this big group of ladies came running down the hill towards us.  We spontaneously decided to join the group, which was on the hunt for various grass and leaves to line the bakar batu pits with. The women were delighted to have us along, and we must have run all over the place for at least an hour, singing traditional songs the entire time. It was a lot of fun, and I was excited to experience the culture of Pogapa in such a direct way. My last Outdoor Education was turning out to be an amazing one…

indigenous people Pogapa Papua Indonesia MAF aviation charity

Women prepare the pit for the feast. Photo by Grace Holsten.

Outdoor Education (OE) is an incredible experience my whole high school, Hillcrest International School, gets to participate in every year. Students and leaders travel to a remote village in the heart of Papua for 10 days, serving the local people through different work projects, Kids’ Clubs, awareness presentations about HIV/AIDS, and just spending time with them, learning about their way of life. We go to serve, but every time we ourselves end up being so incredibly blessed by the very people we come to serve. MAF plays a huge role in enabling us to serve and be served by the indigenous people of Papua, as the villages we go to can often only be accessed by small plane. This year, I wouldn’t have been able to take part in my final OE, making amazing memories with the women during the bakar batu in the village of Pogapa, without MAF.

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