“Me and My Environment” is one of the themes in the character development curriculum for the children at the Children Crisis Center (CCC). Through the introduction and understanding of their surroundings, it is hoped that the children under guidance can live harmoniously with their environment, both natural and social, in the future.
Various methods are employed by mentors to introduce and provide understanding to the children about this theme. One of these methods was used by Endang, a mentor at CCC for Girls. On a sunny afternoon, Endang took the mentees out for an evening stroll.
Endang, along with Intan, the youngest mentee; Tya, the most active one; Rara, the oldest; Susi, the friendliest girl; and Febri, the aspiring chef, started their evening stroll at 4 PM. Unfortunately, Laras, the smartest dresser among the mentees, couldn’t join due to having stepped on a nail while helping clean the CCC the day before.
The journey began with Intan leading the group at the front, followed by Susi, Rara, Febri, Tya, and Endang at the back. They looked quite adorable, like ducks in a row. People observed them along the way. They enjoyed the trip while taking in the scenery, although they had to be cautious as in some places they had to walk by the side of the road without a sidewalk.
They arrived at Candi Sambisari, a Hindu temple dating back to the 9th century. After circling the temple, they stopped for a while near a large tree that caught their attention. The tree, which should have been green, appeared white. Upon closer inspection, they noticed a flock of birds perched on the tree. The number of birds on that tree seemed countless, perhaps in the hundreds or even thousands. The children mentioned that those birds were “Burung Kuntil.”
They enjoyed the evening view of the rice fields stretching beside the temple, feeling the cool breeze, and being comforted by the chirping of the birds flying to the large tree.
The children seemed to be pondering something. They started asking questions to Endang.
“How is it possible, for thousands of birds to live on a single tree? Don’t they fight with each other?”
“Those birds must have families, right? There’s a father, mother, and their children, right?”
“How can the birds be so clean and white?”
An engaging yet relaxed discussion unfolded. The children began to understand that these birds were also living creatures, sharing similarities with humans. They have families, need homes, and are beautiful and valuable.
As the time to return home arrived, they walked back with joy. On the way back, they came across another interesting tree. This tree was short and had an attractive red color. Its size was unusual as well. It was a Guava tree. Its fruits were very red and two or three times larger than typical guava fruits.
The children really wanted to taste the fruit. So, they asked permission from the owner of the Guava tree if they could pick the fruit. The owners, a kind couple, allowed each child to pick one guava.
Apparently, it was a rare and expensive variation of Guava. Its name was Jambu Darsono. The fruit was also very delicious.
The children were elated by the experience of their evening stroll.
“If we hadn’t gone for this evening stroll, we might not have enjoyed this fruit and seen the homes of the Burung Kuntil birds,” one of them exclaimed.