I spent the week after my kayak trip in Waisai. Waisai is the largest city in Raja Ampat, with a population of 40,000 – 50,000. A ferry runs daily between Waisai and Sorong that takes 1.5 hours. The government is expanding the airport near Waisai so people will have direct flights from other parts of Indonesia, rather than having to stay in Sorong and take the ferry. A completion date for the airport has not yet been determined.

Waisi has started to grow on me. I have met some fantastic people here; people that share the same goals and aspirations for the waste problem. Ranny has put me in touch with all the right people. I have become very good friends with a surgeon. My followers may recall an earlier post, Welcome Guest that described a trip to a local village with his team. The Doctor has been working closely with this village; we hope it will become a role model for the clean up program. This village has begun to separate their waste into garbage, compost and recycling.

I’ve met a local artist and celebrity named Yuning. She’s an artist in every way imaginable. Her skill set includes singing, song writing; she’s a guitarist, painter and creator of fantastic pieces of jewelry. Best of all, she has a huge heart. I visit her almost every day. Her brother has worked for numerous NGO’s but currently writes for the local paper that is distributed throughout Raja Ampat. He really likes the volunteer program we are creating. He interviewed me on Monday; which will hopefully help create more community awareness. Detailed information on the entire program will be made available on friendly drifter when I return home.

After talking to her brother for some time, we thought it would be a great idea to visit local schools within Waisai and create a “Clean Raja Ampat” movement. We will choose a day, and gather local volunteers to collect plastic bottles. I think more people will get behind the effort once they see it happening. Hopefully people will also be reluctant to throw away trash on areas that have been cleaned up.

We were invited to stay at a gentleman’s house earlier this week. He lives in a village near Waisai. The night was spent sprint racing down the main dirt road; competing with the children. I couldn’t help notice some techno music blasting from a nearby house. So I walked over to investigate and BOOM! Dance party erupts…I showed them some moves made in Canada. I don’t think they were too impressed.

The last few days I have met the heads of tourism (twice), education, their current waste management program, the district, principles and local leaders. All are providing support for our “Clean Raja Ampat” movement which will now take place this Friday. With help from volunteers, we want to rid Waisai of the plastic bottles littered everywhere. People here do care; sometimes a push is all that’s needed. It’s a complicated problem, but still a problem that needs to be tackled. It will only get harder the longer we wait to resolve it.

Subsequent original blog posts listed below:

Click to read – Success

Click to read – Farewell Raja Ampat

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