“Life can only be understood backwards, but must be lived forwards.”
When you travel around Asia – especially when you travel around South East Asia – you can see many people meditating with its japa malas around their necks. You can see a bunch of monasteries, monks and get this vibe of content and happiness encircling you.
During a solo backpacking journey in 2016, I got amazed by this philosophy called Buddhism. I was wrapped in a shell of enlightenment and grace. Even though I don`t practice my Christianity and don`t give religion a high value in my life, I started questioning myself, “Why do I denominate myself as a Christian if I agree with another philosophy?”
One year later I took my backpack again and this time my journey has led me to Indonesia. In Kaibobo I could see a huge difference. It was not about japa malas anymore, it was all about the rosary.
H.B. Veerman, the priest of this inspirational village, taught me, that Christian Protestantism has an important role here. But the most moving lecture he taught me was the following:
“It is always about your goal in life, and not about your religion.” – H.B.Veerman
And therefore, also my answer to my question was found. It doesn`t matter what my denomination is as long as I choose the right direction.
H.B. Veerman, is 38 years old. For 20 months now, he has been living in Kaibobo with his beloved wife Wienna and daughter Angel. Before this time, he went to the Universitats Kristen Indonesiia Maluku to study theology and he then graduated in 2003. He took his master degree in Java from 2010 to 2012 where he put his focus on Religion and Community. He was always interested in theology and law, but had troubles deciding in which direction he should go. After writing his thesis about ARU - a place part of the Maluku province of eastern Indonesia. A place where families of all different kinds of believes living together under one roof in harmony – had made his decision clear. His decision fell on theology because he learnt that
“Religion is all about human connection. And human connection is the key to an open mind. The more people understand their own religion, the more will start tolerate other religions or ethnic groups as well. Believing and accepting just one religion cannot make people understand each other’s emotions, each other’s behavior or each other’s longings. There would never be peace, there would never be the feeling of love to each other without embracing other viewpoints.”
Kaibobo includes a unique community. There is mainly one homogenous culture, one belief without any particular side stream. But elsewhere, times and circumstances have changed in the last few decades. The world has been moving on. A different mindset has been created, society has changed.
“We are now living in an era where gods’ words have become a new and deeper interpretation. But not for Kaibobo; not yet! Kaibobo never had the chance to adapt to a modern world due to their location and recent disconnection.” -H.B. Veerman
Maybe, some people even had doubts about The Wonderful Maluku Project coming to a village which has been isolated for so long and maybe seems conservative, but it is unbelievable and astonishing how fast the villagers have adapted so far and how willing and excited they are for a change. Of course, change needs time but Kaibobos are already endlessly grateful for us showing them other cultures, new opportunities. Showing them that there is so much adventure out there. Helping them to open their doors for foreigners to come.
“You, guys, you were the first ones who made a huge impact, with your presence you brought change and hope for the villagers. Even though it is hard for Kaibobos to go out and see the world, they at least now have the chance to receive the other side of the world by foreign visitors.” -H.B. Veerman
All these words, all these quotes contain truth. You can feel their appreciation, their happiness for us just being there. It is still an honorably experience seeing them adapting and learning.
Therefore, I am endlessly grateful for another lesson I`ve learnt in Kaibobo, West Ceram:
It is not adventure - whether it is a good or not so good one – that is destroying you, it is your Routine.
H.B. Veerman and his introduction to religion.
Conducted on: 26-05-2017
Published on: 01-07-2017
Written by: Teresa Cancola
Photographer: Teresa Cancola