Saturday, June 29, 2019

Internship in Waste4Change: A Whole New Working (and Learning) Experience

I didn't have a proper short-term plan after I received my scholarship, I know. I will talk about this later in a separate post. Now, let's talk about my internship in a startup company which I did simply because I didn't know what to do after AAS Pre-Departure Training. It's my last 2 weeks now. Surprisingly, this internship has given me a lot, beyond my expectation. 

Waste4Change is a startup company focusing in waste management. They provide a range of services from company/office waste collection, event waste management, waste-related-CSR execution, to waste related studies. Some of their clients are The Body Shop (Bring Back Our Bottle program), Gojek, DBS, Bank Mandiri, BLP Beauty, Dinas Lingkungan Hidup DKI Jakarta, and so many more.

I've known this company for quite long time but it was only some time ago that I followed their instagram from my online shop account. Yes! It is now related. My concern in plastic thingy was triggered by Natgeo magazine "Planet or Plastic?" edition which made me open my stainless straw online shop in instagram where I follow some eco-conscious accounts including Waste4Change. One day when I was looking for an internship, they posted the opening for some internship positions. I directly sent my application for Strategic Service Intern and here I am now.

My first day was a little bit confusing. I used to work in a manufacturing company which working time is very rigid. My previous plant, like most factories, has siren to indicate work time, break and off time while in Waste4Change my working time is literally flexible. I only need to meet my bosses couple times a week only if they need to see me. 

Back to the first day, they took us (me and Dhani, the other intern) to Waste4Change facilities. Those are the Material Recovery Facility and Composting Facility. Adin and Adhit (my bosses) explained more detail about what the company do and how they do it. In that facility, Waste4Change re-sorted the materials from their clients' offices. I noticed that the sorting was very detail, not only they sort it based on type of the materials but they also group it based on its colour! I saw the cups of coffee for Nescafe Dolce Gusto were stacked based on their colour. Some workers also sorted plastic waste from buckets of still-mixed-waste. Adin explained that sorting is crucial to ensure that only the residue goes to the landfill while other recoverable materials can go through further cycle such as recycling or composting so they can achieve circular economy.
Waste Sorting in W4C's Facility
After the tour, we started to work in a coffee shop. I didn't know that I can really work in a coffee shop because when I was in uni I always failed in doing my assignments in a coffee shop. Too many distraction. But now I CAN! Wow. At the end of the day, we met the almost full Strategic Service team. Here, once again I was very surprised that the team members can be so open in talking about the obstacles they faced on their projects and how each member responses in helping the other. Really. This team is so fluid and dynamic. I am amazed. Maybe this is because most of the members are so young that they can be so open while in my previous team it was only me and Mba Nidya. So, ya, different culture due to age difference. Hehe.

At the end of my first day, I questioned if the remote working could really work. Well, after two and half months experience, I think this method is a very convenient working method! Thanks to all those online editable documents in onedrive and google drive, whatsapp and skype. Currently I even working from my village in Bali because I no longer stayed in Jakarta. Yes! They allow me to do a fully remote job. Awesome!!
Andhani, Adin, Dwika, Adhit
During my internship, I have a full access to their project reports because my job includes making summary of the reports hehe. The good thing is that I gain a lot of new knowledge and information about waste management all around the country. From the report I just knew that a FMCG company has a real concern about their packaging waste so they conducted a values chain analysis. I also read the reports about efforts in building 3R Disposal Site all around Indonesia. I also ar noticed that some companies did the waste-management thingy just for ceremonial purposes. 

This insights have shifted my perspective about waste. Waste is not always bad, waste is not always the one to blame. Let me tell you a story..

I was so lucky that Adin let me join her project about a feasibility study for a Pyrolysis plant development in one of the provinces in Indonesia. The owner of the project is an international packaging company, they hire a consultant which choose us as their local partner. My job in this short phase of the project was to arrange meetings with the local government. I have to contacted several agencies and even the staff of the vice governor. At the beginning, based on the limited explanation and ppt of that consultant, I thought that this Pyrolisis technology is the key solution for all plastic waste thingy. But later, i read and read again while carefully listening to their presentation to the government agencies and the vice governor. I changed my mind. Yes, pyrolysis might seem promising in tackling the multilayer plastic issue (such as sachet which is usually leaked to the environment while plastic bottle and cup are already have their own recycling market), but based on what I read, it is not economically feasible now. However, the project owner seems to be very ambitious in putting this project into reality. I suddenly think that this might be just the strategy and ego of the project owner because they are the company that produce those packaging. If they can successfully deliver this project as a CSR, they will be able to sell the story to convince the market that actually their plastic is not a problem. That the plastic can be turned back into oil. However, in general, this is not economically feasible. The technology can be very expensive and the dream of solving plastic problem will be just a dream. Do you see what I mean? The project in that province MIGHT be successful because it is fully funded, but in the larger scale, will the other government able to afford that? At the end, the company will be benefited because they can put the image that the problem caused by their product can be tackled while actually the waste problem never really solved.

From the business perspective, I do aware that the company need to do efforts in order to sustain their products. Today, people are more concern about what they consume, therefore this company need to reshape their value that align with customers concern. They innovate using this CSR strategy which in one side is brilliant. They can show their concern of nature while maintaining production and profit. However, is this sustainable? This is the big question that WE must find the solutions.

This project made me really think. What is the ideal solution to this mess that can be beneficial for all parties? What do you think?
Readmore → Internship in Waste4Change: A Whole New Working (and Learning) Experience

Friday, June 14, 2019

A Note To Myself in The Past: Try More Things

Underestimating myself when I was in school and uni, then I found out that I can do beyond.

I wasn't confident for my ability in doing so many things like designing posters, winning a competition and so on. At the end, I didn't try any, I didn't know if I was good enough.

The thought of "I wouldn't win that or I'm not capable of producing that" is a real toxic back then. So, I stayed in my comfort zone. My productivity fell to the lowest point.

Until I was pushed to a position where I have to do those things. I did. I finished my essay with great feedback. I got a nice prize for my poster.

I also made several captions and visuals for my community's Instagram account. I know maybe it is not good enough if we're talking about real campaign/publication. But still, I let people see what I've made. I'm no longer ashamed of my work. I'm helping not only my community's campaign, but also myself in self acceptance and confidence.

If i could turn back time, i wish i could try more things during that time. I shouldn't be worried of those silly thoughts.

Why didn't I do it since uni? Sayang sekali. But it's not too late, right?

Readmore → A Note To Myself in The Past: Try More Things

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Mengunjungi Kakak ke Jabal Akhdar (Bagian Pertama)

Tidak pernah terbayangkan sebelumnya bahwa saya akan ke Timur Tengah, untuk alasan apapun. Timur Tengah, apalagi Oman, bagi saya adalah negeri di entah berantah, hanya ada pasir (dan minyak). Tahunya orang ke Timur Tengah ya ke Arab Saudi untuk Haji, atau Dubai tempat orang orang transit, atau negara-negara yang sering muncul di berita karena peperangan seperti Iran dan Irak.

Sampai akhirnya sekitar setahun lalu Kakak ditransfer ke Jabal Akhdar, Oman, yang kata dia sangat dingin. Bagian dari timur tengah yang dingin, adakah? Nyatanya saya sampai di sana dan merasakan sendiri.

Ada tiga hal yang paling menarik perhatian saya selama 10 hari berkunjug ke Oman, yaitu lansekap, makanan dan budaya makan, dan Alila Jabal Akhdar.

Lansekap Oman

Menjelang waktu mendarat, saya sudah melihat oman dari pesawat. Jujur, saya sangat terkesima dengan apa yang dilihat mata secara langsung. Dataran dengan dominasi warna coklat muda dengan bangunan bangunan beratap rata, bukannya limas kebanyakan di Indonesia. Pemandangan ini benar-benar berbeda dengan apa yang biasa saya lihat. Takjub, menyaksikan langsung belahan dunia lain.
Pemandangan dari balkon hotel di Muscat
Kakak membawa saya ke kota Muscat untuk makan siang. Lagi-lagi saya terheran dengan mulus dan lengangnya jalan-jalan rasa di kota Muscat. Mobil-mobil melaju kencang sekali, 100-120 km/jam (walaupun sebenarnya bisa saja melaju di atas kecepatan itu, tapi batas kecepatannya adalah 120 km/jam. Selain itu, ada speed camera di sepanjang jalan dan mobil otomatis mengeluarkan suara bip menyebalkan jika berkendara melewati batas kecepatan).

Kotanya terlihat sepi, tidak ada orang lalu lalang di trotoar, tidak ada motot-motor menyerobot jalan. Jelas saja, kota Muscat dan kota kota lain di Oman pada umumnya sangat panas hingga 40-50 derajat Celcius jika sedang musim panas. Saya pun rasanya tidak akan keluar rumah kalau sepanas itu.

Jalan jalan mulus tidak hanya di dalam kota, loh. Di pinggir kota sampai jalan-jalan kecil menuju pantai, juga jalanan berliku menuju Jabal Akhdar, hingga jalanan pedesaan di Shabia. Semua jalannya mulus, tidak berlubang. Mau tidak mau saya membayangkan jalanan desa di daerah saya yang baru beberapa bulan diaspal, eh sudah berlubang lagi, rusak lagi. Ya, mungkin ini juga karena di Oman hujan adalah fenomena alam yang sangat langka, jadi jalan-jalannya bisa tahan lama. Tidak seperti di Indonesia yang punya musim hujan beberapa bulan setahun. Tapi saya kira memang pemerintah Oman sangat serius mengurusi jalanan, buktinya di setiap turunan jalur menuju Jabal Akhdar dibuatkan lajur untuk rem blonk itu (apa ya namanya?). Kemudian saya membayangkan lagi jalanan berkelok dari Wanagiri ke rumah.

Selain jalanan, Oman juga punya pantai! Kakak dan Issam mengajak saya memancing di Bimmah. Pantainya memang tidak secantik pantai pantai tropis, tapi lumayan kok untuk duduk duduk walaupun tidak ada penjual kelapa muda atau bakso di pinggir jalannya. Orang-orang biasa datang berpiknik ke sini, membawa makanan dan peralatan barbeque bahkan tenda. 
Bangunan berwarna coklat kekuningan di sebelah kanan adalah penginapan kami di Bimmah
Selanjutnya ada Bimmah sinkhole! Bimmah sinkhole ini cantik banget. Warna airnya dari atas turqoise, airnya seger bangettt. Banyak orang datang ke sini buat main air, berenang, dan ada juga orang lokal yang loncat dari tepian lubang di atas. Ohya, di sini (dalam lubang) enggak panas kayak di kota he he. Saya menyesal tidak bawa baju ganti ke sini, jadi tidak sempat nyemplung. 

Berpindah dari sinkhole, gurun pasir adalah dataran paling menarik yang pernah saya lihat! Luar biasa cantik dengan pasirnya yang sangat halus dan tidak berasa lengket seperti pasir pantai (iyalah! pasir pantai kan banyak air garamnya). Jujur saya bingung menggambarkan indahnya gurun pasir, biar foto saja yang bicara. Betah deh rasanya kalau disuruh berguling di sana sepanjang sore sampai matahari terbenam. Yessss! Ini pengalaman baru lagi, menikmati sunset dari puncak tumpukan pasir bukannya di pantai.
Menunggu sunset di gurun pasir
"Loh? Bukannya gurun pasir itu panas banget ya?!"

Iya, panas banget kalau siang. Jadi kemarin kami berangkat ke gurun dari Muscat, perjalanannya berjam-jam. Sepanjang jalan ya pemandangannya monoton, dari kota, kemudian gak ada apa apa hanya hamparan coklat. Tidur, bangun, makan, melongo ke jendela, tidur, bangun, nyemil hingga beberapa kali putaran haha. Kami sampai di sekitar jam 2 atau 3 siang kemudian langsung masuk kamar penginapan, tidur siang. 
Penginapan kami saat bermalam di Sharqiya
Kami baru keluar sekitar jam 5 sore, bersiap siap menjelajah gurun. Sebelum mendaki gunung-gunung pasir, ban-ban setiap mobil harus dikempeskan agar lebih stabil saat dikendarai. Setelah itu baru deh kami memilih-milih puncak mana yang akan dituju. Jujur, kalau saya sendirian ya pasti sudah nyasar di tengah gurun. Tidak ada petunjuk arah sama sekali. Hanya ada sisa jejak ban mobil yang sering kali tiba-tiba hilang jejak di ujung karena sudah terkikis angin.

Sebagai catatan, jika teman pengemudi kendaraanmu cukup cakap, berkendara di gurun itu sangat seru dan menyenangkan! Mulai dari mencoba slope tajam gunung pasir, mencari puncak yang tidak ada jejak ban, hingga berusaha lolos dari cekungan pasir yang bikin degdegan! Sering loh ada pengemudi yang kurang lihai hingga akhirnya mobil mereka terjebak dan harus menunggu bantuan mobil-mobil lain untuk menariknya.

Selain itu, di gurun juga ada unta kok. Kita juga bisa membayar untuk menunggang unta di gurun. Tapi saya tidak mau. Kasihan untanya!!!!! 
Orang-orang mencari spot untuk menikmati sunset dan bermain pasir

Mobil-mobil 4WD membawa turis ke puncak-puncak gurun

Saya di gurun pasir!

Makanan dan Budaya Makan

Satu hari, kakak mengajak saya dan 2 orang teman kerjanya untuk pergi berkunjung ke rumah salah satu rekan mereka. Saya berkunjung ke rumah Omani! 

Ketika memasuki majelis atau ruang untuk berkumpul, kami dijamu dengan sekeranjang kecil kurma dan peach kering lengkap dengan Kahwa, semacam kopi khas Oman yang bagi saya rasanya aneh sekali, tidak seperti kopi sama sekali. Satu hal yang menarik perhatian saya: AC dengan ukuran jumbo terpasang di ruang majelis yang tak seberapa besar ini. Saya bertanya pada kakak, kenapa di oman AC besar besar sekali (seperti juga di kamar kakak). Jawabannya saya dapat saat kami makan bersama, kata istri si pemilik rumah, kalau sedang musim panas suhunya bisa 40-50 derajat Celcius. Baik, saya paham.

Oh ya, tempat makan laki-laki dan perempuan juga dipisah loh! Kami (para tamu perempuan) makan di majelis bersama istri pemilik rumah, sedangkan driver kami (laki-laki) makan bersama si pemilik rumah dan anak-anak lelakinya di ruangan lain. 

Yang tak kalah mengejutkan bagi saya yaitu ketika isi piring saya mulai tinggal sedikit, tuan rumah akan menyendokkan nasi lagi beserta lauknya. Tuan rumah akan melakukan hal itu berkali kali! Walaupun kamu menolak, mereka akan tetap menaruh lebih banyak makanan di piringmu!! hahahah. Waktu itu saya jadi makan 3 piring sampai super begah.
Jamuan makan siang di rumah kerabat Kakak untuk 5 orang
Kemudian soal makanan, sepertinya orang oman cuma makan daging dan nasi deh. Lihat saja foto di atas, sayurnya cuma acar. Untuk menjamu 4 orang tamu, mereka masak Shuwa (daging domba yang dipanggang di dalam tanah), lamb chop, dan senampan penuh mandi rice dengan 1 ekor ayam.

Selain itu porsi makan di Oman juga memang besar besar. Pernah saya dan kakak membeli paha ayam goreng, kami pikir porsinya ya seperti lalapan. Tahu-tahu yang datang adalah 6 potong besar paha bawah. Pokoknya selama di sana, kalau kami makan pasti daging dan daging. Ya, wajar juga sih, kan di sana kering, kalau menanam sayur mau cari air dimana? Selama di Oman, saya rindu makan sayuran berlimpah. Untung kakak sempat masak sayur di apartemen, walaupun cuma 1 kali karena sisanya kami makan di luar.

Ohya, soal makan di luar, orang Oman cenderung memilih take away (untuk hampir semua jenis makanan). Bukan hanya McDonald's loh ya, tapi sampai toko kelontong yang jualan semacam teh tarik dan roti tipis itu. Di toko kecil ini, kami benar-benar hanya perlu mengklakson dari tempat parkir lalu pegawainya akan menghampiri, mencatat pesanan kemudian datang lagi dengan semua pesanan kami. Kalau di Indonesia mungkin rasanya sangat tidak sopan yaaa? Hahaha

Terakhir, saya ingin sekali membahas soal chinese food di Oman. Ketika saya mendarat, kakak mengajak saya makan di restoran cina di Muscat. Ekspektasi saya ya tidak jauh-jauh dari makanan Cina pada umumnya dong, banyak bawang putih dengan rasa yang aman di lidah. Eh tapi ternyata ekspektasi saya salah besar. Memang sih mereka sudah berusaha keras untuk memasang berbagai oranmen Cina dengan warna merah dimana-mana, tapi...makanan ini lebih kenapa rasanya mirip makanan India dengan segala rempah-rempahnya. Ya, kalau kata kakak sih, ini karena yang punya restoran orang India dan karyawannya pun orang Banglades.

Dari perjalanan saya kemarin, makanan asia yg rasanya paling benar ya cuma thai food baik yang di food court mall maupun di restoran. Mungkin karena lebih banyak imigran dari Asia Tenggara yang bekerja di sana. Eh tapi rasa bakso di restoran Indonesia kemarin aneh bangeeeettt. Lagi-lagi karena juru masaknya bukan orang Indonesia, tapi orang Banglades :)))))

Soal Alila Jabal Akhdar akan dibahas di post selanjutnya saja ya. Post ini sepertinya agak kepanjangan he he. Selamat berlibur Lebaran, semuanya!

Readmore → Mengunjungi Kakak ke Jabal Akhdar (Bagian Pertama)