Embrace Change and Hari Guru Nasional

St. Yohanes Berkhmans Todabelu Mataloko
English Corner – Book Corner

On Hari Guru Nasional (HGN) I feel like I badly need to talk about the book entitled Battle for Big Tree Country, written by Gregory Strong, and published by Cengage Page Turners.

When I read the book I can imagine how strong Gail Klutesi is, a girl whose passion is to save the environment.

If Gail is the representative of the young generation, how promising our young generation is. They can really become our model to love the environment, to live a life of value!

This book tells about Gail Klutesi, a young girl who is outrageous because their valley, Big Tree Country, is going to be exploited by a logging company.

To make matters worse, her father works in this company. So practically, Gail has no support at all from significant persons in her family. She even has to be against her father.

In the middle of the forest, there is a very big and old tree, the Magic – people call it.

When the loggers want to cut down the trees, including the Magic, Gail climbs the Magic, and she stays there for over a week, with a very minimum supply.

The book intriguingly tells the challenges that she has to face: being hungry and thirsty because of the lack of supply, continuous threats from the government officers, the police, the logging company, and her father’s demand asking her to quit. She stays firm.

She is fearless. In the moment of crisis, she risks her life to save the bear which is about to be shot dead by a logger.

She climbs down only when it’s clear that the forest, including the Magic, is saved from the savages – the loggers.

Of course, Gail doesn’t work alone. There is Shane Barnett, a biology student, who becomes Gail’s best friend mainly because they have the same mission. They have an essential bond that makes them strong for better times or worse. They collaborate with people.

Gail also uses the internet and the media to spread out her mission, and to fight together, to save the earth. With the internet and the media Gail’s struggle has become like dropping a stone in the pond full of water, which creates ripple effects.

The result is huge.

At the end of the day, her father realizes how important it is to take care of the environment, and thus, strongly backs her up. She changes her father.

The valley named Big Tree Country where the forest is located is saved from destruction. She defeats the logging company which turns out to be a monster after ‘marrying’ the government and the police. It is in this valley that the love for the environment ripples out and wins!

Some teachers and students after the flag ceremony of HGN

Youths are powerful and they are daredevils!

As a teacher, I feel so lucky because I’m surrounded by the youths at school. They change me as the teacher, just like Gail who changes her dad, and they can really change the world!

I wrote my comment on this book on November 25th, National Teacher Day. At the Seminary, we celebrated the day by having a flag ceremony.

While thanking the late educators and heroes in the field of education, Fr. Tinyo, the headmaster of SMA Seminary reminded all the teachers and educators (we call them ‘formators’) to reflect the way we educate the seminarians.

“We need to do educational service honestly and wholeheartedly with great resilience: coming on time no matter what, being faithful and loyal up to the very end of the lesson”, he said. We need to change.

While appreciating the students for their big spirit and achievement in learning, he reminded them that they are powerful. “Make the most of your time, respect your teachers, be an active listener, do your homework wholeheartedly, speak and comment less, and do more”.

He also reminded the community to wisely embrace technology. And, of course, embrace change, including change in the way we treat the environment.

Well, isn’t that this Seminary which is located in the valley of Sasa actually, the valley of ‘Big Tree Country’, the place where change happens, and the place where love for the environment spreads out like the ripples in the water? (Nani Songkares).