By Jamie Moses
Purely exhausted from a day at the Hi5 center, I joined the eight other women and sank into a seat on our bus back to the hotel. Staring out the window, my eyes began to wander, looking at nothing in particular and everything all at the same time. I let the scene wash over me as I replayed the day’s events in my mind. My brain was bouncing from one scene to the next, but I tended to gravitate towards the emotions of teaching a modified assessment and then practicing it’s implementation with the women who worked at the center.
I kept coming back to these feelings because the women who work at the Hi5 Center are truly amazing and exceeded my expectations in every way that day. Collectively we over came hurdles that might seem daunting for most, but not these women. I recall the memory of how the center’s location was described to us as being in the poorest part of Jakarta. Yet as you enter the Hi5 Center, its as if you are leaving all that behind you. The Clinic’s director, Shinta, was quick to attribute the clinic’s success to their partnership with the Global Autism Project. But it’s evident through their interactions that she values and relies on these women that surround her. It’s quite a pleasant place to work, learn, and teach; and it’s all because of these women’s drive, determination, and passion for helping others.
As our bus weaved and bounced along the road, I saw a little boy, in tattered clothing on the side of the highway, carelessly flying a kite. Almost instinctually I began humming a song from my childhood; “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” from the movie Mary Poppin’s. I fought to try and remember the lyrics but feeling like my eyes were being held up by toothpicks, the only part of the song I could recall was “let’s go fly a kite, up to the highest heights, let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring, Up in the atmosphere”. He wasn’t worried about where he was or what he was wearing, his full attention was on that kite. Completely mesmerized by it’s ability to soar in the sky by what he could only surmise was magic.
Later that afternoon, after a nap and some time in the AC, I continued to dwell on this scene with the little boy and my emotions from earlier that day. A realization began to set in as these two seemingly different events, actually had many parallels. That scene perfectly embodied the clinic’s director, Shinta, the women who work at the center, my group and the Global Autism Project, and the Hi5 center itself.
In my mind, Shinta is the little boy just wanting to fly her kite and mesmerized at the heights it can reach. The kite is the Hi5 Center itself, allowing for an escape from the austere conditions surrounding it. The partnership with Global Autism Project and our group is the wind that provides constant support to help her reach new heights. And finally, the women are the string that holds the two together and allows them to soar. They are the connection between Shinta and her dreams and visions, and the center itself. The Hi5 partnership will be lifted to the highest heights but not without those incredible women’s drive and passion for helping children with Autism.
Through all this I came to the realization that it is truly about the people you surround yourself with and not the facilities or circumstances you find yourself in. With the right group of people, you can transform something that might not look like much, into a beacon of hope for those in need. The Hi5 center is just a building, but it’s the drive and passion that these women bring to work each and every day that make it the beacon of hope for those with Autism is Indonesia. I am so proud to have the opportunity to work with these women and for us to learn from one another.