Sanusi, Get Eyes Opened by a Game

“At the beginning, I just thought we were only playing a game, as we had to sing, dance and draw the location of our house into a map and locate the position of a pile of yellow dirt serving as a dummy of human waste generated by every family member in our household” said Sanusi, 39, a resident of Kuta Mekar Village, Ciampel Sub-district, Karawang District, expressing his comment after joining a training.

profil-2Sanusi is one of the villagers who attended a Training of Trainers (TOT) on Open Defecation Free (ODF) for 25 sanitarians held by Ministry of Health in Kuta Mekar Village, Karawang District, between 5 and 7 July.

According to Sanusi, on that day he got a last minute invitation from the head of a neighborhood unit (RT) to attend the training on the simulation. The head of RT extended the invitation just before he left for Purwakarta to work as a sack-carrying labor.

He felt as if he was taking part in a mere game as it required everybody to dance, sing and draw. He said he first wondered at the activity before he eventually realized how a defecating practice on the upstream region can pollute the river stream whose water may eventually be used to wash a mukena, a Muslim woman’s special clothing used for prayer, or to ritually wash oneself before performing a prayer by his neighbors who get a downstream access. The game, he said, had opened his eyes and made him realize that the bad practice could be considered as a “sinful deed” as it actually contaminates the pure water.

“There are a lot of people here who do not have latrines, sir” he said. “People usually defecate at the point at the stream which receives factories’ wastewater. If the Citarum River was clean, nobody wished to defecate on the river.”

Sanusi, who lives in Kutamekar Village which the Citarum runs through it, said that local people used to get their drinking water from the stream. He is optimistic over the prospect to see a clean Citarum River like it used to be, or like the condition during his childhood period.

“Do not only let the local people realize not to dump waste or defecate on the river. But the factories and business people operating along the Citarum should also be asked to do the same. So that we can make the Citarum clean as it used to be.”

Sanusi even promised not to defecate on the river anymore and would ask his neighbors to seek for any communal solution to build latrines and modest septic tanks in houses at the village.