2019 Basinger Indonesia 5 teaching at 6th grade healthy sexuality retreat

“Cries from the People”: An Account of 2019 Flood in Papua, Indonesia

By Tegi Bagubau

Editor’s note: Tegi Bagubau, age 18, is a high school student at Sekolah Papua Harapan (SPH), (The Papuan School of Hope) in Papua, Indonesia. Paraclete Associate Jacinda Basinger is an administrator and counselor at the school. (You can read more about Basinger’s work in the Paraclete Mission Group 2020 Summary of Ministries here.) The Papua community experienced a devastating flood and landslide in March of 2019. As part of their healing, students were encouraged to tell their stories.

When the flood came, I was on my bed ready for bed. Then Mama came and cried, “the houses are gone and the trees are moving along the river’s way.” So, I put on my shoes and went out of the dorm with my friend, Melias, to see what was happening. But when we reached outside the fence, we saw a lot of people moving and running to the Bupati’s (mayor’s) place, which was located higher than everybody’s living place. So, Melias and I helped them by carrying their important things.

After that, Melias and I went down to see the flood but we heard cries from the people who needed help. So then, we ran to them and saw them surrounded by the very strong river that was flowing around them and they just stood on the big rocks and cried for help. Without thinking too much, we took some beams from the broken houses and areca nuts trees that had collapsed. Then we made a bridge for the people surrounded by the river.

We succeeded in helping 13 people, including mothers, fathers, teenager, and children, but a child was taken away by the flood. That child was holding onto his father’s back and crossing the bridge, but he fell into the river and was taken away by the flood. The father cried and wanted to kill himself by jumping into the river, but Melias, another boy, and I held him tightly so that he couldn’t jump. Then we calmed him down while still holding him until his heart became calm.

Then Melias and I went down farther to the broken church. There were a lot of people who cried for help because they couldn’t move anywhere. They were surrounded by the flood. So, Melias, some boys, and I made the same thing again. We made a bridge. But in a few seconds, the rain became harder and the flood flowed much bigger and so very hard, so we told the people who needed the help to go up to the new church building.

After that, Melias and I ran back. But the flood had taken away all the routes and flowed over it. So, both of us made our own way through the jungle on that deep and dark night. Then we found a house. In that house, there were only girls, from the adults to the children. They stopped us there because they were so afraid. They asked us to take them to the Bupati’s house. Melias and I took their important things and they followed us to the Bupati’s house.

Finally, Melias and I went home because we didn’t ask Mama to go out and help people. At home, I couldn’t sleep until two o’clock in the morning because I still thought about the child that had been taken away by the flood and the people cried for the help. The lesson from this experience I realized that SPH was built by God’s plan and He will protect it. Also, I realized that God brought me for His purpose. So, He will not let me walk lonely. He will always be with me.

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1 thought on ““Cries from the People”: An Account of 2019 Flood in Papua, Indonesia”

  1. Jacinda Basinger

    Thank you, Rebecca, for opening this space for Tegi’s story to be shared. Tegi and Meli, thank you for your heart to serve others and to walk with God.

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