By: Irwan Harjanto (Student of DPP 2013)
Papua is religious. The expanse of churches in every corner of the village in Keerom District indicates that religious rites are closely related to the people. My journey to Keerom County for 7 weeks to undergo a KKN, at least can help us understand the country in the eastern tip of Indonesia.
Religious communities such as churches play an important role for the solidarity of Papuans. For example in the field of education, many schools are accommodated by the church through their foundations. Located directly adjacent to Papua New Guinea, Keerom as an expansion district of Jayapura District is also a place for transmigrants from Java, Batak and Bugis. If you can say, the people of Keerom have a high tolerance. Such conditions that indirectly generate a harmonious relationship with each other. The transmigrants, mostly from Javanese and Muslim, so co-exist with the native Papuans who are Christians. In Keerom district there are also Hindu community groups and there are some temples there. When there is a celebration of the feast, both Muslims, Hindus and Christians take turns to celebrate the religious moments.
Religiosity is also reflected in daily activities. Several times I participated in Keerom community activities, not forgetting they always open and close the activity with the rite of praying to God. Prayer is always tailored to who is leading the prayer. If the leader is a Christian, then the prayer is led by a Christian, and vice versa.
“Let us pray to God Almighty, and the prayer I will lead in a Christian, a religion other than Christian can adjust, may God bless,” the sentence is a piece of prayer that is often used when a Christian leads.
Keerom Regency itself has the Interfaith Harmony Forum (FKAUB). They act as mediators if there are problems related to interfaith. FKAUB also frequently organizes forums and interfaith events.
The people of Keerom I think are good enough to build a deliberative relationship with different backgrounds. They have been fluent in practicing the concept of “Get Up and Get There.” It can not be separated from the role of church and other religious institutions. For the Papuans, for example, the church is a symbol of unity, the healer of the heart and the soul-purifier. The Church is the enlightener for those who have been untouched by the public service of the government. With considerable gentleness and concern for the people, religion becomes the most liquid element that is easily accepted by society.
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*Photo Documentation by KKN-PPM UGM Team 2016 (Keerom Regency, Papua) *