A Trip Like No Other - Ende, Indonesia 2023

Ende, Indonesia has always been a place of personal significance for me. Having been raised by a kakak from Ende, I have subconsciously accorded Ende with people of big hearts and warm spirits. Naturally, this led me to sponsor a child from Ende in June 2020. When the opportunity to travel to Ende presented itself, it was a no-brainer for me.

The trip to Ende from Singapore was an arduous one. It was a trip comprising 2 layovers over 16 hours. During that time, the Singaporeans travelling together to Ende bonded and shared stories of their sponsorship journeys, as well as their motivation to embark on this trip. Our shared eagerness to meet our sponsored children and contribute to the community of Ende was palpable. 

When we finally touched down in Ende, our weariness and hunger were quickly forgotten as the horizon of the mountainous Ende came into view from the plane. We were ready to explore, learn, and wholeheartedly embrace the incredible work that World Vision was doing for the Ende community. 

Beautiful landscape of Ende, Indonesia


Introduction to World Vision’s on-the-ground team

Meeting the Wahana Visi Indonesia team

We started our trip meeting Wahana Visi Indonesia’s team – an energetic, dedicated, and positive team that has been bridging the gap between us and our sponsored children. There was an immediate shift in the atmosphere as the smiley and hospitable World Vision staff welcomed us warmly. It was good to finally meet the people tirelessly carrying out World Vision’s work daily! Over the course of the trip, we would learn about their weekly travels to and from remote villages around Ende, which can span anywhere between 4 to 8 hours across extremely rocky terrain. Our arduous plane ride from Singapore suddenly did not seem so difficult anymore! The Wahana Visi Indonesia team profusely thanked the Sponsors for our monetary support and expressed that none of the work would have been possible without it. However, it was undeniable that the true heroes were the team members themselves – without their daily interactions and weekly commutes to the communities, the Sponsors’ donations would not have materialized into tangible, poverty-alleviating initiatives. 


Meeting our Sponsored Children

Playing and interacting with our Sponsored Children

The most awaited event of our trip quickly came around on Day 3. We arrived at a local monastery and were greeted with a resounding “Selamat Pagi!” As much as we had waited in eager anticipation for this day, so too did our sponsored children and their families. We played games, danced to the beat of a traditional Indonesian folk song, and broke into various groups to chat with our sponsored children. It was a surreal experience where the words exchanged through letters over the past few years suddenly sprang to life. My sponsored child and her mother recounted the story of receiving the news of my visit from Singapore and conveyed their excitement for this long-awaited day. They then fished out a pouch bag and a knitted scarf as they explained how they had begun fastidiously sewing these items while counting down the days to my arrival. Before they could finish, tears were streaming down our faces.

In moments like these, I am reminded of how innately human we all are. Despite our diverse backgrounds, languages, and cultures, it is our shared humanity that binds us. Beneath the surface, we all seek love, understanding, and connection in this world. Compassion and empathy are part of the human experience, and accessible to all, regardless of our individual circumstances or the places we call home. 


Conversing with the Volunteers in the Ende District Child Forum

Volunteers of Ende District Child Forum speaking about their initiatives

One of the highlights of our trip included meeting and speaking with the youth volunteers of the Ende District Child Forum. They shared about how bullying is pervasive in schools and how it was important for not only the youths but also their parents, to understand how to mitigate this issue. It was encouraging to see the volunteers speak with such passion and conviction about the causes they were propagating, especially at such a young age! World Vision had empowered them to speak up about problems emanating from their communities, but the volunteers made it their personal mission to find befitting solutions to them.


Travelling to Various Communities

Visiting a nutrition garden 

Witnessing a Posyandu in action

Tour of a water facility

Understanding how ASCA works

Children learning to wash their hands

Conversations with local communities

In the next few days, the Sponsors travelled to various communities across Ende to visit the facilities World Vision worked alongside the locals to build – nutrition gardens, Posyandus (post-integrated health clinics), ASCAs (Accumulated Savings and Credit Associations), as well as water and sanitation facilities. We interacted with the locals along the way and had a better understanding of the improvement of quality of life before and after these facilities. These facilities restored a sense of independence and dignity to the communities, enabling them to gain ready access to the basic necessities of life. Though most of our interactions with the communities relied on translation, their expressions of gratitude and appreciation transcended any language barrier. It was heartening to know that our monthly donations have made such a substantial difference in their lives. Being able to wake up and have convenient access to water, nutritious vegetables, and medical care definitely took away a lot of the mental load the communities used to face. With their newfound mental space, they can now focus on ensuring their children receive quality education, have their well-being attended to, and most importantly, can devote more time to their families.


Spending time at a local primary school 

Children from a local primary school waiting to meet the Sponsors

Playing games with primary school children

On the last day of our trip, we had the opportunity to visit a local village primary school. The children greeted us with cheery enthusiasm as they waited to hear about the games we had in store for them. We introduced the games “What is the time now, Mr. Wolf?” and “Hunter, Fire, Earthquake (Pemburu, Api, Gempa Bumi)”. During the games, the children squealed in delight and ran with all their might, their laughter permeating the air as they navigated the rules of the game. Smiles broke out on our faces as we watched the children run away from Mr. Wolf and poke fun at one another as “squirrels” were stranded without a home in Hunter, Fire, Earthquake. The games were a fun way of connecting with the children, and memories of their child-like innocence and joy would etch forever in our minds. 

While walking around the school, we also bore witness to classrooms in dilapidated conditions – ceilings were falling, windows were broken and furniture bore the scars of heavy use. It was painful to think about how these children were studying in such terrible conditions. That night, over dinner, what we saw sparked a conversation among the Singaporeans about how we could help these children. The World Vision team shared about various fundraising efforts we could undertake to raise awareness. A month later, we would find ourselves at the end of a successful fundraising campaign, having raised S$13,890 to renovate 3 classrooms and provide 75 new sets of tables and chairs – close to 10% above our goal. 


Heading home

Before we knew it, our five-day trip had come to an end. As we gathered on the last night for a debriefing session, we exchanged stories and fond memories about our trip. The gratitude of the communities we had come to know was a poignant reminder of the impact of our donations. As we readied ourselves for the long journey home, we acknowledged that while we were returning to our comfortable lives, the communities we had visited would continue to face challenges. It was a humbling realization of the ongoing need for humanitarian efforts across the world. 

Together with the rest of the Singaporeans, I know that the trip to Ende would be the first of many to come. Witnessing the tangible impact of our donations on the ground and the ebullience of our sponsored children has filled me with an unshakeable sense of purpose. It not only instilled in me a renewed sense of spirit and resoluteness to meet the rest of my sponsored children around the world but also to fervently advocate for World Vision’s humanitarian work. The cherished memories of the trip and profound connections forged with the communities will serve as an enduring testament to humanity’s boundless capacity for compassion and the transformative power of giving back to those in need.


Here's a heartwarming video collage of another tripper.

Experience the beauty of Ende's landscapes and how hope and transformation are brought to children and families in need through Fayy's lens.


Written By: 
Amanda Tang