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Blogs / Professional Fellows Exchange Program / Reflections – from empty to a full glass, but, is it really full?

Reflections – from empty to a full glass, but, is it really full?

A citizen was expressing his ideas in front of City Council of Charlottesville

What was the most memorable things to you? What have you learnt? What was the most inspiring you? These are the questions that I ask to myself, and were also asked by my host, several people that I met, and ICMA as the sponsor of this program. Well, I could not answer these spontaneously. It is just difficult to decide which one of the experiences that I went through in my host community is the most memorable one or the most inspiring one. I learnt a lot of things here, had a great chance to have a talk with remarkable people who are expert in their area, and got many ideas that make myself become overwhelmed. Back to the questions, here are several things that I could reflect, and they are just memorable and inspiring me to contribute more in my home country’s development.

Communication is the basic key and community is the first to serve

During the placement, I also had opportunities to attend several public meetings. Citizens were allowed to express their opinions and ideas to City Council of Charlottesville or Albermarle County Board of Supervisors. They are welcome to provide suggestions and recommendations, to share the information that could be useful for city/county development, and to actively involve in planning a strategy. I learn that the public meetings could be a way to establish communication between the government and the community. It may be beneficial as an indicator of the level of interest within a community to a particular issue. In addition, it could also reduce the dominance of top down approach and increase the applying of bottom up participation which involve more community participation. I believe that a good program provided by government could not be applied successfully without support and participation from community.

Wastes: from cradle to cradle

Wastes will be continuously produced as long as people do their activity to fulfill their demand. Thus, an appropriate waste water treatment, particularly solid waste, is necessarily required. Transforming solid waste becomes new product with economic value through recycling process is considering as an alternative solution to decline the number of waste sent to landfill area. Instead of applying the concept of “from cradle to grave”, the design of “from cradle to cradle” is preferred in managing solid waste to implement the “zero waste” goals. In addition, the application of 3R (reduce-reuse-recycle) principle is expected to change human behavior in managing the solid waste.

Drinking water from house’s tap: a future dream

Several people I met and I talked with during my placement were surprised when I told them that in my hometown, we harvest our rain water for potable uses. Meanwhile they use rain water harvesting for irrigation and do not drink it as they are not sure about the quality. Joining in this program, I am fortunate to learn how water is treated and managed very well in this community. I also see how the community in this city/county put a high concern on the quality of their drinking sources so that the water pollution is rarely found and being considered as tolerable. The community is already educated that water is very precious. No wonder, water can be consumed straight from the tap as its quality is satisfied for potable purposes. And seeing this condition, I motivate myself that one day, the community in my home town would also be able to enjoy our drinking water straight from our house’s tap, though it could be a long and a tough way to reach it.

Finally, a lot of ideas I gained during my placement, that I cannot describe it one by one as they are too many. And I am trying to bring them all back to my hometown, yet I know that not all of them could be applied in the near future due to our priority. However, the knowledge that I obtained had broaden my network, enriched my point of view, and shifted my standpoint. From the beginning of this program, I already provided an empty glass to be filled with many kinds of remarkable experiences. And it is already full, but, is it really full? If so, I will change it with another bigger glass, so that I could fill it with a lot more precious knowledge and wonderful experiences to be shared to my colleagues and community!

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