14 hours ago
John Peterces is one of the most special person I have ever met.
I knew John Peterces ever since he was in the in the third year of SMP Satu Atap in the village of Sawa, Asmat, South Papua. He was a talented kid, 100% Asmat from the village of Atsj, and I knew his marks at school were strong rivals to @fransisca_nf. As museum staff at the Asmat Museum in Agats, part of my responsibilities was to introduce the Asmat youth back to their culture. With globalization, traditional values (songs, rituals) aren’t always passed on to the younger Asmat generation. So I tackled that issue by bringing the Asmat youngsters along with me to some of my travels, John Peterces included. We went to cover feasts and daily life, in some of the villages we visited. I lent him and his friends my cameras to try to photograph what’s going on around them. In addition, too, I taught them how to fiddle with shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. As a result, some of the photos he made could hardly be made by us. In his environment, he could penetrate deep into the forest at sheer speed. He would notice things we would never notice with our eyesight.
John Peterces took the opportunity at the Museum to spur him on further. The following year, he was selected as Putra Pariwisata and was sent to Jayapura for that competition. On the side, he helped his friend - Markus Firamon, of Jamasj - to win 3rd place in a local photo competition, in which they won Rp 1 million using only a cameraphone. He said 2 days ago when he came visit, ‘All you taught me, I am passing them on to my friends, brothers and sisters.' Right now, John Peterces is studying computer science at STT-PLN as part of the regency scholarship. When he finishes his study, he said, ‘I would like to go back and document all the remaining values that are there in my community. I saw one of my elders died, and he took all the Asmat songs he knew with him,’ he said, 'I want to create a gallery, so that tourists may come and visit what’s left.' Listening to how he has been, I am quite satifsfied with the 1% contribution being his mentor back 5 years ago, but I am beyond proud to see him made it this far with 99% his effort.