Senior citizens happily observe Independence Day

Luh De Suriyani, The Jakarta Post | Wed, 08/19/2009

Dozens of elderly men and women looked happy wearing traditional Batik sarongs as they got ready to race in a two-meter width and 20 meter-long runaway as part of Indonesia’s 64th independence celebrations at the Wana Seraya nursing home in Denpasar on Monday.

The 65-year old Latri was energetically strove to reach the finish lane.

“God, I made it. I can still run quite fast,” Latri said.

Organized jointly by Bali Blogger Community, the nursing home held a party for its 64 occupants.

The senior residents, mostly in their 60s and 70s, took part in a series of games and competitions including beauty contests, running and many other activities.

The event was also highlighted by health services for the elderly. Many received medical check-ups and treatments from doctors belonging to the blogger community.

“Some of the elderly people here are suffering from various health problems that require intensive medical treatments,” said Kadek Wibawa, chairman of the community.

The Independence Party was also intended to raise funds to help the nursing home provide proper services to its occupants.

“We don’t have adequate financial back-up for health services and to take care of those who pass away here,” added Stefanus Besi, one of the nursing home’s staff.

“When they die, we will face difficulties in finding their families. Therefore, we need money to take care of the dead people and to hold religious ceremonies and burial processes including cremation for the Balinese native.”A number of staff have personally funded burial procedures.

During the party, the community raised Rp 3.1 million in cash.

“We hope to connect each other in our blogs and communication networks to invite other people to donate their money or to provide any assistance for the elderly people and the nursing home,” Wibawa said.

I Made Camra, 80, is unable to live with his immediate family.

“I don’t have children, but I have close families who have avoided their responsibilities of taking care of an old man like me,” said Camra, a freedom fighter. Camra said he was involved in the fight against the Dutch troops along with Balinese heroes like I Gusti Ngurah Rai.

“I am happy to see Indonesia’s rapid development. But President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono must pay attention to the country’s freedom fighters and the poor.”



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