Monday, 27 April 2020

What I Learned as Part of Tanoto Foundation’s Efforts to Provide Equipment to Medical Workers

On Monday (13/4), Tanoto Foundation sent a team of three to Shanghai, China, to ensure the safe passage of donated PPE (personal protection equipment) to Indonesia via a chartered Garuda Indonesia Boeing 777-300ER. Sari Rezki Antika Kurnianto, one of the three members of the team that also included Yosea Kurnianto and Fembiarta Binar Putra, shares her experience.

This article is adapted from Sari’s original blog post found here.

On Wednesday, April 8th, I received a phone call from Agung Laksamana, APRIL‘s Corporate Affairs Director. He offered me an opportunity to go on a humanitarian mission with a team from Tanoto Foundation and RGE to collect PPE (personal protection equipment) from Shanghai, China.

Tanoto Foundation is not a new organization to me. It supported my university studies. Without thinking any further, I accepted the offer and had to fly to Jakarta on Thursday, April 9th. There may be fear and uncertainty surrounding Covid-19, but I believed this did not mean surrender. This was a way of God to test the values of our humanity.

It was in Pangkalan Kerinci, Riau, the location of PT RAPP’s operations where I work for the last four years, that I prepared for my mission. I informed my family and they were understandably concerned: I did my best to convince them that this mission was important and I would exercise caution. They finally supported my decision, and my brother told me this would be good deed that will have long-lasting impact.

In Jakarta, I receive motivation and encouragement, one of which came from Anderson Tanoto, RGE Director. That adds to our team belief in the mission of collecting the much needed PPE for our medical force.

When I posted my experiences of this mission in my social media, I received so much support from friends. This only added to my spirit and energy in carrying out the mission.

On early Monday (April 13th), we flew onboard a chartered Garuda Indonesia’s Boeing 777-300ER flight from Soekarno Hatta International Airport. We flew with 8 volunteers from Garuda Indonesia, four captain pilots and four flight attendants. I am proud to be the only woman on board! Women are equally as a capable to contributing to this important mission.

We flew for about six hours. At about 6AM Shanghai time, we land at Pudong International Airport. We immediately wore our full PPE – protective suit, gloves, face mask and safety goggle – to protect ourselves.

The team of volunteers started to load the cargo which weighed a total 30 tons. We learned that the volunteers were employees of Garuda Indonesia. The PPEs were loaded into the plane’s cargo compartment and cabin. Wearing the PPE while working proved uncomfortable. It was hot and the gloves were prone to ripping. I could only imagine how our medical forces have to wear PPE all day. For this, I salute them.

In less than four hours, the donations were all loaded onto the aircraft. They installed safety nets to secure the boxes on the passengers’ seats so they would not move mid-flight. We had to take our PPE off and dispose of them. All the volunteers and the flight crew work really hard and were very professional, ensuring we get a proper in-flight service. I wish them health and good blessings!

We then flew back to Jakarta. The volunteers were all exhausted. They sacrificed sleep and had to handle the cargo of 1 million face masks, 1 million gloves, 100,000 protective gowns and 3,000 safety goggles. It was no easy feat.

We returned to Jakarta the same day at 4.30PM Jakarta time. After disembarking, Yosea, Fembi and I followed health protocol that included a Covid-19 rapid test. Thank God, all of our results were negative.

Members of Tanoto Foundation and RGE management received us on the ground. They were there to also ensure that all the donation goods were properly handed over to BNPB (National Agency for Disaster Countermeasure) and distributed to our medical force.


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The next day, I flew back to Pangkalan Kerinci and started my 14-day self quarantine. On my way home, I thought:

If I had chosen to sleep and done nothing, I would not have been able to make a difference in helping out on this humanitarian mission.

As a human being, is there more I could offer other than my humanity, care and the willingness to help others?

This is an extraordinary experience. Although I experienced some challenges, the support from my friends gave me the much needed energy to go on.

May God allow us to get through all of this.

Please stay safe my dearest friends! Let’s support our medical force by keeping a healthy lifestyle.

Please watch my video below:


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