One of the best things I love about my current lifestyle is the people I get to meet. I’ve met so many wonderful people in the past few months that I wouldn’t otherwise have in my past 9-6 desk bound job. Having accepted a freelance teaching position for late April, I was introduced today to a teacher in her 20s who would familiarize me in the IELTS curriculum so I could teach it later. Her name is Malti.
At first, we just went through the curriculum. Then we stopped for a break and she offered some of her homemade Red Velvet Melting Moments cookies to me. They were a wonderful red topped with powdered sugar, soft and crumbly and just the perfect sweetness. (They taste somewhat like Russian teacakes) I found out that she had started baking as a hobby, and started to take on orders from home with the help of her sister. As orders continue to multiply in numbers over the years, Malti has decided to leave the teaching job in May and invest her time in her venture and her passion.
Being a die-hard dessert and pastry lover, I devoured her story (and the cookies) like a hungry wolf. Her baked goods are sent to the customers with a handwritten note with words of encouragement. She said that some of her customers had written back to tell them they were so touched and encouraged by her notes they had cried. Malti said she baked because she enjoyed doing it and seeing the joy it brings people each time they eat her creation. She has also participated in baking for charitable causes and is interested in social work. However, she believes that charity extends beyond helping the poor and needy. Her customers, for example, may not be impoverished, but they too have many first world problems and loneliness that she believes a sweet delight accompanied by some sweet words could help alleviate.
When she told me all this, I simply couldn’t believe my ears. It was like I have found someone who have exactly read my heart and poured it out to me in her own words. (Oh, the lovely feeling of finding someone who understands you so well) Unlike me, however, Malti doesn’t actually like sweets, she just enjoys the process of baking. (My self-control, wherefore art thou?)
As if finding someone who bakes, has an interest in helping humans in general, whether their problems are third world or first world wasn’t enough, Malti went on to impress me with all the courageous and inspiring things she has done in the past. She had noticed families living under the highway and decided on one fine day to randomly drop by with 100 packets of food. Along with her driver, she went to the location and only saw one child. So she approached the child and offered him the packet of food. Before long, people came flocking and she got to speak to many of them and find out about how hard life was for them. She had done this a few times before a police officer stopped her because the crowd was obstructing traffic.
She had also stood up to an education officer in charge of accrediting the school she had worked for. Like any procedures in Indonesia, giving money to officers was the standard if not unsaid official protocol for getting anything done. If money is not procured, you can expect to rot 10 years with no results in your paperwork filing. While she had not directly challenged his corruption, she pointedly asked him if he had heard about the earlier suicide case where a student has killed herself because she had failed the standardized test. “Do you think it’s right that students are killing themselves over test results? Education is so much more than just grades, it is about building character. Education is supposed to improve your lives, not kill you.”
The officer merely shrugged and said there was nothing he could do. She then told him off saying that instead of saying that, he should go up to his supervisors or whoever was in charge and make sure something was not about the education system in Indonesia, if not what was the use of an education board.
I truly applaud her and I’m so glad I met her. The world needs more inspiring and courageous people. And I believe there are a lot of good people in the world and that we all need to work together to be the change we want to see.