Seeing Edia

July 11, 2007 § Leave a comment

Seeing Edia

Edia is my teacher. I used to call her Dr. Budi, but at some point she started signing her email to me using her first name, and since then I called her Edia. She’s a lecturer and a writer. Trained as a medical doctor but not a clinician anymore; she deals mostly with urban planning and health-related social issues.
At first glance she reminds me of my mother, just about the same age though she looks older, with the same passion when talking about injustice, with the same “hippie style”. I don’t even know how to properly explain what is a hippie style, but that’s just how I see her. With any kind of subject she teaches in class, she always stresses the importance of empowerment. Empowerment of people, empowerment of women. With that she fascinates me. I have to admit that despite the intriguing world of medical science, I like to contemplate on social issues as well. I’d like to think that despite my being a clinician someday, I should keep learning whatever I want in whatever field. For me that’s like a requirement in being human and living.
With every discussion in class, I got a better idea of what she believes in, what kind of work she does. She’s a consultant for major international organizations. She writes articles for journal publications and reports. Once she sent a report draft for me to study, complete with a first page heading, “Do not circulate or edit”. That report draft was yet to be published.
She’s so thin, so absorbed in her work that she told me she often forgot to eat. A colleague once told me that after a session in a conference, everyone sat down at a table for dinner. She just kept talking to another lecturer, just tossing the food around the plate with her fork. By the time everyone finished their meal and ready to get back to the conference room her meal was practically untouched, she left and didn’t eat any of it. Another time, when I wanted to discuss something with her she told me that we should go to the cafetaria and talk there instead, so she could have lunch. It turned out that the day before a friend of her was surprised of how thin she looked, and warned her to pay more attention to herself, and to eat. Most of the time, she said, she just work in her office, unaware of how many meals she missed.
Anytime I entered her office she’d be in front of her computer, writing the next article or report or email or lecture. And I thought, now that, that is pure dedication.
With that much time she spent working, and the amount of work she has to do, it makes more sense to picture her being single and unmarried. I didn’t expect her to have a family. But then she mentioned a son. Another time she mentioned a daughter. Then I got the chance to visit her at her house. I met her son. She said, “My partner, the father of my children is in America right now, working”. But still, I see a family.
In Edia I see belief, commitment, dedication and passion.

I meet many people from places around the world. I get to know them. Sometimes I get to see what their works are like, what their characters are like. Sometimes I could meet their family. And in some rare chances, I get to see what’s in their heart.

Ajeng. Semarang, 11 July 2007

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