Monday, January 27, 2014

Man Jadda Wajada!

Man Jadda Wajada
He who gives all will surely succeed.

Speaking at the Man Jadda Wajada Training
Two weeks ago, I picked up a book from my host dad’s bookshelf titled, The Land of Five Towers. I read the brief description on the back, not completely convinced of if my need for a good read would be satisfied. But as it was the only book in English that I hadn’t yet read, I dove in. What I didn’t know then, is just how much this book would shake up my world. 

For two days, I had my nose stuck in the yellow paperback. I was along for the adventure of Alif- A high school, aged boy from the island of Sumatra who had taken on the journey of attending a pesantren (Indonesian Islamic boarding school,) instead of his ultimate dream of attending public high school.  His journey was not an easy one. He left the meager village he had lived in his whole life, leaving behind everything familiar, and made the voyage to the island of Java. He didn’t know a single thing about the school he would be attending. He didn’t know a single person who would be there. And he had no idea, just how big of an impact his new environment would have on him. Sound familiar? As I was reading this novel, I couldn’t help but feel like I was reading MY story. The lessons Alif was learning at MP, were the same lessons I had been learning here in Indonesia. Lessons such as valuing my education, pushing every limit I ever thought I had, the importance of excelling in languages, and the realization that a little spirituality can go a long way. (Side note- The story is actually based on the author’s real experiences!)

After finishing the novel- shaken up and moved in ways I had never experienced before- I ambitiously decided to try to contact the author, Ahmad Fuadi. It all started with a tweet, sending my praise for The Land of Five Towers, in a similar way that a preteen girl would fangirl over One Direction. Even though I wasn’t expecting a response, I at the very least had to try to share my appreciation. But, here’s the cool part- He responded! I insisted that if he was ever in Bandung, he had to let me know so we could perhaps meet and share stories. As fate would have it, he was scheduled to give the first ever Man Jadda Wajada training here in Bandung, and graciously offered me a free ticket. But the fun doesn’t stop there! I was also invited to speak in front of the crowd of 400 people!

Fuadi and I
After a sleepless night, I rolled out of bed ready for the long day ahead. I checked into the event, got my snazzy name tag, and took a seat among 400 others. The event started with luminous lights, a wonderful playlist, and a dash of dancing. The first speaker of the day was Harri Firmansyah- One of Indonesia's top 10 inspiring trainers. His ideas shook up the entire crowd- myself included. I was feeling so exhilarated I almost forgot that I also had to get up and speak. Next thing I know, I’m standing in front of 400 people beside one of the raddest humans I’ve ever encountered. Shaking in my shoes, I spoke of how I had always dreamt of living abroad, my journey of getting to where I am today, and everything I have learned thus far.
Signing a few autographs
After the first session, we broke for lunch. People from all kinds of different backgrounds approached me and thanked me for my speech! I went to the event prepared to be inspired, but I wasn’t expecting to inspire others! It was an incredibly gratifying experience to know that I had encouraged others to chase after their biggest dreams, as well.

“Man jadda wajada!” the audience roared. Voices boomed. The room rumbled. And a spark inside me was ignited. After countless photos, smiles, and happy vibes, the event came to a close.

The day was nothing short of a success. People from different organizations approached me with offers of joining their organizations, attending their events, and I even had an offer to speak again! I met countless outliers who have big plans for their futures, and even bigger hearts. In the end, I left the event on cloud nine. I’m ready to go full force at all of my crazy dreams, and am fully equipped to help others achieve theirs. Man jadda wajada, my friends. 

A big terima kasih to Bang Fuadi! If you would like to read his book, (And yes, you ALL should.) You can find it here on Amazon! Selamat baca!