Indonesia as a developing country with islands that reach approximately a total of 17,500, has its shares of problems. In regards to the late 70’s, with the explosive growth of the population comes growing predicaments. Health, education, infrastructure, and many more social predicaments needed to be tackled in most parts of the country, especially in the distand island of Papua; but at which in that period of time Indonesia still lacks the human resources to adress those needs. It isn’t suprising that Indonesia became a huge attention to social activists and the human rights movement all around the world including the United States of America, and who knew from United States of America came a reformed drug addict to work splendidly as an social activist in Indonesia. That man is named Jim Yost.
Jim Yost with the company of his wife came to Indonesia in 1977 to the island of Irian or what we know today as Papua. With the burden of reaching the alienated tribes, he immediately set foot in the middle of the Sawi tribe who are in the lowlands in the southern part of Irian Jaya. In his earlier years as an activist, there were barriers that challenged him, whether it was the language, culture, geopraphy, and including diseases in which Mr. Yost has once contracted Malaria in his line of work. All that combined brought a sense of isolation and disparity, but not once has Mr. Yost given up. In his work, Mr. Yost sought to implement a unified service, a whole service which includes schools to eradicate illiteracy, teaches livestock courses, health services, water projects etc. To this day his work has not been vain, and can be felt by the people of Papua.
Currently Mr. Yost is residing and expanding his work on the Sentani District in Jayapura and with the same goal in mind as his works with the Sawi tribe, he intends to promote health, welfare, education, and character with the people in and nearby areas of the Sentani District.
From being held as a child to having a picture with him side by side-shoulder by shoulder, it was pleasure to see his impact on the growth of Papua. I myself as an Indonesian and an avid observer on human rights and social works, has had a great honor to meet him personally and seen many of his noble jobs in Indonesia, and for that Mr. Yost I would like to thank you for your accomplishments for my beloved country of Indonesia. The love and sincerity is remarkably seen in his works for the Indonesia citizens in Papua, truly it fitting for him to be called the American with a heart of an Indonesian.