Me, Rhinos and My Family
By Aris Hendriyanto RPU Way Kambas National Park
My name is Aris Hendriyanto. I have been working as an RPU member since 2005. Compared with other members of the RPU I am still junior. Most of them have been with the RPU since 1998 or 2000. I am still learning to be a ‘true’ RPU member like my seniors in the RPU. When I joined the RPU, I had just married. I felt so lucky! I got a wife and also a job!
Before joining the RPU, I was a member of a Tiger Patrol Unit (TPU). The RPU chose me out of more than 20 people at the time. Only 3 people from TPU could be an RPU member. I knew that it would take much hard work to be an RPU member. I was proud to become a member of the RPU and I served 3 months probation before becoming a full member.
One year later, my baby girl was born! It was an amazing moment but also hard for me. As RPU staff I had to leave them to patrol at least 15 days per month and also sometimes with high risk because of contact I may have with poachers. Before the baby, my wife never complained or asked about my work, but after we had the baby she became a bit worried with my job. I tried to explain to her and also to the rest of my big family. I learned this from my seniors at the RPU because they said this is normal and they had been through the same thing.
I said to my wife and my family that I work for them and for our life and I enjoy my work and am proud to be an RPU member. I said that I work with a good team with lots of experience and safe strategies for dealing with poachers.
Step by step, year by year I get through life and work with support from them and my RPU. I try to make my time with family quality time. I have to try to balance time between my job and my family. I learn much from my seniors at the RPU. They have been through the same things as RPU members. Together at the RPU we try to be the front line for survival of the Sumatran rhino and also the front line for our family. We cannot do this alone. We need support from many people and particularly from our donors….