My name is Abroorza Ahmad Yusra, but people call me Rozzay. I was a writer, I am a writer, and I will be a writer for the rest of my life. I was born in Pontianak in West Kalimantan.
After primary school, I continued my study in West Java, and stayed there for six years. It was there I found my interest in writing, and wrote four novels. This fueled my passions and I continued my study in Indonesia Literature at Padjadjaran University in Bandung.
When I lived in Bandung I often heard about the environmental damage in West Kalimantan, my home town. I was deeply saddened by the destruction of the place of my childhood. I wanted to give back, so began donating a bit of my time at local not-for-profits.
I was hooked. I wanted to help save the land, the people, and the culture that I had grown to love. I found myself pouring over novels that depicted the ancient tales of the Dayak, and diving into books describing the quick disappearance of my homelands forests.
“I am excited to be apart of the founding team and am excited about the upcoming years” – Rozzay
At this time I also discovered one of my favorite authors, John Steinbeck. One of his short stories(I’ve forgotten the name :) ), tells a story of a turtle. The turtle tries to cross the road, but is hit by a car. He then falls down to the other side, the hard shell keeping him alive. The turtle then continues the trip unharmed. Seems simple?
But only Steinbeck could take such a small tale, and just with words alone, capture me in such a way. His writing style caused me to open my eyes, to look at the world around me and notice minute details, to search for things that may go unseen if adequate time is not taken. He caused me to think twice before passing a flower in bloom, or a tree I hadn’t noticed, or a store I have never stepped into.
After I graduated I began to work for World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and as a community researcher and writer. I have released two books, Crystal Eye, and Membingkai Rana Jelundung with their support. I also have worked on their PANDACLICK program where rural villagers are given cameras to photograph their daily lives.
“But possibly even more interesting, I am excited to gain a better understanding of how these local traditions interact with a communities view and connection to nature.” -Rozzay
Last year I helped co-found Planet Indonesia. We all had new ideas, new approaches, and a new take on conservation and development. Besides joining all the projects at Planet Indonesia, I also am working on my book The Kapuas Mindset. This book, supported by Planet Indonesia, will be the first ever investigation and telling of the ethnobiology of West Borneo.
We are asking interesting questions such as: How does ethnicity impact a communities view of nature? How does local history interact with the local environmental movement? How do different ethnic groups respond to not-for-profit programs? I am ecstatic about this book project and the tales, folklore, and stories we will uncover. But possibly even more interesting, I am excited to gain a better understanding of how these local traditions interact with a communities view and connection to nature.
I am excited to be a part of the founding team and am excited about the upcoming years. I truly believe through our work at Planet Indonesia, we can make the world a better place. I am can’t wait to see how we can help my home region become a more balanced place.