Making a hole-in-one on the green
Credit: PROVIDED BY FANSHAWE ATHLETICS
Fanshawe Falcons golfer, Mery Tarigan (centre) has proven that hard work and determination can certainly pay off in the long run.
As described in a Sept. 18 Fanshawe's Athletics press release, Tarigan was born and raised with her four siblings to a single-parent family in the small village in Indonesia called Kabanjahe.
Tarigan said that it was her responsibility to help support her family. At age 19 she put aside a scholarship for university to help her brother pay for the rest of his high school education.
Targian went to work in Malaysia as a caddie where she sent her small income back to her family.
Working as a caddie, Tarigan grew to love the game.
“When I worked in Bintan, I taught myself how to play golf. Sometimes I watched YouTube, sometimes I watched people play golf,” Tarigan said. “Because my company gave me the opportunity to play golf, I took the opportunity to play it. Every caddie gets to play free golf. As well I love sports, so I also love golf. I think it's an interesting game and fun.”
Here she met Londoners Paul and Janet Tufts, who at the time were living and working in Malaysia and saw the potential in Tarigan's amicable and hard-working spirit.
“In Malaysia, caddies are almost mandatory so Mery was working as one of the caddies at the golf course. Paul recognized right off the bat that Mery was the best caddie there,” Janet Tufts, wife to Paul Tufts, said. “Once you meet Mery, you realize very quickly how special she is. She is a talented caddie, very smart, respectful and has a real sense of humour. An absolutely delightful girl. She didn't have a lot of English, but enough to get through a golf game. He got to know her and he worried about her future. Her future as a caddie was not going to be interesting. So we talked it over, and he made sure I met Mery, and she helped my golf game. Then we decided to offer an opportunity to come to Canada and go to school at Fanshawe to better her life.”
As stated in the Sept. 18 press release, after Tarigan's brother graduated from high school, she was able to pursue her dreams of attending college. With the help of the Tufts, Tarigan began her attendance at Fanshawe in 2017, completed her English as a Second Langue (ESL) studies and will continue on into the golf and club management program this fall.
“[Paul and I] love Fanshawe. We both went to Western, we are very familiar with Fanshawe and knew Fanshawe would be a great place for her. She fell in love with it. As soon as saw the school, she was just blown away from how big and clean it was. Within the first month of being there she created a big poster of the Fanshawe logo that she hangs in her bedroom,” Tufts said.
At Fanshawe, Tarigan became a varsity golfer and said she has been greatly enjoying her time as part of the team.
“Last year, I played for the Fanshawe team, so this year is the second year for me. I like it so far. My team, they are so nice. And my coach, Colin Robertson, is a very good coach,” Tarigan said.
Placing eighth at her first Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) Championship last year, Tarigan said she is excited and little bit nervous to attend the tournaments of OCAA once more and Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) in the coming weeks.
When asked what she finds is different from playing golf in Malaysia compared to Canada, she explained jokingly that there are “no monkeys here” and, more seriously, that she could play 12 months a year in Malaysia, but that “it's a shorter time”, to be able to play here.
According to Tarigan, the next big goal in her journey is working towards building a school for her small village in Indonesia.
“My childhood was hard for me because when I was six or seven years old, my father left. I wanted to go to school, but I had to work because in Indonesia if you want to go to school you have to pay. So if I want to go to school I had to work, if I did not work I couldn't go. I want to build a school for young children so that they don't feel what I felt [the hardships] in the past,” Tarigan said.
Next month on Oct. 13, there will be a fundraiser golf tournament held at Echo Valley where people can play in the tourney for $125 per person, with a dinner that can be added for $50, to help. In the meantime, Tarigan and Tufts said that people who want to donate to the $35,000 fundraiser can go to their GoFundMe website at ca.gofundme. com/merycristyna to donate.