Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Nam Jai - Indonesia 2006

Yogyakarta - part 1

Sunday we left Bandung for Yogyakarta. After the (still impressive) six hour trainride, I am back in the city where I really learned to speak Indonesian. It is still as beautiful as I remember. We take a taxi to the touristy Prawirotaman area, where we end up staying at Clouseau's Ludo Wouters' Prambanan Guesthouse. After a plunge in the pool, we meet up with our friends from FLOWGI; Tri, Agus and Fai. We briefly discuss our plans for the week and agree to meet monday morning at nine.

A walk through the neighborhood quickly shows the damage here. Many houses have collapsed, tents provide shelter, while the rubble still lies on the sidewalk. On monday we visit three schools in Bantul; the first one is Banjardadap. It has 22 kids in kindergarten, 92 students and 13 teachers. Both the teachers and the children greet us enthousiastically. They still have good memories of Flowgi's visit earlier this year. The Director explains how difficult it is for her to manage the school. The building is still standing, but will be demolished after all usefull materials have been removed. All lessons are held in tents donated by the government (they were given to Indonesia by the Japanese government).

The second school is in an equal state. Tents serve as classrooms; they wait for funds to renovate the building. The third school has no building left; temporary classrooms made of wood and aluminum have been donated by an Islamic institution from Saudi Arabia. Here, they mostly need books for the second semester and shoes. All three schools are waiting for help from the government; none has arrived, besides the army clean-up team that came only one day.

It was very impressive to see, difficult as well as we know we cannot help all the schools with our small donation. On tuesday morning we discuss exact plan for the rest of the week. We decide to donate most of the funds to the Banjardadap school, where the children need schoolbooks and uniforms. With our (and your!) contribution we can buy books for all courses which the children will have to share. Besides they will all get the batik unform they wear on Friday and Saturday. Furthermore, we will buy toys for the kids of a kindergarten (Taman Kanak-kanak or TK) volunteer Erita has told us about. The TK is in her hometown (village I should say) and the 28 kids have nothing there. We will go there on saturday. On sunday we will organise a 'funday', of course together with our Flowgi friends at the second school we visited, SD Asiffa.

After a (very Indonesian) meeting at Tri's house, we went to visit the two orphanages, Ghifari and Mardi Siwi. Ghifari is located in a small village near the Merapi, a small dark building holding some 20 kids. To help the orphanage with an income, Flowgi has donated four cows, which have been named after the flowgi board. Kees, Ronald and Tuty are well taken care of.

Mardi Siwi is home to 35 children, most in their teens. When we arrive, they are all gathered - a horn honks. They introduce themselves and answer Michael's question - What do you want to be when you grow up? - one by one. Most of them want to become docters, nurses or teachers. One girl wants to be a stewardess and a twelve-year old boy says he wants to become a professor, "So I can invent new things which can help develop my country". Thus, an ambitious bunch. The stewardess-to-be admires my white skin, saying her dark skin is ugly. It is a cliche, but I tell her that she is pretty just the way she is. Hopefully she will remember this in the future...

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