Friday, 29 October 2010
As people in England seem to know better than people in Indonesia Volcanoes have erupted, their has been an earthquake and a Tsunami, which has created absolute devastation to parts of Indonesia. This has not affected Flores.
However what has affected Flores is two ferries full of passengers sinking in Ende and Maumere. This happened on Saturday 23rd of October. The same time I boarded a ferry with the school choir on a trip to Kupang. We had not heard of the incidents at Ende and Maumere before departing. 100's of people have died and families have been devastated. I arrived safe and well in Kupang, although very tired after the 24 hour crossing.
So arrived safe and well in Kupang with the school choir and our dancers. We stayed in the Sekolah Luar Biasa in Kupang (School for outside normal). I was told this was a new school with only five pupils. So had the shock of my life when I got out of the bathroom on Monday morning, to walk across the school playground in my Sarong and hair in a towel, only to find hundreds of children in the school playground. The kids looked at me and I looked at them....I really was not expecting a load of children to turn up. The last thing the teachers and children of the school expected was to have a half naked Bula walking across the school playground at 7am.
I survived my week of eating boiled rice with a bit of veg and fish for breakfast , dinner and tea. Must adit had had a funny effect of my bowel movements. Especially since I ate some fruit and drank some green tea last night. I think I must have lost a lot of weight in one night. I shared my room with the children and the teachers, and I cannot believe how well behaved children are in Indonesia. We spend hours doing nothing, but the kids did not complain and found little things to do to entertain themselves.
The children attended church twice on the Sunday and sang for the congregation, and they performed two shows, as well as meeting with the very important guy incharge of the Manggarai offices in Kupang. They had dinner with the Bupati, and what was so nice is on these formal occasions they were treated as equals and with respect.
The on the last day the best thing in the world. After weeks of waiting I got to go to the beach!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I got plates, knives, forks and spoons. Some Hot Chocolate which was disgusting and out of date and made me vomit. 100's of DVD's (and they work) and a map of Flores, which is out of date, made in 1993, but this is the kind of thing which is impossible to find here.
First shock we had was Mikal explaining that she received water once a week, so she has to be quite careful with her water storage. Also she had to contend with scorpions and Geko's the size of mini Komodo dragons.
I was excited as once again I thought I would see the beach. On arrival Mikal explained the unfortunately the beach was 17 km's away. However plenty of beer was drank, we had the option of tequila but opted out as none of us wanted to be sick of the journey to Bajawa the next day.
Thursday, 14 October 2010
So I was all excited about the possibility of seeing a nice beach. I was sooo wrong. First I left Ruteng with Sister Lydia at 3.30pm in the afternoon. Already know this was going to be an issue as the journey to Ende where the plane takes off is seven hours away. I had started work on the same day at 7am in the morning. So after my seven hours in the car, listening to music that can make your ears bleed, guess how much of a bad mood I was in when I arrived in Ende! Yes you have guessed it, a foul mood.
So shared a hotel room with the sister I was accompanying to Sumba, next morning woke rather early, as the Sister got up at 3am to watch the television which happened to be positioned by my head. At 7am had to ride on a back of the motorbike to the airport. Which was fine, except I was the only white person around for this flight. So I was a tourist attraction once again. But the things that really caught me off guard in Ende is that you have to get weighed before you get on the plane. Now I am not the smallest lighted person in the world, and knowing the Indonesians I taught this has the potential to get very embarrassing. However all the airport staff were very good when thy saw the scales tip over 100 kilos. (Which is really unusual in Indonesia) However the sister accompanying me had a dance and a jig whilst laughing and shouting at the top of her voice to everyone who would listen about my weight. (however I was quite pleased it is the first time that I have been weighed since leaving England and I have lost nearly two stone) weight I really did need to loose. I just hope I can loose a bit more.
So we get on a small plane, kind of one of those planes they do not let into British air space as they could potentially crash at any moment. But in comparison to England and Europe where everyone runs for the seats on the plane, here people are really polite. They wait for mothers and children to get on the flight first, and the infirm and then the sisters and priests, and then the rest of us. The flight was about 30 mins, and as we traveled over Island of Sumba I could see white beaches and crystal blue waters. Glad I saw them at this time, as I never saw them again and my week was about to deteriorate.
So I arrived in Waitabula, the sights include a cathedral and a hospital and the Bishop of Sumba lives here too. My accommodation, was my own room in a house, with the other participants of the course, I think 14 in total. However Sumba is very hot, and we had no air conditioning. Their was 3 squat toilets and mandi's between 14 so things got a bit frought at times.
The food was brought from a local rumah makan and motorbikes in every meal, and it was absolutely gorgeous. I love Indonesian food so much, I am going to have to have some serious cooking lessons before leaving here to learn how to cook some of this dishes. Even boiled vegetables spiced up I love, especially those dished that involved aubergines. YUM YUM YUM!
The next day the course started at 8am. And then I realized I was in trouble. The course was from 8am through to 5.30pm in accountancy and the course was all in Indonesian. Now I am very keen to learn the language, but this was overkill. So I sat quietly in the corner and did understand some of the discussion. but then at about 10am the sun entered the sky and everyone in the room started to boil. No air-conditioning! The people in charge of the house had to go and buy some more fans whilst we all melted, but tried very hard to look as if we were concentrating. This continued for five days.
Now I am practicing my Bahasa Indonesian, however being in a house with no escape, with only Indonesians for company was really hard work, especially when the sister I went with became ill. So a massive thank you to Arnold who saved me, he could speak a bit of English, but was also very, very, funny!
Very big thank you to the bloke who organized for me to have a beer on the last night too! It was so nice.
Also thanks to the Bupati of Sumba who had an impromptu visit from me and a group of other trainees at the end of the course, and was very nice and pleasant. He is new and people were preparing for his party.
We also went to visit the Bishop, but unfortunately he was busy.
Friday, 1 October 2010
How to survive the Sopi!
Well I am pleased to announce that I have won one of the biggest challenges of my life! Well a drinking competition anyhow. Went to a party celebrating someone’s graduation. Ashamedly I have no idea who this person was, as it was a friend of a friend of the Aunt who works at the school where I am based. So I dutifully turned up with the Sisters that I work and live with at the moment. Now thankfully the other two volunteers from Ruteng Mark and Anouk are on holiday so I am looking after their house. Probably very good because of what happened next........
You have to bear in mind the life I have had since arrival in Ruteng has been listening to praying and singing at 5am, (I am sleeping, but it penetrates through the walls of the convent) cold mandi, very cold mandi at 5.30am and breakfast at 6am. (Don’t panic on Sunday’s I get a lay in, breakfast is not until 7.00am) Start work at 7am tea break at 10m, lunch at 1pm siesta till 5pm (I check my internet, go for a walk, look at my motor bike think about getting on it and then think...maybe tomorrow, as it still scares me). Dinner at 7pm after listening to 6pm prayers through the wall whilst I am reading. For those of you know me you will know that I am not the most religious of people, so this is a change of life for me, but one I found very relaxing. However I did fear I was becoming institutionalized.
So when Mark and Anouk said they going on holiday and could I please look after their house, of course the answer was a massive yes!!!!!!!!!!! And I am pleased to report that I have been nearly very well behaved. Well until the events of yesterday!
So I turn up to the graduation party and some of the teachers from the school are present. Now in work I have been quite quiet, people know me by my laugh, I live with nuns what could possible go wrong. Well Pak ? (he has been asked to remain anonymous due to the shame) thought I should try a bit of the local Sopi. How can a girl resist? (What Pak ? does not know is I know about the dangers of this stuff, as I have been taught well by Mikal, Anouk, Mark, Danny, Lau and Teresa and our recent adventures in the Bajawa district attending first communion parties. Those of you on facebook will have seen the photos and me attempting to introduce the waltz to The Island of Flores) So I have my first drink of Sopi with Pak ?, he then pour’s me another which I seem to drink, but actually goes to the new friend sitting to my right when Pak ? Goes outside for a cigarette.
At this point the sisters leave the building, expecting me to leave with then. I explain I am in the middle of talking to someone and I will be fine to make my own way home. Pak ? enters the room with another drink for me of Sopi. Which I drink. Pak then goes to get another drink, but I make another friend sat on the left who knows what I am doing and offers to help. Pak ? get another drink so I drink it slowly Pak ? then has to go to the loo, so my now friend of the left drinks it. I offer to get the next drinks. But What I actually get is water for me and Sopi for my new friends and Pak? Noone could tell because of the colour of the glasses were drinking from. You know those plastic ones. Anyhow this pattern of drinking did go on for a few hours. And by the end I was quite merry, as were the new friends. Also the Sopi transformed me into someone who could speak and understand all Bahasa Indonesian spoken, but poor Pak ? could not walk!!!!
Anyhow got home and went to sleep. Today woke up and have a bit of a headache and my fluent Indonesian seem to have disappeared overnight. However Pak ? Apparently he is sakit! I bet he is!
Anyhow off to the Island of Sumba tomorrow. Tomorrow I have between 5 and 6 hours on a bus, stay in Enda overnight and then fly or boat it to Sumba. Sumba is an island with pristine beaches and beautiful scenery. I am going to be seeing the conference facilities of a hotel for five days, whilst I try and understand an Indonesian accountancy course. Fun oh FUN!
Hope everyone is well, this site will not be updtaed for about three weeks, as I will not get back from Sumba until next weekend, and then I only have four days in work before I go to Bajawa and Mbay, but will try and gets loads of photos so I have more to write on my return.