Kampung di Atas Awan

March 31, 2016 § 2 Comments

Sejak pertama melihat foto Waerebo, saya tahu saya harus kesana. Bukan hanya karena indah, walau alasan itupun sudah cukup. Kampung itu terlihat seperti mimpi, begitu tidak biasa. Ada sesuatu yang tidak saya mengerti, sesuatu yang harus saya alami. Memutuskan akan pergi, saya berhenti melihat gambar-gambar di internet supaya tidak merusak misterinya. Tapi sesungguhnya tidak akan cukup foto maupun cerita yang bisa menyamai perasaan saat kamu disana. Tentu saja, saya tidak mengerti itu saat memulai perjalanan ini.

IMG_5329.JPGBiara Maria Berduka Cita, tempat saya menginap malam pertama di Ruteng, Flores.

Pagi-pagi di Ruteng, saya pergi naik ojeg ke Terminal Mena untuk naik oto kayu yang pergi ke desa Denge, pemberhentian terakhir sebelum Waerebo. Sebenarnya oto kayu ini adalah truk tapi disulap menjadi transportasi umum. Berhubung ini adalah pekan sebelum Paskah, oto kayu pun penuh oleh orang-orang desa yang akan pulang untuk merayakan minggu suci bersama keluarga di desa. Pria, wanita, orang tua, anak-anak, karung-karung, dan ayam ikut dalam perjalanan yang panjang dan berbatu-batu ini.

Tidak ada ‘pintu’ masuk ke truk ini maka semua penumpang harus memanjat dari samping bak truk dan ‘bernegosiasi’ saat akan mencari tempat duduk di dalamnya. Melihat saya yang jelas seorang pendatang, penumpang-penumpang dalam truk menjadi penasaran dan mengajak saya bercakap-cakap. Kenapa saya sendirian? Tanya mereka. Dan lucunya mereka juga meminta maklum karena jalanan di Flores tidak mulus. Perjalanannya tidak pernah membuat saya bosan sedikitpun, karena keseruan menontoni remaja-remaja Flores yang berperan seperti semacam ‘kenek’. Dengan lincah mereka loncat dari atap ke samping bak truk untuk mengatur tas-tas penumpang yang akan naik atau turun dari truk. Mereka juga sibuk berpindah-pindah untuk menghindari ranting atau sembunyi dari polisi. Walau matahari terik menyinari sebelah badan saya, dan tidak ada tempat untuk menyandarkan kepala, saya merasa sangat nyaman di kumpulan orang-orang yang baru saya temui ini. Saya pun akhirnya tertidur, dan terbangun karena dikejutkan oleh ranting-ranting dan dedaunan yang menampar wajah saya.

DSC01308.JPGSetelah lima jam penuh perjalanan yang berjendal-jendul, pemandangan indah, dan keramahan orang-orang desa, saya tiba di Denge.

DSC01566.JPGRumah Pak Blasius, tempat saya menginap di Denge, yang dijadikan homestay untuk para pendatang. Saya baru tahu ternyata tidak ada listrik dan sinyal di Denge dan Waerebo. Ideal untuk menenangkan pikiran, bukan?

flores-map.gifItenerary saya bermula dari barat pulau Flores (Labuan Bajo) dan rencananya akan menyusur ke ujung Timur (Larantuka) dalam waktu 10 hari, menghabiskan 2-3 hari di tiap kota besar.

Rencananya saya akan menghabiskan satu malam di Waerebo -saya pikir, cukuplah untuk memuaskan keingintahuan saya- dan melanjutkan perjalanan saya ke timur Flores. Saya mulai khawatir saat menemukan bahwa tidak akan ada oto kayu kembali ke Ruteng sampai Paskah berakhir. Dan transportasi umum dari Bajawa pun akan lumpuh sampai Minggu -masih hampir satu minggu lagi- sebab mayoritas umat Katolik di Flores akan merayakan Paskah. Saya pikir saya akan terjebak di desa ini dan rencana-rencana saya ke timur Flores akan gagal. Untungnya di Denge saya bertemu sekumpulan pengunjung lain yang menyewa mobil dan mempunyai rute yang mirip dengan saya. Ada ruang untuk saya di mobil mereka dan sayapun ditawarkan tumpangan :) Leganya.

Keesokan hari, saya bersama dengan rombongan ini naik ke Waerebo dengan pemandu lokal. Menggunakan jasa pemandu lokal wajib untuk naik dan turun Waerebo, agar pendatang tidak tersesat, dan adanya peringatan untuk berhati-hati karena di hutan ada ular hijau berbisa dan juga kobra. Apalagi musim hujan rawan longsor. Untuk naik ke Waerebo, jaraknya 9km dari Denge (6km, jika kamu punya kendaraan yang bisa menurunkan kamu di pos pendakian pertama).

SONY DSCJalan ke dalam hutan semakin sempit dan berbatasan persis dengan jurang.

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SONY DSC

IMG_5338.JPG… :’) Waerebo tampak dari pos pendakian terakhir…

Ada tujuh rumah adat di kampung Waerebo, semuanya ditinggali oleh anggota keluarga dari keturunan yang sama. Pertama-tama kami pergi ke rumah gendang (rumah utama) agar kepala suku, Bapa Alex dapat melakukan upacara penyambutan untuk kami. Bapa Alex bilang, saat kami berada di Waerebo, kami adalah orang Waerebo. Kami bebas melakukan apa saja di Waerebo, kecuali melakukan aktivitas di atas altar di depan rumah utama. Sebab itu adalah tempat yang disucikan dan hanya digunakan untuk melaksanakan ritual-ritual adat.

DSC01514.JPGMarcel mempersiapkan makanan di rumah tamu.

Setelah makan siang dengan rombongan, saya duduk di rumput memisahkan diri dari yang lainnya. Menikmati pemandangan di depan mata, mencoba menyerap segala sesuatu sebanyak yang saya bisa.

Di Waerebo saya selalu berjalan tanpa alas kaki. Rumput yang lembut, lembab dan sedikit dingin sangat menyegarkan kaki. Puluhan capung beterbangan di atas kompleks kampung. Sedang apa binatang-binatang di dalam hutan? Burung-burung dan serangga terdengar sibuk mengeluarkan suara-suara dari dalam rimbunnya pegunungan. Dengan rakus saya menghirup udara segar dalam-dalam ke paru-paru saya. Pikiran terasa begitu jernih, tenang, tetapi juga penuh kesadaran. Tidak ada kekhawatiran, kecemasan. Di ketinggian ini, awan selalu turun dan melewati kampung. Rasanya persis seperti saat pesawat yang kamu naiki melintasi awan, tetapi kali ini awan yang melintasimu, yang akan membuat kulitmu merinding. Tanpa disadari saya sudah duduk diam seperti ini selama enam jam, sampai saya dipanggil masuk untuk makan malam.

Saya berpikir, tidak mungkin saya mau pulang besok.

Selesai makan malam, saya bertanya pada pemandu saya apakah saya bisa memperpanjang waktu saya di Waerebo. Saya harus bertanya karena dia akan pulang bersama rombongan kami dan peraturannya setiap orang harus pergi dan pulang bersama pemandu. Pemandu saya pun berbicara dengan Marcel, pria lokal yang mengurusi pendatang. Mereka bilang saya boleh tinggal lebih lama, nanti pulang bersama rombongan lain yang datang belakangan, dan apabila tidak ada rombongan lain, saya bisa turun gunung bersama warga kampung yang akan turun untuk merayakan Jumat Agung di gereja Denge. Saya senang sekali dapat tinggal lebih lama, dan juga senang karena kesempatan pulang bersama warga kampung, rasanya bukan ‘turis’ lagi :D Sayapun harus melupakan tumpangan ke Bajawa dan menunggu sampai Senin. Tapi saya tidak terlalu peduli lagi terhadap rencana saya. Disinilah saya harus berada.

Hari berikutnya rombongan yang naik gunung bersama saya pun pulang. Mereka adalah orang yang baik-baik, tapi saya juga senang karena tinggal sayalah satu-satunya pendatang di kampung pada hari itu :)

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Saat saya sendirian, warga kampung lebih sering mendekati untuk bercakap-cakap dengan saya. Mungkin lebih tidak mengintimidasi untuk mendatangi orang yang sendirian yang sepertinya tidak ada kerjaan (seperti saya :D), daripada mendatangi orang yang sedang bersama temannya. Saya belajar banyak tentang kehidupan di Waerebo dari percakapan-percakapan saya dengan mereka. Naik turun gunung adalah bagian dari kehidupan sehari-hari. Mereka pergi ke kebun (kopi, jagung, buah-buahan lainnya) untuk bertani. Seorang bisa membawa sampai 25 kg hasil panen sekali jalan. Tidak ada sawah padi di Waerebo jadi mereka harus membawa beras dari desa-desa di luar. Perempuan yang sedang hamil harus naik turun gunung setiap bulan untuk memeriksa kandungannya di posyandu di luar Waerebo. Mereka juga harus turun gunung sebelum melahirkan (sesuatu yang tidak mungkin diizinkan dokter di kota). Seorang kakek tua menunjuk ke arah gunung di balik kampung dan mengatakan bahwa lewat gunung itulah mereka dulu berjalan kaki ke Ruteng (70 km lebih!), sampai tahun 1975.

Disana saya juga banyak bertemu pengunjung-pengunjung yang menjengkelkan. Mereka yang datang tanpa rasa peduli terhadap tempat ini. Mereka yang tertawa kencang-kencang di depan rumah penduduk, tanpa kesadaran bahwa seluruh kampung sudah gelap dan hening. Mereka yang tidak bertanya sedikitpun tentang sejarah maupun tradisi, yang tidak cukup peduli untuk membaca peraturan di rumah tamu, sampai mereka tidak sadar bahwa naik ke altar adalah larangan mutlak, sampai seorang perempuan naik ke atas altar untuk mengambil selfie. Saya cepat-cepat memperingatinya untuk turun dengan tampang jutek. Teman perempuan itu berkomentar, ‘harusnya mereka taro sign dong kalo disini gak boleh naik’. Saya benar-benar terkejut. Mereka tidak perlu menaruh tanda, ini bukan taman! Ini adalah rumah mereka dan mereka sudah membuka rumahnya bagimu. Kalaupun kamu tidak membaca peraturan atau tidak menyimak perkataan Bapa Alex saat upacara penyambutan, harusnya kamu punya kesadaran akan sekelilingmu. Karena kalau kamu sadar, kamu akan lihat bahwa dua orang desa yang sedang di luar menyaksikan kejadian itu dengan mata membelalak karena syok. Rasanya saya sangat mual menyaksikan tingkah laku orang-orang ini. Bagi mereka, Waerebo hanyalah objek. Objek yang akan menjadi latar belakang foto mereka di media sosial. Mereka menghentikan ibu-ibu yang sedang menumbuk kopi di lumbung, agar mereka dapat mengambil foto mereka sedang pura-pura menumbuk kopi sambil tersenyum menghadap kamera. Saat anak-anak kampung menolak untuk berfoto sambil ‘melompat’ bersama mereka, mereka pun mengiming-iminginya dengan permen (walaupun di poster rumah tamu pun sudah jelas tertulis bahwa pendatang dilarang memberikan permen atau makanan untuk anak-anak). Mereka memperlakukan warga Waerebo tanpa hormat. Sepertinya warga Waerebo tidak suka konfrontasi karena walaupun saya bisa melihat wajah mereka yang tidak setuju, mereka sering memilih diam saja tidak menegur. Mungkin mereka segan. Mungkin mereka tidak mau memberi kesan yang jelek untuk pariwisata Waerebo yang belakangan melejit. Perlu dicatat bahwa semua perbuatan-perbuatan di atas dilakukan oleh orang-orang di satu rombongan yang sama. Ohya, altar suci itu biasanya digunakan untuk meletakkan kurban. Just saying :p orang lokal yang mengetahui kejadian itu mendoakan agar perempuan yang naik ke altar baik-baik saja, sebab naik ke altar dipercaya akan membawa kesialan.

Di Waerebo saya hanya melihat satu tong sampah, di toilet pengunjung. Sepertinya tidak ada keperluan untuk memiliki tong sampah karena tidak ada benda-benda yang perlu dibuang. Tidak ada botol plastik, tidak ada mainan yang diproduksi pabrik, tidak ada makanan dari kemasan. Warga menanam tumbuhan untuk bahan makanan mereka dan membesarkan ayam sendiri. Air segar datang dari gunung. Anak-anak bermain dengan batu-batu, ranting, kayu, dan dedaunan. Pagi-pagi sekali saat anak-anak baru bangun, satu per satu mereka keluar dari rumah dengan sarung yang menyelimuti tubuh mereka dari sejuknya udara pagi, lalu mulai berkumpul untuk mengambil embun dari rumput menggunakan batang daun. Mereka lalu ‘menggambari’ tangan mereka dengan titik-titik embun. Mereka juga menghiasi tangan saya dengan tetesan-tetesan embun saat melihat saya payah sekali mengumpulkan embun (tidak semudah kelihatannya!), dan menggambar dengan tetesan embun di batu rata yang biasa saya gunakan untuk duduk. Ada satu bola tennis yang mereka mainkan sesekali, yang kegunaannya bisa berubah sewaktu-waktu menjadi bola sepak maupun bola voli :D Mereka kejar-kejaran dan bercanda dengan satu sama lain. Tapi juga mungkin karena pegunungan yang rimbun di latar belakang… dan berkah waktu yang mereka miliki, anak-anak juga mempunyai waktu untuk merenung. Kadang-kadang seorang anak duduk sendirian, mamandangi pengunungan dalam diam.

DSC01413.JPG Anak-anak berlatih jungkir balik saat kabut turun.

Anak-anak di Waerebo tidak pergi ke TK. Mereka memulai pendidikan sejak SD dan pergi ke desa-desa sekitar seperti Denge, Lenggos, Lembor, untuk mengenyam pendidikan. Orang tua akan mengantar mereka ke desa dan mempersiapkan mereka untuk hidup mandiri. Setelah kira-kira sebulan, orang tua pun akan pulang ke Waerebo meninggalkan anak-anak mereka untuk tinggal bersama keluarga lain. Anak-anak ini diharapkan sudah bisa mengurus diri mereka sendiri, semenjak umur 7 atau 8 mereka bahkan memasak untuk makan mereka sendiri. Saat akhir pekan, mereka juga bisa pulang ke Waerebo sendiri tanpa ditemani orang dewasa. Salah satu orang tua bercerita bahwa sedikitnya dua orang anak sudah bisa jalan sendiri ke Waerebo, mereka bisa tiba-tiba saja muncul saat ingin pulang :)

Tanggung jawab yang dipegang anak-anak disini sungguh mengagumkan. Anak perempuan maupun laki-laki sering menggendong dan mengasuh adik bayi mereka. Di homestay saya di Denge, anak-anak akan menghentikan aktivitas apapun yang mereka sedang lakukan bila orang tua menyuruh mereka mengerjakan sesuatu seperti mengambilkan minum untuk tamu.

DSC01402.JPGPagi-pagi, sekumpulan anak-anak pergi ke hutan untuk mengumpulkan kayu. Dari umur tiga tahun sudah ‘ikut-ikutan’ pergi walaupun diberikan kayu yang paling sedikit. Pemimpin mereka adalah yang paling tua (sekitar delapan tahun) yang bertugas menebang pohon dengan parang. Ya, mereka dapat dipercaya dengan parang. Mengerikan? :D

Heldis, anak perempuan berumur sembilan tahun, sering mendekati dan duduk bersama saya. Seperti anak lainnya disana, dia berbahasa Manggarai dan tidak lancar berbahasa Indonesia jadi percakapan kami hanya bisa pendek-pendek. Dia biasanya datang dengan adik bayi yang digendong dengan kain, menyapa saya dengan senyuman dan duduk di sebelah saya. Lalu kami duduk dalam diam, memandangi dan mendengar suara-suara dari gunung. Dia bertanya kepada saya mengenai rombongan saya, “Kemana teman-teman?” Saya jawab bahwa mereka sudah duluan pulang. “Tetapi kita masih disini?” tanyanya kepada saya. Menarik sekali bahwa dia menyebut saya sebagai “kita”, bukan “kamu” atau orang ke-3 seperti “kakak” atau “ibu”. Mungkin dia berusaha sopan, atau mungkin karena kebudayaan yang komunal dan penuh kebersamaan..

Berada di Waerebo lebih daripada ‘pelarian’ dari hiruk pikuk Jakarta. Ia bukan pengalaman yang membuat kamu merasa ‘rendah hati’ karena kesederhanaan mereka, seperti yang teman saya kira. Dan tentunya ia melampaui ‘pemandangan indah’. Di sini, menjadi terasa sangat jelas mana yang penting dan mana yang tidak. Siapa dan apa yang muncul dalam pikiran saya. Suara hati terdengar jelas dan sangat mudah untuk mengambil keputusan. Begitu banyak hal yang terlupakan dalam kehidupan di kota besar. Hal-hal yang hilang dan tidak disadari. Hal-hal kecil yang menimbulkan kecemasan. Hal-hal yang kita pikir penting, tetapi sesungguhnya tidak.

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Malam hari di Waerebo adalah pengalaman yang berbeda lagi. Kamera saya tidak cukup canggih untuk memotretnya, dan kata-kata saya pun sangat terbatas untuk menggambarkan keagungannya. Tetapi bulannya sungguh terang sampai matamu terasa silau bila memandanginya. Tidak ada lampu, cahaya bulan cukup terang untuk kita bisa melihat satu sama lain dengan jelas. Rumah-rumah adat menjadi siluet hitam dengan pegunungan abu-abu di latar belakang dan langit malam yang bertabur bintang-bintang.

DSC01457.JPGMatahari terbit mulai menyinari bagian atas pegunungan

Hari dimana saya akan pulang ke Denge, saya pergi ke rumah-rumah untuk berterimakasih dan pamit. Namun saat saya pergi ke rumah Fani, warga yang seharusnya pergi turun gunung bersama saya, saya diberitahu bahwa dia baru saja pergi oleh seorang kakek tua di depan rumahnya. Melihat saya sedikit kebingungan, kakek ini berbicara dengan anak laki-laki di dekatnya dalam bahasa Manggarai, lalu menyuruh saya untuk mengikuti anak itu. Saya pikir, mungkin mereka mau menunjuk saya jalan untuk mencegat Fani. Anak ini mulai memanjati bebukitan yang terjal dengan lincah, medan yang sulit untuk saya. Saya memintanya untuk menunggu, dan dia tersenyum geli melihat saya tersengal-sengal. Setelah sekitar sepuluh menitan, dia berhenti di pos terakhir pendakian dan memberi saya signal untuk melanjutkan perjalanan. Saya bertanya pada dia, “Kita bukan cari Fani?” anak itu terlihat bingung, ternyata dia tidak bisa berbahasa Indonesia. Lalu saya tanya sambil menunjuk jalan, “Fani?” dia menggeleng-gelengkan kepalanya. “Denge?” dan dia mengangguk. Ternyata dia menyuruh saya untuk melanjutkan perjalanan ke Denge sendirian! Wah, perkiraan dia melampaui kemampuan saya. Tapi jujur, saya agak malu untuk kembali lagi, lagipula segan merepotkan Marcel kalau dia harus mencarikan lagi orang yang bisa menemani saya. Tapi juga, saya tidak mau menganggap enteng perjalanan ini dengan tidak mematuhi peraturan wajib bersama pemandu. Tapi lagi, bukankah saya harus lebih percaya diri sedikit lagi? Ini hanya jalan satu jalur! Saya pikir mungkin saya coba saja dulu. Lagipula anak ini sudah mengantar saya kesini, dan kakek tua tadi sudah merestui saya berjalan sendiri dan mendoakan saya baik-baik di jalan. Baiklah, saya coba. Saya mengangguk dan mengucapkan terima kasih kepada anak laki-laki ini. Dia membalas dengan senyuman dan kami berdua berpandang-pandangan. Dia menunggu saya berjalan. Lalu saya pun berbalik badan dan berjalan. Saya menengok ke belakang, anak itu sudah pergi.

Berjalan di hutan, saya harus memastikan bahwa hutannya tahu saya menghormatinya. Saya pun mulai berbicara kepada pohon-pohon, “Hutan? Permisi, saya mau lewat. Saya tidak mau menyakitimu, biarkan saya lewat dengan selamat.”

DSC01530.JPGBerjalan sendirian di hutan, tanpa banyak pengalaman di gunung, dengan jalur yang berbatasan langsung dengan jurang, saya harus menyadari kekerdilan saya di hutan yang luas ini.

Baru beberapa menit berjalan, saya bertemu warga yang sedang berjalan balik ke Waerebo. Saya berharap akan berpapasan dengan warga lainnya untuk memastikan saya mengambil jalur yang benar. Saya berjalan dan berjalan. So far so good, pikir saya. Tapi setelah lebih dari satu jam berjalan, saya tiba di tempat yang membuat saya terbelalak. Jalurnya terbelah dua! Ya ampun, saya pikir sepanjang perjalanan hanya satu jalur! Saya pasti tidak memperhatikan jalan saat naik gunung bersama rombongan. Karena saya berada di tengah-tengah, saya hanya mengikuti orang yang di depan saya. Lagipula jalan licin dan berlumpur membuat kami perlu berhati-hati, saya pasti kebanyakan melihat ke bawah saat berjalan sampai tidak sadar ada jalan yang bercabang. Mungkin sebaiknya saya duduk saja di batu besar di dekat saya ini, mungkin akan ada yang lewat untuk memastikan jalurnya. Tapi setelah saya amati lagi kedua jalur ini, saya hampir yakin untuk mengambil salah satunya. Satu, karena dia jalan yang lebih besar, terlihat seperti jalan ‘utama’. Lagipula di jalur satu laginya terdapat pepohonan dan semak-semak di kedua sisinya. Namun bila diperhatikan, sebenarnya dua-duanya jurang. Saya yakin tidak melewati jalur seperti itu.

Lalu sayapun jalan mengambil jalur yang lebih lebar. Setelah sekitar sepuluh menit berjalan, jalannya bercabang lagi! dengan kondisi yang sama, salah satu jalur dibatasi oleh jurang dua-duanya, maka sayapun memilih jalur yang lebih besarnya lagi. Saya berjalan lagi… dan lima menit kemudian saya menemukan lagi, kali ini perempatan! Sekarang saya mulai panik, karena saya benar-benar tidak ingat ada perempatan. Saya bisa merasakan air mulai menggenang di mata saya. Sepertinya saya mengambil keputusan yang salah. Saya sudah menganggap enteng dengan merasa bisa keluar dari hutan sendirian. Saya memutuskan untuk kembali saja ke tempat dimana pertama kali jalannya bercabang dan menunggu di batu besar sampai ada yang lewat. Tiba-tiba saya teringat tentang cerita ular-ular yang ada di hutan. Maka setiap saya melihat akar hitam meliuk-meliuk di tanah pun saya mencoba mengambil langkah sejauh mungkin, mana tahu itu adalah ular yang sedang berkamuflase. Hiii…… Tiba-tiba saya teringat cerita ayah Heldis mengenai turis asing yang tidak menghormati tata tertib Waerebo. Datang tanpa membayar, tidak melakukan upacara penyambutan, dan pergi tanpa permisi. Tanpa pemandu. Saat ayah Heldis hendak turun gunung karena ia tidak enak badan dan mau pergi ke posyandu, ia menemukan turis asing ini sudah bergelantungan di jurang, berpegangan pada tongkat ibunya yang sudah tua yang menahannya! Ayah Heldis pun cepat-cepat turun dan menyokong pria kulit putih tinggi dan besar ini untuk mengangkatnya ke atas. Lehernya sudah terjerat tanaman dan berdarah. Waduh.. kenapa aku tidak ingat semua ini saat memutuskan untuk turun sendirian?

Saya tiba lagi di batu besar tempat jalur pertama bercabang, berdoa agar seseorang, siapapun, lewat. Mungkin saya bisa menunggu setengah jam-an, pikir saya. Katanya warga akan turun ke desa Denge untuk merayakan Jumat Agung di gereja, jadi pasti akan ada yang lewat bukan? Tapi… bagaimana jika mereka lewat jalan pintas? Lagi-lagi saya dipenuhi dilema. Seekor pacet menempel di kaki, dan saya mencabutnya. Saya mencoba tenang, dan saat pikiran saya lebih jernih, saya memutuskan untuk melanjutkan perjalanan. Ikutin jalur ‘utama’ atau jalur yang saya pikir benar. Kalau tidak sampai dalam satu jam, berarti saya sudah salah jalan dan saya bisa backtrack ke Waerebo, karena ini masih siang. Lalu saya melanjutkan perjalanan dengan rute yang saya ambil tadi. Setelah sekitar setengah jam-an saya berjalan, saya mulai mendengar dentuman musik dari jauh. Saya mempercepat langkah, sampai saya akhirnya melihat di bawah kejauhan, ada dua mobil parkir di pos pendakian pertama! Tebak siapa… si turis-turis menjengkelkan itu! Melihat saya, salah seorang dari mereka tersenyum kaku, naik mobil, dan meluncur pergi. Gee… thanks for the ride. Saya berjalan di atas bebatuan melewati sungai dan akhirnya sampai ke jalan. Disana rupanya ayah Heldis sedang berdiri. Dia terkejut melihat saya berjalan sendiri. Melihat wajah dan senyumannya hati saya langsung lega dan ingin menangis.. tapi saya tahan dan tersenyum seceria mungkin untuk menutupi ketakutan saya. Saya menjelaskan padanya bahwa mungkin ada kesalahpahaman makanya saya ketinggalan. Dia menyuruh saya melanjutkan perjalanan ke rumah Pak Blasius di jalur yang baru diaspal ini (sekitar 3km) jalan menanjak dan menurun. Sebelum pergi saya bertanya padanya, kemana arah jalan-jalan bercabang itu. Dia bilang, “oh tidak, itu palingan jalur-jalur menuju kebun. Tapi ada juga satu yang bisa ke Labuan Bajo.” xD untung saya tidak sampai Labuan Bajo. Saya berterima kasih kepadanya dan melanjutkan perjalanan. Rasa takut perlahan-lahan luntur, dan sayapun mulai menangis. Saya duduk di batu yang besar untuk menenangkan diri, tiga ekor kupu-kupu kecil warna warni terbang melewati saya. Saya menyeka air mata dan melanjutkan perjalanan ke rumah Pak Blasius.

Waktu orang-orang di Denge bertanya mengapa saya sendirian, tentu saya pura-pura santai, mengatakan mungkin ada salah paham tapi tidak masalah, karena rutenya cukup mudah untuk diikuti… ikuti saja jalan utama. Tidak ada yang perlu tahu bahwa saya menangis seperti anak kecil, bukan? :D

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Beberapa hari berikutnya saya memutuskan untuk tinggal di Denge. Bagi kebanyakan orang mungkin Denge hanyalah tempat singgah sebelum ke Waerebo. Tapi bagi saya tempat ini memiliki pesonanya sendiri. Setiap hari rombongan turis-turis datang dan pergi, beberapa dengan rute yang sama seperti saya (ke Bajawa), tapi saya ingin lebih lama di Denge, bersama Pak Blasius dan keluarganya. Banyak sekali yang ingin saya tanyakan dari Pak Blasius, orang di belakang layar pariwisata Waerebo. Beliau salah satu orang yang pertama mencoba memperkenalkan Waerebo kepada dunia luar. Beliau bercerita panjang lebar mengenai visinya meningkatkan hidup warga desa melalui pariwisata. Dengan rumah yang terbuka 7×24 jam untuk turis, tiada hari libur untuknya karena hari liburlah dimana pengunjung paling ramai. Tempatnya juga berperan sebagai pusat informasi turis. Selain itu, beliau harus mengurusi kebun-kebun di dekat rumahnya, dan melayani di gereja.

DSC01564.JPGPusat Informasi dan Perpustakaan Denge di dekat rumah Pak Blasius. Didesain oleh arsitek Yori Antar.

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Di dinding, terdokumentasikan secara lengkap proses pembangunan kompleks rumah adat Waerebo. Dari proses awal (Pak Blasius presentasi kepada prospektif donatur), pertemuan dengan arsitek dan warga, proses konstruksi, dan penyelesaian (dan perayaannya). Foto-foto mengagumkan yang benar-benar menunjukkan labor of love…

Saya bergabung dengan keluarga Pak Blasius untuk Paskah dan ikut menonton turnamen sepakbola Paskah. Saya mulai makan bersama keluarga Pak Blasius, sampai turis-turis lain mengucapkan ‘terima kasih’ pada saya saat berpamitan, mengira saya tinggal disana xD Denge mulai terasa seperti rumah…

DSC01590.JPGDengan orang-orang yang saya hormati: Pak Blasius, Bu Deta (istri Pak Blasius yang ternyata guru kelas Heldis!), dan Pak Primus (abang dari Marcel, juga guru, di Pulau Mules, seberang desa Dintor). Sayang Marcel tidak ada di foto ini.

DSC01318.JPGSaya harus ke Pulau Mules di kedatangan berikutnya!

Meninggalkan Denge terasa berat, tetapi saya harus melanjutkan perjalanan untuk mengejar pesawat saya ke Jakarta dari Maumere, dua hari lagi. Oto berangkat pagi-pagi sekali, jam setengah dua… Maka sayapun harus bangun di tengah malam.

DSC01601.JPGDi tepi jalan, antara Denge dan Ruteng. Seorang penumpang di truk mentertawai saya yang memotret sungai yang mungkin biasa saja untuk mereka, “di Jakarta tidak ada ya mba seperti itu?” Ternyata saya yang ‘udik’ di sini..

Di Ruteng, saya singgah di supermarket untuk membeli air dan roti untuk perbekalan perjalanan ke Bajawa. Barisan demi barisan produk-produk yang sama dengan merk berbeda-beda. Biskuit, mi instan, sabun cuci piring.. Setelah tinggal selama seminggu di desa tanpa ‘nyampah’, saya jadi tidak selera membeli snack.

Sebenarnya apa yang kita korbankan untuk semua pilihan-pilihan yang tidak esensial ini? Apakah kenyamanan dan konsumerisme ilusi kebahagiaan?

IMG_5392 2.JPGIni membuat saya merasa hampa… ugh..

Sedih rasanya akan kembali ke kehidupan dimana superficiality mengaburkan hal-hal yang penting. Mall, toko-toko pakaian, kemacetan, dinding-dinding yang berdiri tinggi, supermarket… things. So many things. Saya tahu bahwa Denge dan Waerebo adalah tempat dimana saya akan selalu kembali. Supaya saya selalu ingat.

 

The Artists

May 24, 2015 § 2 Comments

After a semester-long learning about art (What is art? What constitutes as art? Why art?), studying famous artists and their styles -not as means to reproduce the artist’s work, but to recognize and experiment with techniques-, using correct terminologies as a way to expand art lexicon, and of course, expressing ideas through making own art, it finally culminated in the children’s art exhibition that was held yesterday.

I was absolutely thrilled about the event, not only because we got to showcase the children’s endeavor in art throughout the year, but was pleasantly surprised to see parents’ enthusiasm in participating in the event.

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Children helping to set up the classroom to be the exhibition venue the day prior to the event. My girl was seen trying hard to pull the heavy shelf while the boys were “helping” to move the chairs aside.. by playing “bus”.

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Shelves were turned around against the wall. Artworks displayed. Classroom turned to gallery!

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Still life painting of fruits. Media: acrylic on canvas.

The objective, of course, is not to paint fruits with perfect resemblance, but to observe and discover shades of colors, contours, light and shadow that falls. Art is not about the end product, but a process.

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Painting 1] by a 5 year old, 2] by a 6 year old, 3] by a 4 year old. Click to see the beautiful detail of their work :)

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Self portrait of a 4 year old. Media: pencil and watercolor on paper. The process in making the artwork was done while observing self with a hand mirror. Children were invited to analyze their facial features shape, move their eyes/lips/chin to see how the lines could change, change facial expressions, etc..

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Self portrait of a 6 (top) and a 4 year old (bottom). Media: pencil and watercolor on paper.

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Matisse inspired cut-out art.

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Families coming to view and we also provided parents’ art station (sketching, watercolor painting, and clay moulding). So the event would not turn out only to be a social gathering of parents chit chatting, but also to “experience” the art.

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[Pic 1] Child explaining work to the parents [Pic 2] At the parents’ busy art station. We initially expected hesitation from parents if invited to make own art, but they actually spent almost an hour trying to perfect their drawings! Some made more than one.

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Drawing by a 4 year old who is obsessed with skeletons and mummies. Media: white crayon on black paper.

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Mondrian inspired art by a 5 year old. Media: Square shaped metal inset, marker and crayon on paper.

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Mix media art by a 5 year old.

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We refrain from asking the children “what is it?” about their sculpting or drawing. Art does not always have to be a representation of an object, they could just be experimenting with forms or expressing a feeling/emotion. When we ask them “What shape is this or what drawing is this?” they would start to think of the most similar object, and it could also do damage when they think art has to look like something. I have met a discouraged three year old boy, due to a friend called his work a”coret2” or mere scribbling. So ask description rather than interpretation. Ask them to describe the process, so it becomes more deliberate.

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Wire art

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Display of parents’ work. After spending hours trying to perfect his clay masterpiece, let’s not forget to take picture.

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[Pic 1] by a Dad, who wished he had five hours to make his car more elaborate – [Pic 2] by an Uncle – [Pic 3] “Satay” by a 2 year old sister

The Flood

January 26, 2013 § 5 Comments

When I landed in Jakarta after working and living conveniently in Melbourne for the whole one year, I thought I was going to be slightly gloomy for the first few days. Little did I know, how much I missed Jakarta and all the craziness.

I could see the flood from the airplane when it was descending. I could see the top half of the houses and roofs, and it was surreal, it was literally a drowning city seen from the sky. Dad and sister had to cancel picking me up from the airport because of the traffic congestion caused by the flood. Taking a taxi, however, reminded me of how much I loved the conversations I have with Jakartans. Knowing that I just came back from working in Australia, the taxi driver told me how he used to work in ‘travel agents’, forging documents for people migrating to US illegally. He told me, “Nah, they don’t bother to check if the bank statement was real because they receive so many applications. A lot of people overstayed their visit and rarely get caught, you know. What’s the worst could happen? Get deported maybe, and not being able to come back to that country forever…

“well, unless…

“we change name and identity” he said as he giggled

Haha. See, that’s what I love about Indonesian spirit. There’s never a dead end. I know forging documents and coming illegally is not something to be proud of. But what’s good is Indonesians don’t accept the status quo. We are rule benders with sense of humour ; )

Then he told me about his experience as taxi driver in the flood. An out of town passenger thought that he was tricking him when he said they should take another route because of the flood. The passenger insisted that they take the ‘usual’ road. That road has three elevations and demotes. So what happens is cars wait at the peak and watched other cars go. And if similar cars could get through, then they would go too. When it is stuck, they probably would laugh at the driver’s guts but help to push the car. And you can imagine how it caused massive traffic jam. After smoke coming out from the car machine, the taxi driver pulled over and with the passenger (who finally believed that it really flooded!), standing there and watching cars go for 1 hour.

There’s always a story in every inch of this city, isn’t it?

So what else happens during flood? Yes, it is a devastating situation. But like my grandmother said, when you have rheumatic in your arms, what do you do, you’re not going to cut your arm, are you? You’re going to do something about that arm, and learn to live your life happily with the rheumatic in your arm.

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economy rolls during flood (this is a ‘taxi’ cart)

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locals help to push car during flood

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people help each other during flood

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sweet moments happen during flood

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and the not so sweet ones..

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children help each other during flood

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people help animals during flood

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people share during flood

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men fish during flood

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president’s palace was strike too during flood.

What, it’s good news, isn’t it?

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children put up sign: “VISIT SWIMMING POOL – FREE – AS LONG AS YOU LIKE”

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children help each other going to school with invented transportation system during flood! (The carriers are either helpful locals, or the students as well, keeping the dry cloths inside their bags)

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children play…

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and invent games during flood

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these expat guys intentionally skipped work to play in the flood! you don’t have flood in your country eh?

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mermaid appears during flood!

Seriously, how can you not love this city?

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Image source: various (google: keyword: banjir jakarta 2013)

Playgrounds

August 9, 2012 § 2 Comments

Living in Melbourne in the past six months, and working with Australian children since the last four months, I could not help but compare a lot of things with the lives of Indonesian children. When I say ‘Australian’ children, or ‘Indonesian’ children, I am, of course, making generalization that may not ring true for every one of them. In my post, Australian children refer to the ones that I work with (I would say middle class economy). Indonesian refers to the children in the preschool that I worked with (middle-upper class economy, and the slum children (lower class economy), or poor children. This observation is only based on my personal experience.

What fascinates me is the varying degree of how ‘free’ are children ‘allowed’ to play in this different groups (excuse the oxymoron), and how it contributes to personalities and character development. Children of middle-upper class economy in Indonesia, I perceive, to be more inhibited in their play and exploration, compared to the other two groups; middle class Australians and lower class Indonesians.

From my own experience as a child (a middle class economy, female, to be precise), I get some “don’t”s. Don’t go too far. Don’t go to the mall without adult, you’ll be kidnapped. Many of my friends get more “don’t”s; Don’t buy ice cream kampung. Don’t buy that meatball, that’s made from rat’s meat! Don’t buy any snacks from the street. Don’t take public transport. And not just buses, but don’t take taxi as well! Don’t ride motorcycle. Don’t look some people in the eye, don’t stare! Don’t touch it, it’s filthy! It’s drizzling, come on inside!! Don’t be too friendly to some people, etc. And how much do we realize that they all have internalized to our habit or belief system? The likely explanation of highly untrusting atmosphere might spring from the great economy disparities in the society. The rich, that separates themselves from the poor, sometimes live in the very same area with the poor. They have to make sure they stay clean and ‘dignified’, always (un)consciously confirming, ‘we are the civilized ones’. In big cities like Jakarta, the sight of poor people are unavoidable wherever you go. Is it justifiable, however, to instill this suspicion in children, in order to protect?

If you live in a housing complex, you might have a playground, however deficient and unsatisfactory. If you don’t, however, whether you are from middle or upper class economy, you might find yourself staying at home, playing with your toys or your siblings. Naturally, these types of play, pretend play, role play, construction, are also of great value for development. But as I worked with the other two groups of children, I wonder if they are missing out some kind of “adventures” like what the other two groups experience, finding secret pathways, catching insect, playing in the rain, which I’m going to talk more about later.

It is also in the big cities like Jakarta, where playgrounds are very scarce, children of the middle and the upper class economy physical exploration are restricted, unless they go to the playground in the malls, by paying ridiculous ticket fee, with extravagant rides that are not always imaginative; that serve to entertain, not to stimulate. When I ask my students to share about their weekends, many would answer going to the mall. I find it regrettable, but where else could they bring their children to a playground? Some upper class families now live in apartment buildings in Jakarta, and they do have playgrounds, but they are only tiny fractions of society. Existing playgrounds in housing complex are in great deficit (if not almost totally LOST), small, with inadequate provisions, with poor maintenance, often abandoned. Put a swing, seesaw, and slide, in a small space, bam, you have a playground. Even though I’d like that statement to serve as sarcasm, but if we have at least that three things, it is still much better than having none.The condition of the playground in Indonesia is a portrayal of how play is overlooked as an important part of development, but seen merely as leisure that serves nothing for thinking or learning dispositions. In schools, recess in the playground often only happens for approximately 15-30 minutes, out of 4-5 hours formal and traditional learning in the classroom, where children are forced to be quiet and listen passively to the teacher.

In the preschool that I worked in in Indonesia, (now that I realized it after I compared with the one in Australia), the playground does not seem to be challenging enough for the children. With such small outdoor area that had to be compromised in an expensive land in the heart of the city, the playground is overcrowded. They had playtime after school (at 12), and some (not all) parents and nannies would watch carefully and say, “Be careful! Hold on to the bar.” out of need for protection from fall, sometimes due to overcrowding. Some are assisted and held constantly. The children that fell are often treated with such care and sympathy, they would be helped to get up, cuddled, and some carers would even take it further by ‘hitting’ the object that cause the fall (for example, a swing), to cheer up the child, saying that the swing is ‘naughty’. To be fair, not all carers would behave this way, however the former consist of considerable amount, to the point that I gather it to be somewhat cultural. All my students are kept clean and smell good all day even in the hot and humid weather.

Naturally, bigger boys still play and run around wildly, but again, are they missing out some things that the other two groups experience? Or do children compensate with existing conditions and find their own ways to make things more exciting?

(Western) theories in the past century have been elucidating how important play is, how it contributes to ‘thinking’, your imagination, problem solving, creativity and flexibility and so on, therefore in developed Western countries, experiences for young children have been (attempted to be) provided in a way to accommodate those developments.

In Australia early childhood framework, instead of ‘teaching’ (traditional teaching), the educators are there to ‘provide experience’, and so the learning comes from the children themselves, not being a passive subject of ‘teaching’. Educators facilitate, challenge, and the children are always the active participants of their own learning. Just how Indonesians are more inhibited in their play correlates to the crippling education system, where they are also expected to sit quietly and passively listen to the teacher, in Australia, their learning, as well as their play, are also more unrestrained. They are supported, in their play and their education, to be (at least more) active.

There are plenty of examples that I encounter everyday in my workplace that shows how many of the parents here that I deal with are more understanding and lenient of dirtiness, wildness, and whole lot of craziness that are often regarded as an important element of being a child. Once two children under my care were fighting over a toy. A tiny little toddler girl (who is a vicious little biter), bit a boy on the face, which left a very bad bite mark on his cheek. Based on my experience with Indonesian preschool, where parents often seem upset when an incident happen to their child, I became nervous when this bite-victim parent came to pick him up, only to find him laughing and saying, “Yeah, it’s bound to happen sooner or later”. Then he teased his little boy, “So somebody gave you a big kiss huh”. And it didn’t only happen to one parent in case you’re wondering if it’s coincidental. We got the similar reactions from parents when children fell and got swollen on their forehead, grazed on their chin, who bled on their hand, bit on the thigh. In my centre, when children fall, they are not treated with as much concern, but rather with a kind but assertive remark that he/she is fine and needs to get up and try again. They are rarely helped and assisted to stand up again, unless, of course, it is a bad accident, one with injury, or very vulnerable child. This manner also stems from Australian culture of ‘independence’ and ‘self reliant’, which are deliberately instilled in children, in contrast to Indonesian culture that values ‘helping each other’ more.

The children are excited to hold a big insect in their hands to investigate it, run around bare feet, and when it’s ice-chilly, drizzling (yes, the children are allowed to play when it’s drizzling! in contrast to Indonesians who are always told to go in when it drizzles), and I feel the wind is about to blow me away, the children still play excitedly outside. In the city, on the hilly greenery area in front of a library, I see children rolling themselves down the little hills and parents just let them be without anxiously supervising, neither for the child’s safety from fall, or for the protection of strangers. There seem to be more sense of security and ‘trust’ in public space.

In our yard, we become fascinated by lights and shadows, sound of machine that cut the grass, rain, we found a little hole in our fence which become our peephole to a garden with beautiful flowers. We have picnic in our yard frequently with birds chirping on our roof. I personally feel indulged with pleasant sensory experience. There are many resources (natural and manufactured goods) for children to play with in the yard; plastic toys, big sandpit, twigs, leaves, steel, chalk, and we incessantly record their exploration. We even plan for dirt play. “Getting dirty is good for immune system” they say. We constantly observe, analyze, supply and change supply, we plan their exploration. Discoveries, despite come from within, are also planned, everything is based on careful measure and documentation. And their play is also always supervised.

Australians put much more effort for outdoor play as much as indoor play. Slides or climb equipment are not simply put but additional materials are there to improvise the play. Wooden board used for balancing beam, for sliding, combined with tyres, climbing frames, blocks, or net. The wooden board for slide is sometimes put higher, without the ‘safety’ curve on the side.

I then took sometime to learn about playgrounds in Melbourne (by visit and research on the internet), which I find much more challenging one every level. They are also designed based on calculated risk and in accordance to the safety policy.

I am very intrigued, however, by how slum or poor children play. In the world that don’t bother providing them with playgrounds, the world is their playground. They appropriate existing objects, furnitures, roads, and stairs, for their play. Raw, spontaneous, without safety measure, but also without anticipated exploration. They are allowed to ‘get dirty’, to ‘take risk’ without intellectualization. In a very narrow alley in the slum where it is barely enough for one adult to walk, boys gather to play marble. They may not have climbing frames or balancing beam but they do climb walls and trees and walk on the very high pole to cross the river. They may not have a football field but they play in the parking lots of a bank after work-hours, or play on the road where cars rarely pass by. They may never play gokarts but they get up on the top of the trains. Children get on a huge leave in rain, to be pulled around and swung around by their friend and thrown to the mud. They may not be able to buy remote controlled cars or buy video games but they make their own games using tyres, bottles, stick and stones. And they are built with the toughness that is instilled in white kids. I once saw a toddler examining a motorbike parked in front of his house. He scrutinized it and at one point he tried to get ON it. He obviously fell down and cried. The mother yelled from inside, “Makanya jangan manjat2. Nangis kan sekarang!” (“Told you not to climb. Now you’re crying”) The boy still got up and tried it again, with no one watching.

My point is, if play is indeed crucial to cognitive development, to trigger you to explore, investigate, invent, discover, if it develops your flexible thinking and problem solving skill, if it helps you to socialize, to negotiate, to humour, to spark curiosity and sense of fascination, if all the playgrounds in the developed countries are designed for the children to have leisure, for them to take risk, to practice, fail, and try again, to develop courage, resilience, to develop creativity..

then the poor children, have met many of the aims that all the ‘play’ designers make for their counterparts

then they are, supposed to be, more creative, than their counterparts

Unfortunately, the Indonesian education system does not value these qualities, the qualities glorified by the western theories, that they gain through chaos. It only cares if the children can memorize facts. It cares for the children to shut up, listen, and magically understand. It conflicts the ‘child’ within them. The poors’ academic performance are reflective of the economic condition, and without outstanding academic performance they would probably end up in menial jobs where they don’t have a say in most of the things. I wonder what happens to the ‘creative child’ in them.. does it fade? is it asleep? is it buried? will it die?

I’m not trying to make poor people look numb or desperate (in fact, play-wise, the middle/upper class play are more numbing in my opinion). I know for a fact that they are very resilient and creative in coping up with adversities in life; such as finding ideas to deal with flood, to deal with disability (in a busy road I saw a man in a ‘wheelchair’ made out of strip board on wheels. And he did not only sit there on the board but he put old cushion-y car seat on top, for comfort). I find that very creative. I’m just dumbfounded to see how much potential and intelligence wasted in a vast ocean, drifting ceaselessly

half dead

Wouldn’t you be unhappy in life if you are made to become less than you’re capable of?

 
Image source: various (google: keyword: children playing, village children playing, etc).

The Last Day

January 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

This is my last day teaching in the slum. I woke up at 4am in Bandung and leave for Jakarta at 5.30 am. I reached the slum at 8am. It is a sunny day, the lights are coming down through narrow spots from in between the house roofs. In the front area, some doors are still closed, few are outside, sitting, cooking, sweeping, or just getting out from the public shower. The wet market however, is already crowded. While walking and halted every few seconds, I realized that within 50cm radius, there are many activities happening. On my left, the vegetable seller is negotiating with potential buyer in front of me, so I had to wait, because, on my right, there’s an old man with his bycicle, who is stopped because of the narrow space where there’s a musician with a guitar, who is singing for three ladies, who are drinking jamu*, from the seller at the right side. Underwears are sold next to vegetables and dirts are swept next to a frying pan. Is it weird that I find this place so fascinating?

I can feel my sweat flowing from my forehead down my cheek.

I walk to the back to the centre. The door is still locked. The old lady who lives at the side was sweeping the floor, I asked if I could sit on their bench while waiting. She welcomes me.

“Kak Arian!”, Nala greets me cheerfully, with Zahra they both sit with me on the bench. Their legs are hanging and swaying. Zahra looks pretty and fresh, apparently she showered this morning, unlike the usual, where she always shows up with tangled hair and swollen sleepy eyes. Nala bragged about the perfect score she got for her group work at school. I asked her why hasn’t Sali been coming. She told me because his mom is “gone”. What do you mean gone? I asked her. “Gone, never return”, she answers me. This information is later confirmed by the tutor. Ironically these things commonly happen here for various reason. Somebody said that this slum is a “children depot”, I can understand why it’s called that, since wherever you go, you will see children in every corner. People have sexual intercourse without contraception, sometimes for the sole pleasure. Sometimes that’s how people are called “husband and wife”, because they already make a family, without marriage or a legal paper. Sometimes one of the spouse just simply go away. Sometimes it’s the teenagers that start the family. For Sali’s case, it was money that cause the problem and the separation. “Gone, never return”. I was appalled by how familiar that concept is to these children. “And why hasn’t he been coming? Is he supposed to help his father work or taking care of younger sister or something?” I asked Nala again. “I think he misses his mom”, she told me. Sali comes today, he’s acting playful but rude towards his friends. He made Nala cried. Kak Eja thinks that he’s been acting out since mom left. I shudder thinking how hard it is for a child like him to be able to understand and express his feelings.

Anyway..

The kids are happy with the materials I made. “Cakep ye kak?”, they commented. They immediately play with it, but… uh-oh….!! When you attach the tags to the pictures, and when you try to detach it again, the velcro is off!! So I am not only giving them materials, but also I’m giving kak Eja an obligation to fix all the tags to re-glue it with better glue. I used ‘Fox’ glue instead of UHU because it was cheaper. Kak Eja told the kids that they may look at them and find the answers but don’t use the tags for now.

And so they did…

Nala likes the transportation board while Sali likes the occupation board, he takes it again and again and again.

Although…

 

For this picture, which supposedly to be “journalist”, Kak Eja thinks the children in La’i will say this is a busker x) As this is how some buskers in Indonesia are, they carry their own speaker and microphone, they usually sing dangdut.

 

Our final lesson

 

Niar and Amel, discussing the rainforest. They say, the monkey is Ipeh’s brother. And Ipeh’s perfectily happy with it.

 

Sali wanted to click with my camera. Curious Azis crouched down to see what’s going on. This is Sali’s shot :)

Arif asks me, “When will you come back?”

“A year from now”

He nods.

Kak Eja asks, “Do you understand? So how long is one year?”

He shrugs, “Until we become old”, he said. Kak Eja laughs and said, “One year is 12 months. This is January 2012, Kak Arian will be back in January 2013”. But Arif still looks confused.

I told him, “Okay, how bout this. You’re in second grade. I’ll be back when you’re in third”.

“So you mean once I got my report card and then you’ll be there right after?”

We laugh again and told him, “Well, not exactly. In January. During..hmm..second semester of third grade” I told him, as our Indonesian education system starts in July.

“Check the calendar”, kak Eja told him. Arif and Kiki walk towards our 2012 calendar and they point and “discussed” it. Kak Eja found another comparison and asks him, “Okay how about this, when will you be circumcised?”

He told kak Eja, “When I’m in 5th grade”.

“Well Kak Arian will surely be back by then. Nevermind” Kak Eja said.

Then, as if Kiki has found a brilliant idea, he told Arid, “Oh, I know! Why don’t you get circumcised tomorrow so Kak Arian will be back tomorrow?”

I feel so humbled that the kids have accepted me, even Kiki, who was quite resistant and cold at first. How much I learn from this place. To say that you’re coming “to help” is not only misguided but also arrogant. Come to learn and share with the community. Because don’t we all have something to share?

bye bye place..

The Overdue

January 20, 2012 § 1 Comment

Okay, since I resigned my job last week, I finally have the time to make the materials that I’ve been meaning to do since months. These are for the kids to ‘play’ while waiting for their friends to arrive, things that they can work on and on repeatedly now that I’ll be gone for a year. Basically the work is to match the tags (attached with Velcro) to the pictures. Nothing spectacular but hopefully they’ll like to work with it, since it’s very easy to forget a bunch of new taught vocabulary. I dragged my two little sisters (and my sisters’ boyfriend) to help with some cutting and gluing. And since I’m very obsessed with perfect cutting (machine quality!) I nagged them at first. But the third day at midnight I got so tired, I messed few cuttings myself.

So here they are.. We did…

..drawing and cutting..

 

…and printing and lots and lots of cutting…
 
…lots of laminating (and cutting again)…
 
…and lots and lots of gluing.
And here they are
 
 
 
 
 
Got to play with the paint!
 
 
Now they are ready to be played. I’ll carry them as the ‘replacement’ of myself tomorrow for my last day at the slum.
:)

Rainforest

December 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Just some old rainforest preschool thematic materials that I made for college assignment.

What animal lives in which strata?
Help the squirrel to get the fruits with some counting!
What is there inside a rainforest?
Let’s find the correct answers!
Learn division from the fair mama monkey..
Wait.. Can you guess what tree is that?
Enough with maths! Let’s make some mess with art&crafts!
See, I love making things, but I don’t always have the time (and diligence) to do it. So when this became assignment, that I was ‘required’ to do this, I told myself, yippie!
Materials made with Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, felt, some weird texture paper, glue, scissors, tissue rolls, cardboard.
There’s more but I can’t find ’em. Let me re-print them and I’ll post some more later.. Ciao~~
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