February in Sumatra

As usual, time here has been disappearing before my eyes – it’s now less than 2 weeks until I meet my parents in Singapore!!

The past few weeks here have been busy as always, but without many adventures to report as I have mainly been focused on keeping everything running smoothly here at the school! However, now that we have 4 volunteers here with us, there’s a little more time and company for adventure, so I hope to keep you all updated!

Weekends have been filled with coconuts, river side BBQ’s and a couple of weddings (including up to 7 wedding dresses!!). In these regards I feel that photos speak best, so here you are….

I’ve been spending a lot more time with local friends recently, which has been excellent for my Bahasa! I feel like I can finally understand a lot of what is going on now – however this was really put to the test last night when some of our students missed their bus home as our lessons over ran. Unfortunately this was the last bus of the day and it turned out that these students lived an hours drive away through a palm oil plantation. Eventually we caved and offered to drive them home (or well rather one of them offered to drive me home as she is the more experienced driver of the two of us!). As we drove on it was clear that a storm was coming in the distance, so we sped up in an attempt to out run it. After a few minutes of fast driving I looked back to discover that the other staff member and other student were no longer following us…. as the rain started we managed to pull into a bus station and call the other staff member – to discover that his tire had exploded and the student he was with had got on another person’s bike with no explanation and disappeared. Time to practice some Indonesian! Once the rain lessened, the student I was with and myself made it to her house, from where we headed to the other girls house – she had not yet turned up. So then we rounded up another of our students (who has a motorbike) and all headed back in search of the missing student and the broken bike – luckily en route back she passed us safe and sound getting a lift with another relative! By this point however it was pitch black and still storming, my poor students wouldn’t let me drive back on my own and insisted on escorting me back to the nearest village!! We were all soaked by the end of the night but eventually everyone made it home safely!

In the past few weeks I’ve also sadly attended a couple of funerals – death is a very real part of every day life here. Funerals here are very big events – the whole village tends to turn out. One of our staff very kindly took pity on me and bought me a fabulous pink hijab so I can now fit in at such ceremonies!

In lessons this past week we have been taking some of our students to the river – however not all as we are concerned about some of their swimming abilites. The previous week, there was an incident in Jakarta where over 200 school children were washed away in a flash-flood. Following this, some of our staff have been recollecting to me their own memories of the flood here in Bukit Lawang in 2003. I find it incredible that these women are brave enough to swim in that same river today.

Today we plan on heading to the edge of the Jungle – hopefully this will be a little more successful than my trip last weekend in flip flops, which resulted in me spending some time with the local medicine man….

Finally, my most recent update is that I have somehow been roped into leading a weekly Yoga class in the next village over…. I better get practising!!

Published by Rosieisaplum

A University of Leeds Graduate teaching English and managing an education charity in Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra, Indonesia. Join me as I explore (avoiding) adult life and have my first solo adventure.

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