As soon as we got to the temporary settlement, I got nervous and overwhelmed. There were at least 50 kids, screamed for candies, asked for attention.
Seeking for comfort zone, I found it at the house of Pak Lurah. He and his family provide a comfortable room for us to sleep, a living room with very nice couches, and amazingly delicious foods. Like seriously, very delicious. The cook is so great, plus the fact that I’ve been craving for Indonesian foods after two weeks in United States. I need to put extra effort to get myself excited every single day (by putting make up on my face, playing with eye shadow and lipstick colors). Pak Lurah and Bu Lurah are somehow inspiring. Pak Lurah is a good speaker. I’ve been witnessing him speaking in couple occasions, when he met us the first time, when he had his meeting with the neighborhood, and gave his welcoming remarks in the mass prayers. His speech is structured, always has a little humor, he understands what is going on in the field- unlike some officers who ‘supervises’ the people up from his room and living his own image about what is his society look like, and he has this well ability to suit his speech to his audiences. I remembered he used good bahasa when he spoke to us, with some sophisticated terms. And then he spoke very well Javanese when he faced his community. The role of Bu Lurah and women association in this village is also quite surprising. One day there was this meeting in Pak Lurah’s house, attended by the male figures and the members of women association. Later on Bu Lurah was telling me that they met to talk about the plan of neighborhood gathering in Iedul Fitri. The issue was on the budget, and the people’s interests on joining this activity. Bu Lurah criticizes the apathy of one of the hamlet leaders who doesn’t think that the gathering is important, she said, “If the leader doesn’t have the initiative, then the people will lose the bond, or anything else they need.” As I remember, I think that was the first time I saw a neighborhood meeting where the male and female residences were sitting in the same place, and the female members were very vocal in telling their opinions. Bu Lurah is also a typical of a woman you can rely to, she dresses up pretty, smells good, drives the car (although her daughter Qila just told us that she ran through a baby turkey yesterday) and outspoken.
So, staying at home, in the girls’ bed room, with my blanket, is my favorite part of the day. But I guess it is like another AFS experience, when they were telling us that we have to get out of our comfort zone. Because the more we lock ourselves, the more we will feel the gap between us and this new society. We have to hang out and explore, they garranty, we are going to find unexpected interesting stories. And I guess I did. Some kids in the temporary settlement are obviously challenging, but some others are just lovely. We usually play out every afternoon, and we play the good traditional games such as ular naga, gobag sodor and petak umpet.
Petak umpet is hide and seek.
In ular naga, there are two people who raise their hands together, like making tunnel. And then the rest of the children are going through the tunnel while queuing like a train. They sing, “Ular naga panjangnya, bukan kepalang. Berjalan-jalan selalu kian kemari. Umpan yang lezat itulah yang dicari. Ini dianya yang terbelakang. (A very long dragon wandering around, a delicious meal is what he looks for, and the good meal is the latest one),” the kid who is in the middle of the ‘tunnel’ when the song stops got caught. And then the two tunnel makers will ask them to choose between two codes, the codes can be the name of fruits, or animals, or jewelries. Each code represents the two tunnels. After all the kids chose the code, they will be standing in the line, behind the tunnel makers who now changed their roles as “mama dragons”. Then these two mama dragons will try to run into each other to ‘steal’ the ‘baby dragons’ who stand in the line behind them. The dragons have to protect their babies.
Meanwhile gobag sodor players consist of two team, one team will stand in line to make a fortress, and the other team plays role to get through the fortress without getting caught.
Playing the game with children turned out to be fun, we had lots of laughs, and it was refreshing as we remember our own childhood. I guess, to some extent, KKN is like another AFS experience, you have to get out of your comfort zone and explore. Although I guess you just cannot be out of your comfort zone all the time. There are times where I just wanted to drown myself in my book, under my blanket. In fact I just had a night off last week, my boyfriend picked me up from Pak Lurah’s house and then we spent the night together near Borobudur. Of course I was happy, but then I got very sad when he finally had to bring me back to the house in the next morning, and left. I’m missing him again right now.
I will write further about the ups and downs here. Although I will not be on time posting it on blog since the internet connection is not available everyday.