Sunday, August 19, 2007
To see more photos of Malang click here
After leaving Kalimantan we flew back to Malang in West Java, where the Richardsons live.
On the 2hr drive to Malang from the Surabaya airport, we passed where the mud volcano has been spewing mud for the past year. Villages have been covered. When you hit that area all the people from the village swarm the cars trying to sell things, including guides through the mud - shortcuts so that you don't have to sit in the traffic that's caused because of the situation.
Paul Richardson had been the principal of an international school (mostly children of expatriates) here. When the international school had to move to a larger location he felt God's call to stay behind and create a school for the children he drove by everyday, who had no chance of going to school. He began the process to establish Charis.
Part of the vision that Paul has is to build schools like this all over the country. They currently have around 25 'projects' underway that include schools and children's homes.
The view from the top of that white building...it's really nice. They're thinking about plans for a university perhaps in the future, and that land in the back with a lake in the middle would be nice.
There is a lot still under construction. This land was purchased for a permanent teacher-training centre to be built.
Charis is being developed as the 'model' to replicate across the country. They serve kids from kindergarten up to senior high. They train the teachers who are local people. At Charis the language of instruction is Indonesian, but they also have 'English Hour' every week where classes are in English for 1-2 hours.
I happened to be there at a time when a team from Philadelphia had come to conduct a teacher-training conference. This conference was opened up to local government-school teachers; offered free of charge.
The response that they get from the local community is great. They get numerous calls and requests from all over to conduct training for teachers.
It is a Christian school, meaning that everything is based on biblical principles. All the teachers are Christian but the students come from different backgrounds. Indonesia is the largest Moslem nation. Although we went to church on Sundays quite easily, it is still risky. In another part of the country a group of about 50, from the Indonesian arm of Campus for Christ, were arrested. It was apparently just a string of unfortunate mistakes. The story I heard was that during a skit showing how not to behave, they had someone stamping on a copy of the Koran...? It was videotaped and the tape was accidently left in the recorder. Someone saw the tape and it went from there...
Another group we heard about are being held in prison. The people in their community are calling for the death sentence, even though the supposed maximum penalty they can be dealt is 5 years.
Another visit I was able to make while in Malang was to the poor area - Polehan. It is known as the 'black' neighborhood because of the poverty and crime associated with it. People from Polehan cannot get loans from banks; many of the people collect garbage or perhaps drive a 'becak' - a rickshaw-bike for a living.
Charis supports an after-school program there. It is a relatively young project, off to a good start but they are working on refining the vision for the centre. At the moment their focus and skills lie in education, but in this environment there are so many additional needs it's difficult to know where to draw the line.
We visited some of the families there. It was the first time I really met people who were living in such poverty. It was the kind of situation where you can't help wincing inside a little when you shake hands because you can feel how dirty everything is. But at the same time, in each home we visited we were welcomed so warmly with smiles.
This family is one of only two Christian families. We sat for a while as this mother shared some of the things that have been bothering her. She has 5 kids and the oldest is just starting 1st grade - she's afraid she doesn't have the money to keep sending her (all schools require tuition). The whole family also sleeps in that room beside the door - maybe 5x6 feet - because she's afraid the roof will collapse at any moment from the old rotting wood. You could see she was so appreciative to have us, but at the same time embaressed. She kept saying to Wennie 'I wish you had told me you were coming...'
Other Random Pictures ...
The Richardson's cat, Peanut. There are lots of stray cats in Malang. I'm used to cats being pretty quiet, but these cats are really loud. The first night I heard it 'meow' I had no idea what it was...the next day I realized it had been the cat...they're very loud...
A couple of the girls who work with Mustard Seed in Malang started to get to know some of their neighbors. One Sunday we joined a small group of them to play volleyball. I thought we were going to find some random open space somewhere, but after walking through some back alleys we ended up at this makeshift gym. Brick on the lower half, then the top was finished with woven panels and flags on the inside.
It was the most painful volleyball I had ever played with. I was ready to stop after the first few hits, but I guess these women are used to it...I felt like such a wimp when we finally told them we had to stop...
For more photos of Kalimantan visit:
I went with Paul and Faythe (a retired couple in their 70s who have been living between
Leela (who will be living in
and Juliana (also new to the
Pastor Rudy moved to the area 9 years ago to help the communities - building wells, schools, and working to find sustainable ways for the people to make a living, as well as preaching the gospel and building churches like the one in the picture. When he started out - before they got the speedboat to be able to travel up the river, he used to ride his bicycle for kilometers to reach the communities.He lives with his family in a very basic house that I’ve been told has already been very well improved since a few years ago. He has many people that stay in his house in addition to his family. e.g. Hendro – about 14 years old – left his family from another village to be able to attend school.
A dorm is under construction so that more boys like Hendro will be able to attend school.
Indonesia in general has a morning culture. On Sundays at 7 or 8am you can go out and see communities out for their morning 'health walk'. People apparently start making social calls by 6am. Our first morning staying at Pastor Rudy's we woke up to singing in Indonesian at 4am - it was actually a really nice way to wake up. Every morning they have worship and bible study so we joined them for it while we were there. It was kind of nice being up that early, but probably something I would only keep up if I were living there...
We were swarmed by the children when we first arrived.
The docks were planks of very old wood...with many gaps.
At the edge of the docks you can see people bathing and washing clothes. The river is their source of water, but unfortunately also where they dump...everything. The box behind the woman on the left is a toilet.
There are river communities all along the
At one man's house we got some very good pineapple. It was so sweet but also very light...
They gave us some pineapple to take back as well as jack fruit.
This is one of the wells Pastor Rudy has helped a village with. The clear water coming out is much better than the well at Pastor Rudy's own house. At the moment his well is not deep enough.
The washroom: squat toilet and the shower - the hose hanging on the right.
We tried to avoid taking a shower since Faythe had told us the last time she had come you got out feeling itchy all over and dirtier than when you first went in (again the importance of getting a well). Juliana had also had an experience in a similar area where she broke out in a rash after showering.
On the second day we came back and found Faythe had showered and had no problem.
We all showered.
After sweating all day, playing volleyball, and being splashed in the boat on the river it felt so good to shower. Despite being outside, with a bug crawling up the 'wall', and the water trickling out slowly...
Pastor Rudy's three girls (the tall girl in the middle is a friend). I realized that it was no little thing for him to decide to move there. He grew up in another city, and went to university in Jakarta (Indonesia's capital) so he was used to living with all the conveniences and comforts in a big city. He moved around the time he got married; he and his wife were choosing to not only live in these conditions, but also to raise their children there.
Our first meal at their house. Home-grown rice.
The school they are developing is right outside their house. We got to teach a few English classes while we were there. There are still a lot of improvements needed but it has come a long way in the past few years when there was originally nothing.
There aren't enough textbooks, and there are very limited supplies. With the senior class we brought some cardstock and stickers. When we were preparing the lesson the night before I was thinking that it would be a little childish for them - but then I realized the next day that these kids rarely, if ever, get to see or use these materials.
After we left Pulau Kaladan we spent one night in Banjabaru at the guesthouse on the campus of another school site.
More random pictures ...
Seeing us off as we left one of the villages
Pastor Rudy's little one: Gloria. She's so cute. 2 years old but she acts like a 4-year-old.
Our happy boatman. Also moved here from another city, he lives with Pastor Rudy as well.
The sign at one of the little piers. I'm guessing it's telling you how to dock your boat...
Mitra's math class. She also moved here from another city.
The houses down the side of the river.
What the gas stations look like.
Typical view from the boat along the main river.
We also went down the narrow side rivers in a little motor boat.
Then I met Julia who was in charge of dinner that day. A meal plan had been prepared and two young women were at work preparing the vegetables. How do you know how much rice to cook I asked, “ten kilo a day”, she answered. These young teenagers already knew what it took to cook for 75 plus guests! And they were having fun doing it.
Friday, August 17, 2007
I recently graduated from university, and before starting work in September I decided to make a trip to Indonesia. I had heard about Mustard Seed from a friend in
It was two weeks in July/August 2007. I won’t tell you everything since that would be too much but here’s a summary with pictures…
Some things I saw and did
For more photos of Bali click here
Ibu Sandra and Pak Tommy are really wonderful. They look after around 75 kids at the orphanage. They just calmly watch the children. They don’t have to shout at them or chase them around. At the end of the day Pak Tommy was making announcements. He was telling the kids not to fly kites on the rooftops, and it is the older kids who are responsible for stopping the younger ones if they see them.
When we first arrived some of the kids were randomly banging on the xylophones (I’m not sure what exactly they were, but something like xylophones) and it sounded like a lot of noise. So I wasn’t prepared for it when they did a performance for us before dinner. They were really good.
After dinner we stayed for their ‘service’ - a worship and bible study time. A young man who used to live there led the bible study. He graduated from school and is now working as an engineer. The kids are taken care of right up until college and they’re able to find work.
It really was one big family.