I have lived with eight out of ten Pengajar Muda in my twelve days stay here in South Halmahera islands. As I have probably said a lot of times before, it has been an eye-mind-and-heart opening experience. I’ve been to Toro Subang, where the children and the waters have stolen my heart. I’ve been to Sawang Akar, where electricity is almost non-existed. I’ve been to Bibinoi, a village with no cell signal but have electricity access. I’ve been to Panamboang, where I attended my first “Monday Ceremony” since a looong time. I’ve been to Papaloang, where I and Francy helped to teach the children how to read. I’ve been to Indong, where the air was so hot and humid I cannot sleep at all. And I’ve been to Pelita, where the cool breeze and friendly villagers have welcomed my stay. I have Belang-beland and Indomud up next on my itinerary. Who knows what memories they will bring?
I’ve gotten to know crazy Ajip, wise Jun, leader Adi, geeky Bayu, smiley Ais, big-sister Ayu, handsome Adi, and cool Dika. Dani and Aheng is next. It’s kinda surreal, that when all the buzz about Indonesia Mengajar are happening, all the euphoria, and meetings and presentations are streaming out into the world, here I am, smack in the middle, right in the action, right in the front line, with the dudes that people talk so much about. I have gone past tired. It is my new normal, this routine of sleeping for a nite or two in Labuha (the bigger, central town) then put on my carrier and camera bag with Francy to the port to catch a boat to one of the destination island. Meeting the PM, get to know the village chief, going to the school with all my gears, living with the host-family, then prepare for departure to do it all-over again.
I have a new motto, “Comfort is the new routine.” When you are used to it, you’re no longer uncomfortable. I’ve gotten used to the not so clean bathrooms and toilets, to the hardwood beds, to the mosquitoes and bugs, to the humid air, to the scorching sun. And the talks. I’ve been so lucky to be able to chat heart to heart with these sons and daughters of Indonesia. What brings them here, what does life mean to them, why do they love Indonesia, what burns their hearts.
And the pictures. And videos. Mamamia. Apart from my personal satisfaction of good-passionate work, I hope that it will help this movement, somehow, sometime, somewhere.
Suffice to say, this is what we came here for. All of this. To find a new normal. So the old normal become new again. Get it? 🙂
In other news, today is me and Francy’s 4th Anniversary. We couldn’t ask for a more perfect place. We celebrated with a fish barbecue and surrounded with almost all (we’re only missing Ais) of the Pengajar Muda, since they all have to attend a function here in Labuha tomorrow. New friends, new brothers and sisters.
As for Francy, I’m stuck with you on this journey 😀 More to come, I suppose?
By the way, Justin is also on a Sabbatical. He said hi to all of you the fans.