An Unusual Friday at SMAN2 Pangkalan Bun

Last night I stayed at Bu Kutmie’s house which I thoroughly enjoyed. She doesn’t live that far from school so it wasn’t far to get a lift when I realised that she had left without me!! Poor Bu Kutmie! She had a huge day and had totally forgotten that I was coming to stay the night.
While chatting to her this morning over a breakfast of nasi bungkus, she mentioned that as there were going to be so many teachers away today, lessons had been cancelled and instead, staff and students would ‘kerja bakti’. Indonesian schools are largely maintained and cleaned by staff and students and every so often a kerja bakti is organised. It is just like a working bee. except that it is compulsory and it is held in school time. Usually students are told in advance that it will be held so they can bring gardening tools or cleaning odds and ends. I have only read about kerja batkti so was really looking forward to seeing it in action.
When I arrived at school, all the students were at an assembly on the basketball court

20130920-170309.jpgand the principal was standing in the shade of a tree using a microphone to tell them about 2 major upcoming events. The one that excited the students the most will be held the day I leave. The whole school will go down to the river Arut which bisects Pangkalan Bun. Each class will be given one kelotok which they have to decorate. Sounds like it will be a great day. The event is to commemorate the birthday of Pangkalan Bun and recognises the history of Pangkalan Bun as a town which used to rely solely on river transport.
After outlining this upcoming event and also a massive sports competition that will be held next month, the students were dismissed. Nothing was said about kerja bakti! When I asked the principal afterwards why, he was puzzled and couldn’t give me an answer. I am not the only teacher here who is confused and a little disappointed that a whole day of lessons has been abandoned, Sounds like he often changes his mind with no staff consultation and is unused to being asked why he did so! The few remaining staff are all now sitting around chatting & eating and looking slightly disgruntled.
Meanwhile the students are sitting by their classrooms chatting and enjoying the unexpected bonus free time. A group of boys have organised a game of sepak takrow. This is a traditional game played throughout Indonesia by both males and females however only boys are playing it today. It looks like a fun game to introduce to my students next year. Do you agree?

How to play Sepak Takrow:
1. Teams of 3, 2 people standing close to the net and one towards the back.
2. The server (the person on the right) serves to the single person in the middle
3. When making contact with the ball, use only your head or your feet. Do not use your hands.
4. The winning team is the first team to 10.


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