My planned lessons with Bu Febri have once again been cancelled due to today being dedicated to preparing students for upcoming competitions. So Bu Arfa & I took our time getting to school this morning and it was lovely dawdling instead of racing against the clock to get to school on time. We stopped off at a great warung for bubur – delicious rice ‘porridge’ which is actually more like chicken risotto served with sliced shallots, fried onions, fried peanuts and a little extra chicken soup poured over the top. While eating, we watched the 4 women working in the warung as they had a steady stream of customers, some eating at the warung like we were and some getting take away. The TV was on in the corner as always and even though it was 7am, there was a soapie on. Indonesians are all addicted to soapies and there are so many of them and they seem to be on 24/7. One ridiculous soapie I saw recently is called, “My boyfriend is a Celebrity” and the episode I ‘watched’ was about a girlfriend discovering that her celebrity boyfriend had moved on when she saw him on TV with his new girlfriend. The plot of the soapies here are always over the top with every possible calamity affecting the characters and the acting is so over the top it is hilarious. Every emotion is exaggerated and it is more like a pantomime than a tv show. It is so hard not to burst out laughing at the outrageous plot and acting but I try not to in case I offend who ever I am watching it with. Most Indonesians realise the plots are bizarre but they still get hooked and start to empathise with the characters.
After we dragged ourselves away from the TV, we headed off to school and got here about 7:45! As we reached school, we passed a group of students practicing ‘gerak jalan’ (marching) as there is a competition on Friday morning. The teachers are also competing and Bu Arfa has just convinced me that I should join in tomorrow’s rehearsal and all being well, join in the competition before I fly out on Friday! I just hope it isn’t too hot! Unfortunately we will be organised by height with the tallest at the front so it looks like I won’t be able to hide at the back!
Here at school, it seems that the group we overtook practicing were the last group to do so, and I have to wait till tomorrow to see exactly what it looks like. There are 2 categories, both are ‘Komanden’ teams, one consists of 16 people and the other consists of 10 people. Not sure what that means but am hoping tomorrow it all becomes clear.
Since all the teams did their rehearsing earlier in the day, students are all mostly recovering. Most are sitting in their classrooms or on benches outside their classrooms chatting. One group of students were crowded around a laptop in one of the classrooms which they immediately closed as I walked into the room. Whether I had my teacher hat on or my parent hat on, bells were ringing! They tried to reassure me that everything was ok!! Teenagers are the same all over the world it seems!
This group of teenagers are watching two games of sport being played on the basketball court. At one end is a basketball game while at the other end is a game of soccer
Over on the sepak takrow court, several teams are competing for fun too
In between the basketball court and the sepak takrow court are several teams practicing for various competitions which will be held at the scout camp starting on Thursday. One team had just finished making a flag pole and another was making a archway from bamboo
Meanwhile students in Bu Arfa’s mentoring class are finalising names and phone numbers for their marching team. Seems like a few students have pulled out for various reasons, most of which sound like an excuse to get out of participating which was not received happily by the team nor Bu Arfa. Another point was raised was the wearing of jilbab’s. So as all students looked the same, they discussed what colour they would wear and whether they all needed to wear them. As it is so hot marching, some of the girls were wondering how they were going to cope as they don’t wear a jilbab everyday. Wearing a jilbab it seems, is not just the head scarf, they also wear a sort of thin beanie underneath it, so the double layer must be so hot. It would give me instant heat stroke marching with a double layer covering my head.
I then walked down to the oval to see if I could find any teams practising. As I passed by classrooms, I asked students sitting there if they were planning to rehearse again and all said they had finished for the day and would practice again tomorrow morning. I headed anyway down to the oval to see if anyone was there and to my surprise discovered a huge group of students playing and watching volley ball.
Under the shade of a huge tree, spectators were enjoying watching while eating snacks sold by sellers operating from mobile stalls on their motorbikes. This man is selling quail eggs. He sells mini quail egg omelet sate. The tiny omelets are speared on a sate stick. Can you see the basket of them ready for sale? Here he is about to grease the griddle to make some fresh omelets.
Another seller was selling meatballs. These are incredibly popular. You can either buy a small bag of them with tomato sauce or you can stand by the seller and help yourself and pay afterwards for the number you eat. Using a toothpick, you spear the ball and then dunk it in tomato sauce or chili sauce.The hole in the middle is where boiling stock is and the steam from it keeps the balls hot or you can buy bakso, a thin soup with meatballs floating in it.
Also nearby are several warungs, small stalls where you can buy snacks. The best thing about warungs is that they have somewhere you can sit and relax while munching on the food you bought. Each warung has its own specialty depending on the owner and the cook!
In the library, Bu Arfa is working with a group preparing for a dance which will be performed next month. Her plan is to train a small group of 25 and they then will be responsible for training the other 75 dancers! So far the dance is amazing and seems to incorporate aspects of many different dancing styles. It begins with a balinese style dance complete with outstretched fingers and eyes making fast extreme movements. Following this was saman dancing which I absolutely love.
Saman dance incorporates a line of dancers usually kneeling facing the audience and instead of using their feet, the dance is largely a dance of hands and arms. It is very effective. This dance is further enhanced with sticks that look like drum sticks and the clack of them hitting the tiles simultaneously is impressive. The next dance is a salsa but this is still a work in progress. So far it is amazing and without doubt the final performance will be memorable.