Thursday, July 26, 2012

Driving, Teaching, Bust Mostly Driving

This morning Daniel and I, along with Betty, Efa (Krida's principal), and Fikry (one of Krida's English language teachers), departed at 6:30 AM (yikes) to drive approximately 90 km to SMAN 1 Majalengka High School in Majalengka, Indonesia.  While 90 km, or 56 miles, doesn't seem that far to those of us in the USA who can easily hope on an interstate highway and drive at 65 (or more) miles per hour, in Indonesia this distance takes MUCH longer to drive.  Without stopping (no potty breaks, no photo opportunities, nothing), the morning drive took well over 2-1/2 hours.

By the time we arrived at SMAN 1 Majalengka, school had already started.  As we got out of the Krida Mobile (actually one of the fleet of Krida's mini vans) we were greeted by a delegation of students (3 boys and 2 girls) who spent several minutes making small talk with us so as to practice their English skills.  In time, a team of adults ushered us into the head master's office.  I presented the head master with a small gift to thank he and his school for inviting Daniel and I to come and visit.  We remained in his office for a while and visited.
student delegation who welcomed our arrival

giving SMAN 1 Majalengka's head master a gift: decorative plate with image of a Plains Indian

Approximately 30 minutes after our arrival, Daniel and I were each escorted to a classroom filled with students waiting for us to greet them and tell them about life in the USA.  I was again able to use my prezi on life in Oklahoma to share with the students about our way of life.  One of the slides which I have learned I need to move past rather fast includes the images of food in Oklahoma.  Since Indonesia is a primarily Muslim country, most of the students are fasting during this current month of Ramadan.  I can tell from the students' expressions when they see the images of food that it reminds them of their hunger so I try to make that part of the presentation as rapid as possible.

After the presentation and discussion, which included some good questions from the students especially about our animals and about the musicians from Oklahoma and favorite styles of music, I then passed out postcards to the students.  I have run out of the cards written by my high school students at Southmoore and am now using the ones from the upper grades from Briarwood and Oakridge elementary schools.  I have been promised by Betty that we will be visiting an elementary school or two either tomorrow or Saturday (yes, Indonesia has school on Saturday too) so I will make sure that most of these postcards get into the hands of elementary students here.

As the students were reading their postcards  I began taking a few pictures of them.  This led into a large group photo (there were about 50 students in this class) of the students with me.  Immediately, the students start producing their cell phones with cameras and wanting me to pose with them as individuals or small groups for additional pictures.  I felt like I was the newest movie star or pop musician visiting these children and that they ALL wanted to be photographed with me.  I'll bet I was already appearing on Facebook before the class time was even over.
reading postcards from USA elementary school students

my geography class at SMAN 1 Majalengka

Speaking of Facebook, as the students returned to their seats for a time of questions and answers the first question requested my Facebook and twitter identification.  I wrote the information for the Facebook page and twitter account that I use with my USA students on the white board.  By the time I arrived back to the guest house at Krida, I already have 5 new "likes" on Facebook and 8 new followers on twitter.  WOW...I am a rock star, LOL.

Following this class, the two boys who were part of the initial welcoming committee gave me a tour of the campus including the library, the students' parking lot, and the teachers' workroom.  This school also has construction for a new lobby and I shared with the two boys that Southmoore was also under construction for some additional classrooms.  Every chance I get I love to point out the similarities between my experiences in Indonesia and the USA; too often we focus on what divides us and not enough on what unites as a co-inhabitants of planet earth.  It was now time to say our good-byes.  We once again gathered in the head master's office for pictures and a parting gift: Daniel and I were each given a basket filled with mangoes.
main classroom building

on campus mosque

student parking lot; no cars, only motorcycles

library and media center staff

students showing their artwork to promote environmental protection

I am being presented a basket of mangoes as a "thank you" for visiting

As our group from Krida departed, I was surprised to see that we were driving off in a different direction.  I made the assumption that there was an alternate route to get back to Bandung.  After about 45 minutes of driving we turned around.  Apparently Efa, who was driving, was trying to find a sate stand where Daniel, Betty, and I could get some lunch.  However, due to Ramadan fasting he was not able to locate a stand.  So on the way back into Majalengka we paused for about 15 minutes at a mosque so that Efa and Fikry could stop to pray.

Our journey continued en route back to Bandung.  Eventually we did stop at Kentucky Fried Chicken (one of the few places open during lunch time) to eat.  KFC was located in the same building as a grocery store so we also looked around in there for a few minutes.  I saw some things I've never seen: Pepsi Blue, unusual fruits and vegetables, and the fresh meat and fish stand where the customers helped themselves to the unpackaged items rather than having an employee provide assistance in a more hygienic manner.
KFC staff is happy to serve you...but no mashed potatoes or mac & cheese
with your chicken, only french fries or a package of sticky rice

what is Pepsi Blue???

many of my Korean & Vietnamese students at Southmoore enjoy Durian

need frozen chicken nuggets or french fries? scoop them and bag them yourself!!!

It was after 5:00 when we arrived back at Krida.  The return trip, if you remove the approximate time of an hour for the KFC stop, took over 5-1/2 hours.  This should give an idea of how complicated driving is here in Indonesia.  Vehicles of all shapes and sizes fighting for every inch on the road.  A road paved for two lanes may have four or more lanes once the drivers decide for themselves how to accommodate their vehicles in the road.  We were safe, but it just seemed to take "forever" to make the 90 km return trip.  Oh well, tomorrow is another day.
video of the final road to Krida's campus; barely a
two lane road filled with people and automobiles


  1. Wow - you must be exhausted! I'm glad you didn't get reprimanded for taking photos in the grocery store like we did! We couldn't find any Dorian today - did you try it?

    1. Betty bought lots of fruit but no Dorian. So, alas, I still do not know its flavors.

  2. Looking forward to your next post after you have hopefully visited the elementary school. Sounds like you are having a great experience.

    1. It looks like Saturday for visiting the elementary school; they go to school seven days a week here.

  3. Thanks for visiting XI Social 4, SMAN 1 MAJALENGKA..

    1. I enjoyed visiting your school and class so very much!!!

  4. If i remember right Pepsi Blue is a berry-like drink made by PepsiCo to go up against Coca-Cola Vanilla. It has a taste that resembles blueberries, raspberries, or cotton candy! :)

    1. I did buy a couple of them and will be trying it out just as soon as it is chilled a little bit.

  5. what no picture when you in the hall? I was in the hall at that time, when you come. thanks already visited my school. I hope you can come back and get to know us more closely.

  6. wooww glad to see your post about my school.. i hope you had a big impression. I'm 12 grader, so sad I couldn't see you visiting my school :(

  7. I still remember your arrival to the school, and now I have grade 12 and will leave the school. : (