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BASTIAN DAYS

His appearance attracts all eyes.  With 2 meters and 2 centimeter height, he can steal all eyes to focus on his extraordinary tall-body.  This 24-year old Germany is Bastian completed with his dread-lock hair style. He said that he loves reggae music as it offers peace in its lyrics whereas this world full of war.

I met him for the first time at 08/08/2012 (Tuesday) when a friend of mine introduced him as a volunteer to teach at my class during his travel. My students and I welcomed him happily. The first class session was with Science-1. The topic was abortion. The students were given a prompt to share ideas their ideas on the pros and cons towards abortion.

I gave Bastian 15 minutes to take turn-taking with my students on his personal identity. My students were so curious about him. They asked a lot of questions.  And through the students’ questions I learned that Bastian is a professional software development in a small company in German, single at the moment, seeing Cianjur as a nice town with full-smile citizen and friendly people.  He made two statements that a bit shocked the class. The first was his statement that religion is not a must in German and abortion is legal until 14 weeks.

The class session was closed by taking picture with him (taking picture with foreigner is something common in my countryJ, as it is a rare occasion for Indonesian to have foreigner around the classroom).

The second session was with Science-3. The topic was about good teacher. Bastian mentioned that there are good and terrible teachers.  He tried to recall his memory to his high school time, and then he said that, ‘Eight years ago, there were 50 % of good teachers”. He added that terrible teacher was also perhaps 50%, such as Chemistry teacher. This happened probably because a student had bad experience with the teacher like the first impression created a barrier in student’s mind and it is very hard to break that again and then do not see the teacher as new opportunity to learn something. He offered a solution by saying that student must accept his role as student and always try his best, keep calm, and be a good friend with the teacher. He ended by mentioning that he himself a shy student; he loves if the teacher accepts him just the way he is. As he is shy, he will not raise hand, and perhaps this will cause teacher not give him good grade since teacher want activity, and a student who does not raise hand means he has not any activity.

The last session was with Science-4. The topic was about the pros and cons towards censorship for imported film. The students and I learned a lot about the how Germany sees film as an art where no censorship is applied. The film is a film, and it is to be watched, any scenes there are not to be followed but to be enjoyed.

The first meeting with Bastian gave good impression on Germany and things relates to German. The students invited Bastian to have break-fasting together.

I can say something funny about the science classes, especially Science-4. Every time I teach them, they always remind me about the TIME. The president of the class always said, ’Ms, it is ten (or fifteen) minutes for English to over”. I wondered why he always did that. I thought it was because they studied in the Language Laboratory so that it would need some time to wear shoes and returned to the class. I was totally wrong! Thing that made the Science-4 left language laboratory as soon as possible, it is because the upcoming lesson in Bahasa Indonesia. I sometimes talked to my self, this Bahasa Indonesia teacher must be a GOOD teacher. The reason for this is very clear. She can make the student punctual with the time and sits in the class neatly waiting for her coming. She is also good teacher as she makes the students join her class in a serious way. I think, I cannot be like Bahasa Indonesia teacher. For me, teaching is an art. And as an art, it needs special touch and special way to deal with the students’ uniqueness. Furthermore, to tell you the truth, I cannot put serious (=rigid) face to my students, as I believe the students need fun and hope for teacher’s love. I will laugh at myself if I teach using serious faceJ.

The second time, I met Bastian was on August 10th, 2012. It was the school breakfasting-together agenda with whole teachers of Smanda. The agenda was a bit weird to me. As a part of Smanda teacher, I was not be informed what agenda would be. To my surprise, at around 4.30 in the afternoon, there were some 80 orphans came to the hall. I heard that they were the unfortunate children from somewhere around the rail station area. Again, to my surprise, as I sat with Bastian, I was asked to do impromptu activities, which were making the orphans entertained by us (Bastian and I). You can imagine how crazy it was for both Bastian and I, but we tried. Bastian said ‘uh… I am shy person; I give up if I must handle these 80 children”. I responded it by smiling since I also did not know what to say.

The orphans were given an envelope (money I guess), some snacks and another simple kid’s food. They were very cute.  They sang some Arabic words song that I did not understand, maybe the song was about praising Prophet Muhammad. They looked very happy. Inside my heart, I spoke to myself, the government should responsible for these cute children to give them good life and bright future. Unfortunately, where the government when they are needed, no one knows. What I know, these children must work very hard so that they can eat. I heard some of them selling plastic bags (keresek plastic-bag) to keep them alive. Of course they do not think about school; school probably will become a luxurious and expensive thing to be afforded by them. Get three thousand per day is enough for them. Some others take a job as shoe cleaner.

Can you imagine if the young generations do not get education, a big problem will arise in the future? They are as old as your brothers and sisters. While your brothers and sisters go to school and study and weave a better future by getting good education. They go to the street, railway station, garbage dumping area, to search for food, they will not think about education, future, being a doctor, an engineer or another professional and stable job. They will grow with your brothers and sisters. Your brothers and sisters enjoy their teenager lives; these orphans also enjoy their teenagers’ lives, but perhaps by starting selling their bodies, selling their religion, stealing and other social pathologies activities. The worse, they perhaps trap your brothers and sisters with their tricky offer such as drugs.

My imagination above is too far. Don’t worry as I did. What I imagined will not come into existence if the government and ‘the have’ try to save these orphans. In the right hands, these children will grow as good part of this nation. Even, perhaps, they can exceed our brothers and sisters in their achievement. For now, just pray that they are in good hands and pray also, that you become rich people and can save another generations from damaging this nation.

In this picture, only some of the children did singing. I tried very hard to understand what they were singing, but alas, I could not understand. They sang Arabic (perhaps) song. Something came into my mind ‘how can they say something they did not understand?’ In my point of view, someone can say something if they really understand what they are being said. Remembering words without understand their meaning sounds a bit useless to me. Maybe my opinion surprises you. I guess, it will be perfect if we can say the words in any language and at the same time we understand what we are saying. Once, there was a stupid thing happened. In a big mosque, there was a group of santri (clerics) sang a song proudly using Arabic language. At that time, an Arab was one of the audiences. He was very surprised and felt a bit insulted. He said that the song being sung by the clerics were about something related to sexual activity. This is the danger of singing or saying something not in our own language. Once, I also experienced this kind of embarrassing situation. A puberty neighbor of mine sang an English song, in the middle of the day, when the sun shines brightly. He sang very loudly, and I think some Indonesian teenagers did this when they are in love (=do not care the environment and sang loudly without thinking others). He sang like this “I will make love to you, like you want me too bla…bla…bla” My ears red hearing this. ((I think you understand English, so you know what this lyric means)).

Then, August 11th, 2012. Bastian and I were invited to Pandu’s birthday party. It was in Teras Kita. It is near Tapal Kuda. Once, I went to Tapal Kuda to take my children swimming. But I know nothing about Teras Kita. The party was so big and crowded. Many policemen were everywhere. One of students informed me that Pandu’s father is a Kasatreskrim. Kasatreskrim has nothing to do with ice cream, and it will not appear in your test! I asked my husband what Kasatreskrim means, my husband laughed and said ‘how come you didn’t know such thing, it relates to criminal thing, blablabla!’ I just put SNAIL smile when I was listening to his explanation.

The Teras Kita building consists of two main buildings. The first is a restaurant where everyone can have meal and enjoy the scenery of turning big road and seeing vehicles run. Another one is karaoke building, where everyone can sing their favorite song. Unlucky me, I am not good at singing. Bastian said that he did not like pop song, so he said no to this karaoke singing chance.  And I almost forgot, at the back of the restaurant building there are some unfinished building, it is like a villa. There are about four and all of them face the east. There are many rich people recently who put their money on villa + restaurant + entertainment. This person also, put their money to build Teras Kita, and of course this business will attract Cianjuran peoples. But what comes to your mind when you hear the word karaoke in relation to Cianjur as gerbang marhamah town. Isn’t this a contradictory situation? On one side, Cianjur devotes to be good Muslim follower, meaning avoid worldly satisfaction, on the other side, Teras Kita provides Cianjurans with temptation and causes to get far from heavenly life.

When we arrived, the party has already started. A Kyai was preaching about something, I did not know what he was preaching, but the audiences were many. Some are men with policemen uniform and some others were ladies with Muslim’s outfits. Pandu’s mom welcomed us and asked us to join the preaching, but I chose to sit in the hut and enjoyed the evening. Preaching is suitable for elderly people, right? And I think, preaching is every where during Ramadan time. I always listen to Quraisy Syihab explanation on the Koran every 3 o’clock in morning. I think, what Pa Quraisy did is a very noble deed. He gave a very clear explanation on every verses of the holly Koran. The way he explaining also makes his audience smart and thinks cleverly. That’s what Indonesia needs now, a smart kyai who can make his audience think cleverly.

The students were placed in the Karaoke building to do breakfasting and had some karaoke song. Bastian and I just enjoyed the food. The squid was so delicious. Bastian commented that squid (fish) was so interesting. My stomach was so full. And Pandu is a very gentle man; he escorted us to Smanda to go home. Bastian asked to stop at Interlingua. Ayu accompanied him. You know, Ayu sent me a text to tell her regret for not helping Bastian to cross the road. I replied her text saying “don’t worry, if Bastian can cross the country from German to Indonesia, so he can also cross Cianjur’s road”.

At August 13th, 2012 (Monday), Bastian and I went to Cibodas Park with some of Science-3 students. I explained Bastian that Cibodas means Ci is water and bodas is white. Bastian guessed that white-water name come because the water fall makes the water looked white. That day was the first day of Bastian in his 25 years old. On Sunday (12/08/2012) Bastian had his 25.

We left Smanda at around nine in the morning by public transportation for Cibodas. After around an hour, the car approached the gate, and each person has to pay 2 thousand rupiahs. Then at the main gate each of us has to pay 6 thousand rupiahs.  I tried to bargain with the gate-man, and he agreed that we paid only 60 thousand from 96 thousand rupiahs. When we entered the park, the park was so empty. Fadil said ‘wow great, we hire the entire park just for ourselves!’

Bastian wanted to try flying-fox, but the men said that the area is being fixed to prepare for the Lebaran day. Then we walked to the Moss Garden. Some men were cleaning the garden. We tried touching the moss bed. It is very soft just like bed. Bastian said that in German there is moss too.

I headed to the green house, and it was empty too. I handed my camera to Fadil and he took some pictures. I think he had a talent to be a photographer as he made some good picture.

We passed through a very big tree. The four of us tried to hold it; I guess the diameter must be around 3 meters. Before that, we take ‘check point’ on the falling-tree. Everyone took their position to be captured by the camera. There was a lot of fun, but our stomach could not lie. We felt tired easily as we felt hungry. It was around 11 when we sat near the pool. While we served Bastian food to have his lunch, a guy from Italy passed us by. I did not know what the students said to him, but Jackomo (the 29-Italian man) and his guide Henry stopped and joined us. Bastian and Jackomo took their lunch together and we left them for having dzuhur pray and Ade became our imam. After we got our energy back, we continued our travel to water fall. Now the journey was lighter, as there was two bules with us.

When we are about to arrive at the water fall, an Arabian family was there. And on the water fall, a Japanese family was having their lunch. Imagine, we were very hungry, and the Japanese family, ignore us, just eating and eating, I could only smile. We spent some time in the water fall, tried to enjoy the beauty of the water which at that time almost dry and the water flow slowly.

Here you can see (the picture on the right) that the water is almost dry. When it is in the wet season, the water almost reaches the outer part of the river, but now you can see only stone scattered everywhere. I think, Fadil took this picture to remind us-Indonesian- to look back and see the nature closely. Dry-river is symptom of water scarcity. I heard in the future, one day, people will fight for a drop of water; water will become the most expensive thing to buy. Now, people fight for fuel, even a country makes a war just to get the source of fuel. If we treat the nature as we are now, then we will see people make war for water.

I think we do not need to wait for too long to see the water become an expensive thing. Now you can compare a gasoline per liter costs Rp. 4.500, and one liter of mineral water costs around Rp. 3.000 (60ml of mineral water cost Rp. 2.500). In the year 2012, a liter of water cost Rp. 3.000, what about 10 years from now? The water is as expensive as the gasolines will not an imagination.

Sometimes, as Indonesian-we are too confident that water will be available all the time. Actually it won’t. In the dry season, some people in central Java walk 15 kilometers just to get a pail of water. They use water only for important thing, such as cooking, drinking, not enough for bathing! As Indonesian, we must immediately fix this situation unless our younger sisters and brothers will not get enough water because we had used them up and left nothing for them.

Suddenly, I remembered Bastian’s question. He asked whether I know why Indonesian’s government subsidizes the gasoline, where the money is from. I could not give any answer, as I know nothing about where and how the government provides money for gasoline. Bastian said that one liter of gasoline in German cost almost equal to 18.000 rupiah. I felt Bastian question is worth to reconsider, how the government subsidizes the gasoline while it is sold very expensive in another country. There must be something wrong with our government policy. As wrong as in its way to handle water. Why the government does not take a serious action to preserve water. In my personal point of view, in the school, it will be more useful to teach students to plant and nurture trees. The students get good grades if they can grow the trees well during their 3 years in their school-time, rather than being taught environmental education (PLH) that equip students with nothing unless waste their time and take action to the environment.

Well, let’s go back to the journey. We had great moments at Cibodas. The students and bules played some ‘impromptu’ game, like remembering names. It was hard for me to remember the entire students name at once. So you can imagine it will be even harder for bule to remember the entire names. And it does! You know, I could not stop laughing when Jackomo tried to pronounce Fachmi’s name. He pronounced it become something else. Thank God, the students did not know the meaning of it (???). I just talked to Jackomo informing his mistakenly-spelling and he got surprised with that, then we talked and talked and talked, we did not realize if the students were watching us and waited for the translationJ.

It was about four in the afternoon we left Cibodas. We said goodbye to Jackomo and Henry. It was about to leave when a bad news arrive. Arif motor-bike got some troubles; I heard its oil-tank blew up and stop working.  I felt guilty, but I could do nothing to fix his motorbike, then it was decided that girls left earlier with public transportation, meanwhile boys were stayed around Balakang-Cipanas market to get an open truck to carry the motor-bike. I just prayed that Arif’s parents did not get angry with Arif or me-the teacher. I got off at Hypermart’s roundabout.  Breakfasting time was over; we drank water from the same mineral bottle glass when we were at the public transportation. I drank some water from Hanna’s bottle. Then, Bastian and I walked to have breakfasting at Delarisa café. I took Bastian there as I had promised ex-12 science-3 class students to meet them there. The café was full with ex-science three students. I saw almost all the students arrived. It made me happy; their class-unity caused them to be together and met me there. Bastian was given mango-juice and sea-food with shrimp on it plus a cone of rice with small cut of chicken and tofu. Bastian asked me how to eat shrimp. I said, ‘just avoid eating its legs’. Suddenly I remember, at Pandu’s birthday he ate squid, and now he ate shrimp. Maybe he thought that Indonesian eats a lot of fish in their dish.

  In this picture (even isn’t very clear), you can see Ibep at the front, then left to the right Ansori, Bastian, Eka, Erlis; then left to the right standing  Ica, Yeti, Diva, Nadia, Gani, Dylan, Akew, Ms B, Agung, Reza, Puji, Elsa. I can’t recognize who stand at the back row.The picture was taken at the front of Delarisa café on its parking lot.

After gathering with ex-science three, I said goodbye to everyone including Bastian. I went home and went back to my house-wife life.


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