Sunday, February 19, 2017

Suffer the little children ...

Friday, February 17, 2017
We start the day with a long walk. IbuS cleans up the remains of movie night and irons blouses and shirts.

Wedding book attendants
on their phones... like everywhere else in the world
My alarm doesn't sound so we miss our morning walk. While W stays home, DrW takes me to a mid-morning Batak-Medan wedding in the Bandung Women's Hall. The daughter of her classmate is getting married.
Primary school classmates, after 50 years
I stick out as a blonde among dark-haired beauties. Official and personal cameras capture my attendance, from our entry to greeting to the family, and through the buffet line. It's strange, this attention.

For someone self-conscious, it would be hard to bear. I don't care if they stare at me: the people here are as interesting to me as I am to them.
A fiddler ushers the couple and their families to the front, where dancers do a few traditional turns before posing for pictures with them.
We are close to the front of the line and soon reach the bride and groom on the stage - and what a look of surprise the bride gives me! ("Who is she and who invited her?"). I tell her how pretty she is and twish the couple God's blessings and peace.

The buffet line is in the middle of the reception room but there are four other food stations - dessert, ice cream, soup, and saté. That's usual here: the more "grand" the wedding, the more food options there will be. People leave used dishes everywhere - on the edges of tables, on chairs, and even under things. Attendants walk around and pick them up.
People shove their used buffet plates under the chairs in front of them
Then DrW takes me to a favorite cafe, where we pick up sweets to take home.

And we make a stop at a renowned bakery. Then it's after 2pm and I have an hour to pack and nap.

At 3:30, Waldemar joins me at a new neighbor's. He's not new to the neighborhood and we've greeted him many times on our morning walks. But our friendship is just beginning, courtesy of DrH, who has invited most of the guests who show up at his house. It's a distinguished and interesting group. The best-known Bandung historian is a 40-yr expat. She loves cookies and offers her driver to take me home and back to get some homebaked goodies. We add the tray of cookies to the many foods on the table.

The host, a well-known architect, lives part-time in Singapore. He and his team renovated Raffles in Sinagpore - He loves mid-century contemporary design. And he founded the Manchester University (UK-Asian) alumni club. We admire pictures of him with the British royal family and other famous alums. It's fascinating for me as former alumni director: his fellow alumni understand the value of connections and the need to support their alma mater with thousands (and millions) of pounds in donations.

Our next stop requires an Uber trip through downtown traffic. Our friend Bob is saying goodbye for a few months. He and four friends are traveling across Asia and Europe to the German VW festival in their UW combi-van and a Beetle.

Then it's our last stop of the night: an alumni birthday party, hosted at the Savoy hotel by one of the afternoon attendees. We eat supper, listen to alums sing karaoke, and celebrate.
And then it's time to come home and sleep.

We walk the dog around the block (1.5 km) and "park" him near the security guards while we eat breakfast at Miss Bee. We enjoy this neighborhood hangout.

We take the dog home, and before we know it, it's 9am, time for church. After that is W's theology class. Today's question: "Does God exist?"

Our regular dining hall at Bumi S is full. In full swing are a wedding, a birthday party, and an alumni meeting. Every seat is full so we go to another restaurant. I have to leave early for a 2:00 meeting at the house.

DrW brings the leaders of a preschool association to discuss how we might help them. They have over 1000 underprivileged or poor preschool students in 48 informal and 70 formal schools. There are 30, 50, or 70 children in each learning group.

Most teachers of the informal institutions are untrained, and some just have primary school education themselves.

Her first request: do I know teaching interns or experienced educators who could train these local preschool teachers? They need help in understanding the stages and skills of children, aged 0-6. Perhaps could we also provide an unofficial certificate as an incentive for them to take the training? "All our teachers would try to come - we have at least 300."

In undergraduate studies, my minor was childhood education. But I need to recruit current trainers to teach these teachers.

Her second request: do we know anyone willing to share their physical resources to bless these little ones? Currently, most volunteer teachers are unpaid. A bare minimum of $30/month would support a part-time teacher and $80/month would pay for a full-time administrator. The schools also desperately need children's pre-school books, as well as educational and craft supplies.

I make no promises. But perhaps our partners who have a heart for children will consider spending out of their abundance (or sacrificially) to improve young lives here. Please let us know if that is you.
On a weekend night, cars creep along at 5-10mph between pedestrians, motorcycles, carts, and tour busses.
Read more:
*The Lord will again rejoice over you for good as he rejoiced over your fathers. Deuteronomy 30:9

*Paul wrote: For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11
*Paul wrote to Timothy: I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. 2 Timothy 1:5
Moravian Prayer: Good Shepherd, you search for the one lost sheep, and rejoice when it is found. May our faith in you be as strong as your faith in us. You desire good for us. Let us believe and live with that promise. In your name, Amen.

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