I met a few of the foreigners; they weren't very forthcoming, so I could barely catch their names.
Actually, there many people there, volunteers and workers alike. A group of them were wearing T-shirts with CEI written on them, and a map of Indonesia on them. Students, perhaps??
Still, I had my own group. I met Atik, the volunteer co ordinator and sat on the worker's side. Harry and I were served our food and Rosek came to sit with us. Rosek is the founder of Pro Fauna, and the big dude in charge. He has two gorgeous girls, one of whom was forced to come and say and English 'Hello', but Nadia was rather shy and ran off instead!
We talked about their day in the forest, the work at Pro Fauna (and how he is receiving an award from RSPCA, UK for his work to help protect animals in Indonesia) and even Kalaweit.
He also mentioned the accommodation money which hadn't arrived, which is a worry, so I must look into that in the morning. The money missing, along with my husband (due on Friday) are my two flashes of reality. Come Friday, I will be able to kick back with him here and enjoy this (apparent) green paradise.
Dinner was salad, some tofu-fried thing, along with some spicy chicken and some great chilli sauce. It was all washed down with the best ginger tea I have ever had, with much more of a kick than coffee.
At 7pm, we headed back to the village. There was to be a performance from the local villagers. (I was told it was a festival they regularly did. I figured out later it was all a show for this CEI group of people...)
On stage, there were about 30 children, each wearing their own crowns (made from leaves, some very large). The girls added a flower or two here or there; it was all very pretty indeed.
They sung a selection of traditional Indonesian songs and were, as you would expect young, bright ids to be, very cute indeed. At the end of their performance, they were told to clear the stage. All but one left - a very cute boy, a natural performer, waving at the crowd, just like it was his show - very sweet.
There were also four women playing a traditional instrument called a lesung. It is a long block of wood, hollow in the middle (looks like a horse's trough) and beaten with sticks to different rhythms. It sounds a lot better than it should and the women beating it must have been very strong indeed, for, when the foreigners took over (the CEI group), they could barely emulate the volume of the local ladies.
Then came the martial arts display, introduced by some live music.
There was some intense drumming, there was chanting and there were pipes being played too. Some of the kids by the band were tapping and banging to the fantastically elaborate rhythm. They had such a great energy, even watching them was an experience.
This was all followed by four young dancing girls. They each had horse (made with embroidered straw) inbetween their legs. It was very colourful and intricate in design, although the dance itself was very simple, yet, once again, the foreigners made a right balls of it when they tried it out!
The finale was from the martial arts guys. They built up to quite the climax.
They took the branches, or rather, the stems from a flower I had seen earlier. The flower itself is pink and beautiful, but the stem is full (fuller than a rose bush's) of thorns. This (very) thorny stem can be up to chest height. These thorns and spikes look very threatening, even to an admirer, so to witness the display on stage was quite scary indeed. The rest of the audience seemed to enjoy themselves. I wasn't sure how to react.
One of the guys took a big bunch of these stems and whipped the back of another. Then, on the same man's back, he scraped and rubbed, moed with vigour back and forth the stems/branches of thorns and spikes, first on his back and then on his stomach. He soon removed his shirt, although most of it had been ripped.
|Can you see the length of the stems?!!!|
I was cringing with pain for them all. I guess it was about the power of the mind and mind over matter etc, but I was not convinced.
Because of my connections wit Harry, I was also privileged enough to meet the chief of the village!! Lucky me!
What a long and busy day....10pm we all headed back home. I was so ready for a nice long sleep.