Indonesia Update #2

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Trying to stay cool…

Our group has now had a couple of days to explore the city of Solo in central Java. They are staying at a modest hotel, nothing elegant, but clean and pleasant enough and – most importantly – equipped with air conditioning. This last feature is the key to getting decent sleep in an inhospitable climate; daily temperatures (and relative humidities) have been in the 90s. Perhaps they will get used to that feeling of always being damp and sweaty and sticky; in the reports received, the word “hot” is the one most frequently used!  Lisa writes:

 

The humidity is thick in the air and clings about everything with heaviness. Temps at 7 am are in the high 80s. The morning haze precludes direct sun — which is fabulous, because when the sun does break through, its effect is profound.

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Making gamelan bells

Students are spending significant amounts of time at the Yayasan Gunungan orphanage, getting to know the kids, doing some academic support activities with individual kids, and engaging in various play and recreational activities. However, with the children at school during the day, the Explorations students have had time to explore and learn around Solo.

 

Birthday

Josie celebrates a birthday

One highlight was a bicycle tour that took the group around a variety of neighborhoods and showed some of the many ways of life that are normal to Indonesians but unfamiliar to us. They saw a batik workshop, a variety of markets, and a forge where the traditional Indonesian brass Gamelan bells are created. This trip offered great sights, very friendly people, and only moderate sunburn.

 

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Creating batik patterns

Yesterday was an all-day batik workshop. Students each got to create theiir own work of art under the careful guidance of Imoh, an expert in this traditional Indonesian art form. Batik involves creating images or patterns on fabric using thin beads of wax, which then resist the dye when the fabric is dyed. Often multiple cycles of waxing and dyeing are used to generate intricate and multicolored artworks. Coop writes:

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Getting ready to apply wax

Students put good effort into their designs and gained a greater appreciation for the process, patience and skill it takes to create the incredibly detailed local art we have been seeing on a daily basis.

Overall, reports are that our group members are well, though several have faced some intestinal discomfort (expected) and some hesitancy in trying to communicate with the locals (also expected). Over the coming weekend, there will be more time for our students to spend time with the children in the orphanage. They will hopefully be able to stay out of the blazing sun and perhaps become more acclimatized to the heat of Java. Everyone has been impressed with the warmth of the people – not just of the climate – and the incredible beauty of their surroundings.  This is clearly an amazing opportunity for each of these fortunate students!

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Batik bedspread made using a stamping pattern

 

 

 

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One Comment on “Indonesia Update #2”

  1. Barbara Says:

    It’s so wonderful to get these updates. I love seeing the photos.


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