Monday, June 23, 2008

Books for Hope

A.K.A my trip to Padang, Indonesia.

A little background, this trip is sponsored by my sister who is currently working in Jakarta, Indonesia. It's supposed to be a Pilot Project in Padang where a group of volunteers (incl. myself) will be heading towards villages 5 hours from the town of Padang to set up a library for the children in those kampung.

More information can be found at Books For Hope

Anyway, my flight is on Friday morning (20 June) and a crazy friend of mine, Miss Ooi Jin Ann, told me on Wednesday night that she wanted to go there with me! I thought she was kidding at first, cause it's like a decision right on the spot but apparently, it's not. She's the kind of person who loves to contribute to the community and of course, a great friend of mine. Am very glad that she tagged along; at least, I have someone a company in a foreign place.


So, we departed from LCCT and reached Padang on Friday morning. My sister only arrives in the evening, so she contacted a friend of her brother's (Robby) to take us around. I must really thank Robby. He doesn't know my sister personally but he actually took the entire day off to drive me and Jin Ann around Padang, and treating every meal that he brings us too! We wanted to pay but he really insisted on paying.

Oh, we also had a very bad experience the moment we step foot on Indonesia ground. The immigration of Indonesia is so corrupted. We wrote in our embarkation card that we are staying in a friend's place and left the address empty as we didn't know where the house is. So, the immigration people made a BIG DEAL out of it and even brought us to the customs office. It was quite hard to communicate as they spoke Bahasa Indonesia whereas we speak Bahasa Malaysia. So, I had to go out to get Robby to come in to the office to settle the problem and to provide an address. Robby then told me that these ppl normally wanted money. Anyway, he came in and provided the necessary information. After talking for another 15min or so, he went off leaving me and Jin Ann with them. When he was about to chop our passports, he asked us for 100 000 rupiah each as a gurantee that everything will be OK! 100000 rupiah each?!?! It'll be like RM50 for the both of us. Anyway, Jin Ann and I acted dumb as if we didn't understand what he was saying with the language barrier and all. In the end, after making 3-4 attempts, he gave up and redirected us to another officer. Talked our way through and managed to 'escape' without paying a single cent. hehe.. Oh, and during my absence while I was getting Robby in, the officers actually tried to flirt with Jin Ann and even asked for her email address!!

Apart from that, everything was great in Indonesia. While waiting for my sis to arrive in Padang, we went to different places and explored the town area.

Among the type of food that we ate are:

Beef Satay
Beef Satay

the famous Nasi Padang
Famous Nasi Padang

Ice Durian
Ice Durian

The buildings there are very unique. They all have the Minangkabau-style roof tops.
The Minangkabau-style Rooftop

The main public transportation there are minivan and each minivan has its own colour and pattern

They even have "horse-cycles"
Kereta Kuda

The group of people that came with my sister are really nice and friendly. Jin Ann and I expected the worst to be in the rural area and it turns out not bad at all. We had proper meals, proper place to stay and very good company.

The group of volunteers while having Nasi Padang for dinner
the Books for Hope Group

Our entire group went to 2 villages in North of Sumatera; Sawah Mudik and Taming Julu.

The first village we went is Sawah Mudik
Sawah Mudik

We prepared small little lessons for them.

Teach them the types of occupation;
Occupation Class

Colouring classes;
Colouring class

Essay Writing;
Essay Writing - My Ambition

Story telling
Story telling

It was raining cats and dogs when we were about to leave.
Raining heavily

Because the terrain is not a proper road, we were stuck at the village... It was way past lunch time and all of us were hungry.....

We were so glad that the rain has stopped. Went to our campsite nearby and feasted happily.
Lunch break

Had very nice chicken curry
Chicken Curry


Played with their pet monkey

And it's off to the 2nd village in Taming Julu.
This village is more well prepared for our arrival.

They built a library just to accommodate the books that we are going to donate
Library created by the villagers

Even prepared a forum-like discussion for us.
Forum-like discussion

The stuff that we did are the same as the ones in Sawah Mudik
Colors of World's Occupation

Essays written by children

The kind of books that we have donated are very good books
Books that are donated out

It's all for the benefit of the children. It's great to see happy faces around you..
Happy Children

Oh, and there's also their common toilet. It's actually open air and doorless! lolz
Common Toilet

We managed to finish the 2 villages in one day (initial plan was 2 days for 2 villages)
So, the following day, we toured around...

Ate durian
Feasting on durian!!

Went to some river nearby and fed fishes
River Side

Picked papayas at a papaya plantation

Spent the last night in a hotel sponsored by my sis.

They even serves us a welcome drink upon checking in
Welcome drink

Overall, it was a very fun trip! Was worth going there. Thanks Grace!

Books for Hope Corner

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