Published: July 3rd 2012July 3rd 2012
Day 3 -what a huge day! A 5.30 start this morning at the Kartini school - a school set up by two amazing women to provide an education for some of the poorest children in Jakarta. We were overwhelmed by the generous welcome and hospitality provided by the staff, students and parents when we arrived. We walked through some very impoverished areas to reach the school; passing through slums and even small patches of land wedged between what seemed to be makeshift shanty type homes. The tiny patches of land were used for crops - with the farmers working this land by hand only. The watering of the crops was done from two large watering cans slung across shoulders with the water released as the farmer walked the length of the field. Families living in the area mostly lived in one room - with just a curtain dividing the small space into sleeping quarters. All water came from a community well - used for drinking water, cooking, cleaning and sometimes peeing!
The school was a large shed situated next to a train line that two philanthropic women have bought and use for providing and education to the children of this slum area. The room is divided by low barriers into kinder, early childhood, primary and secondary groups. Many of the mums attend with the little children. Despite the extreme poverty these people are living in, every student was wide eyed and smiling, some meeting westerners for the first time. As is tradition, when I shook the hands of tiny students, they shook my hand and then bowed their head to touch my hand as a sign of respect.
As a group, we delivered koala toys to every student and donated funds to assist in the running of this very special place. The children loved looking at the photo album of my school in Tasmania, Brooks High School, and were particularly excited to see that we had "pantai sekola" a beach at school - our school's surf carnival was featured!
Following our morning at the school, we headed to Batavia Square, the heart of the Dutch business community when the Dutch ruled Indonesia. We had morning tea at the reknowned Batavia Cafe before heading to the Jakarta Post, the largest English Language newspaper in Indonesia. Our Bahasa Indonesia language skills have been improving at the rate of knots and have been welcomed by the local people we have met with.
I'm heading off for a swim at our hotel pool - it's been 35 degrees again today with a very polluted and hazy sky - very typical of this Asian megalopolis.