These girls, and the boy in the background, all attend a school that is run by the Bala Keselamatan (Salvation Army). They are a few of the more than 2000 students who attend the school in Palu, Sulawesi. It is a remarkable school, but what’s more remarkable are the students.
Beautiful, curious, enthusiastic, and energetic, their stories will inspire and break hearts. Many of them do not live with their parents. The reason? Their parents know that an education is important, but living in rural Palu with little means to a good education has left parents with one option – send their children to Palu to live and learn. Many of these children rarely see their parents.
They choose an education over family. That is a choice I’m glad I don’t have to make.
…to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. ”
So said Mark Twain, and I agree. I think that there are other agents for the fatality of negative human attributes, like education and education. And I should be clear – some people can travel the world looking for McDonald’s restaurants and Macy’s stores and Holiday Inn hotels. They can avoid all the culture and ethnicity and find North America everywhere they go, complaining that no one speaks English. Sadly, I’ve been around some of those people as I’ve traveled around South Asia.
I’ve also had the pleasure of traveling with and around people who are looking for a better understanding of the world and its people. It may be, though, that it’s the attitude of the traveler that will determine whether prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness are fatally eradicated. Mark Twain, from what I’ve read, seemed to be the kind of man who was willing to challenge himself as well as others. Some people, sad people, do not have any desire to upend their tiny understanding of the world.
Before I moved to Indonesia, I had seen photos of South Asian families riding on motorcycles. The whole family. Parents, kids, babies with groceries, backpacks and whatever else all packed on what we, in Canada, referred to as a scooter. Some little 125cc Honda.
Then I got here and witnessed it for myself. One part of me is excited at the prospect of getting a motorcycle and riding around Jakarta streets. The parent in me has little, maybe no, interest at getting my kids on my bike and riding with me.
How does the saying go? When in Rome? or Jakarta?
I know it was Mother’s Day today, but I saw this Father/Son duo and couldn’t help but snap the photo.
While I waited for my daughter to get out of class a couple of days ago, I noticed this sign on the driveway of her school. I also noticed the sports car in the background. I know that it is a sports car and not a bus because it is small, silver, and has a spoiler on the back of it. I rode the school bus when I was a kid and know that a bus is huge, yellow, and does not (unless it’s in a demolition derby or some kind of school bus version of a Formula One style race) have a spoiler. My deductive reasoning skills tell me that this car is out of place.
It is also out of place not just because someone is breaking the rules but because someone at my daughter’s school drives a sports car at all. Most teachers do not drive sports cars. The obvious reason is economics, given our current rough times. The less obvious reason is that most teachers I know are sensible, reasonable people who would see little need in driving a car with more horsepower and performance capability than they could or would ever use. We’re practical people, us teachers. Sports cars aren’t practical. And…oh…I just figured it out.
This car must belong to a parent. Never mind.
Pentax K20D; Pentax M SMC 50mm; f1.7; ISO 100; 1/640 sec.