While I was planning my trip to Asia I knew that I would have one extra day in Indonesia. I talked with the Compassion office and arranged to meet Galuh, a Leadership Development Program student sponsored by one of my friends. Galuh lives and attends a University in a town a few hours away from the capital, so plans were made for her to fly to the city, spend the day with me, then fly home that same night. I later learned that not only was it her first flight, but it was also the first time that she had been to the capital city!
On the day of the visit one of the Compassion hosts came and picked me up from my hotel, while the other host picked up Galuh from the airport. Both cars headed here:
The Monas Monument.
This huge monument in the middle of the city of Jakarta was built to honor the independence and the history of the nation. (For more info click HERE)
We met down in the entryway and walked through the long, underground passage to get to the base of the monument. Inside the massive base is a cool, dimly lit room with display cases showing the history of Indonesia. We walked past all the exhibits, looking at the dioramas and reading about the people and events of the past.
I had known from talking with my friend that Galuh was studying English Literature at her university and that she wrote very well in English. As we walked around the museum we slowly got to know each other. Galuh was nervous about using spoken English, but with some prompting from the hosts we shared stories.
One of the things she told me was the story of Kartini, an Indonesian woman who was instrumental in gaining the right for women to have an education. Galuh said that while she was growing up the school children always celebrated a special day in her honor. She and her friends would go to school dressed up either in the traditional clothing, like Kartini herself had worn, or in a costume that represented the profession they wanted to have when they grew up.
Once we made it around the museum, we went up on top of the platform. We wanted to ride the elevator that took people to the very top of the monument.
That meant waiting in a VERY long line…
While we waited I pulled out the photo album that Galuh’s sponsor had sent.
She enjoyed seeing all of the photos and getting to know them all a little better.
At the front of the line we stopped and admired the intricately carved wooden doors. Apparently Galuh’s father also does this kind of work.
Finally we made it all the way to the top.
The view was incredible!
After spending some time at the top we headed back to the car and went to a traditional Indonesian restaurant for lunch.
Galuh got soup and a fruit juice…
And I ordered beef stew and a chocolate avocado smoothie.
Galuh had a gift for me to take home to her sponsor
And she also had a gift for me.
When we finished eating we went to a nearby mall to look at some of the traditional Indonesian batiks and hand crafts. Galuh’s dad makes this type of shadow puppets and uses them to tell the traditional stories. Each character has a name and a story, but Galuh said that she cannot remember them all : )
Before long it was time to head back to the airport so that Galuh and I could catch our flights. While we drove through the congested streets of Jakarta I got to give Galuh the letter and gifts that her sponsor had sent along for her.
She was so excited to see each item but she was probably most excited about the gift that was not even there. I got to tell her that her sponsor was sending a donation through Compassion so that she could get her very own laptop!
We got to the airport a little early, so we sat to have coffee, and talk a little more. Finally though, it was time for Galuh to go through security and catch her flight. We gave each other a big hug and I promised to share all of the photos and videos with her sponsor.
A few minutes later it was time for me to go through those same doors. I said goodbye to ChooChoo and Tira, my translators and hosts for my time in Indonesia, and we took one final photo. They had done an amazing job of coordinating the visit, translating, and taking lots of pictures. My time with Uli and Galuh would not have been possible without their help.