INDONESIA, JUNE 2002

Date: 
19/06/2002
Country: 
INDONESIA

19 June 2002
I am now in Jogykarta; time always flies when I am here.

27 June 2002
I am my way back with a stopover in Brussels travelling by Singapore Airlines. Last weekend was dominated by Fifi’s wedding; the bride is Bu Lie’s daughter. It was a tremendous party. I was given formal Indonesian clothes to wear. On Saturday afternoon there was a formal flower bath to Fifi. Flowers and water were poured over her very formally, also a bit of hair was cut and mixed with the hair from her bridegroom and buried in the garden. This is traditional. On Saturday evening there was a party where the family of the groom visited the family of the bride with lots of presents beautifully wrapped and given very formally. Members of the two families were also formally introduced. Sunday was the big day with the formal ceremony in the mosque at 10 am, it lasted until about 12 but I had to leave for a farm visit at 11 o’clock. Then again in the evening in Gadjah Mada main hall. It was a fantastic wedding with about 900 family friends invited. In the evening I was dressed up in the Indonesian outfit, in fact I looked much more Indonesian than many of my Indonesian friends who were dressed in Western clothes.!

I went on three visits to carry out interviews, all very interesting and new, with the farmers. First in Kwarasan they have a local bank system organized mainly by women. Loans are given from a village on a 20% interest charge and the interest is used to support communal activities such as weddings, burials and hospital care. What an excellent system. I could not improve on that. I told them that I could not improve on it, just allow me to tell other people about it. Another system I saw was the collections of plants, particularly water hyacinth, for  the making of baskets. The stems of the water hyacinths are dried and sold to other local industries. In fact this time I bought about 25 handbags to take home made from the water hyacinth stems. Tintin took me to the local place where they were made. Another system was growing vegetables on the beach, it was a bit like West Jutland – sandy with windbreaks. The system of water supply was ingenious. There was also a separate irrigation system with small hand dug holes at regular intervals for watering.

The last night I spent at Prembanan Restaurant, it is just a wonderful place and so cheap. Where else in the world could you possibly have a meal at that price in such an environment – I do not know.