There are so many more stories about the school, and I fully intend to write about them in the near future, but I do want to start writing about events from the second week. 🙂
After a very teary, sad departure from the school, we rushed over to the Wisma to get our stuff out and hop on the big bus. Checkout time was somewhere around noon; we arrived back at the Wisma about ten minutes before our checkout time. However, thanks to our relationship with Nikki and his wonderful staff, we were able to ask for a little extra time to clean up if necessary and finish packing up our things.
We still had to rush. Even though Joanna and I woke up extra early that morning to get the majority of our things packed, we were still searching for time. At last, after a buzzing twenty-five minutes, all our bags and backpacks and team were on the bus and off we went.
The next stop was a mall in Jakarta. When the bus drivers were told the location of where we wanted to go, they said “But that’s in….J-j-j-jakarta!” Okay, maybe not like that…but they obviously did not want to go through Jakarta.
Ken and Linda told us it was because traffic is TERRIBLE in Jakarta. The team was like, “Heh…how bad can it be?” One person was like “It can’t be worse than Seattle traffic.”
Once we got out of the suburbs and into the city…we found out why the drivers didn’t want to go through the city.
Yes, it was WAY worse than Seattle traffic.
Bumper to bumper, mirror to mirror buses, cars, and vans. Then, squeeze in as many motorcycles and scooters and rickshaws as you can possibly fit. You’ve seen gridlock in the States? That’s NOTHING compared to Jakarta gridlock.
After a couple hours we made it to the mall. We were split into three groups, each with two girls and one guy; in these groups we HAD to stay together no matter what. Half the time, the three groups ran into each other, so we were often one big group. The mall was eleven levels high, with a different category on each level. At the very tippity top were the Indonesian cultural items, where most of us spent our time looking for gifts and souvenirs.
I shopped with Ashley and Jesse. Poor Jesse. Ashley and I were SO stressed the entire time we had to shop, because we had a long list of people to buy gifts for. We felt so bad for Jesse who had to follow us around. I wanted to buy him like twelve Cokes after the shopping extravaganza.
Once our time was up, we stopped for dinner at..wait for it. Good ol’ McDonalds! While I loved the Indonesian food, don’t get me wrong, it was great to have a little taste of home in a big not-so-good-for-you Big Mac. 🙂
We piled back into the bus for a little ride through Jakarta. It took only three hours. We arrived at the home of a lady named Ibu Ayun and her family. They had furnished a couple rooms for groups coming through, and were in the process of building an add-on to their house to put up even more people. The bags were all put in the rooms and then we had a team meeting to decide where we’d go for our fun day.
1. The beach as planned. Total travel time, at least 6 hours round trip, leaving only 2 hours for swimming. We’d also have to rent a bus.
2. A different beach which was closer. Total travel time, at least 4 hours, and the beach was not suitable for swimming.
3. Staying local and going to a cultural museum and then a swimming pool. Total travel time, around 2 hours, and we wouldn’t need a bus.
After talking it out, we decided to do the cultural museum called TangMini and then go swimming later in the afternoon.
The next morning, we received an invitation to go to the orphanage in the afternoon and see the kids. It worked out perfectly, because the orphanage was right next to the swimming pool, so we could do one right after the other. After breakfast, we set out for TangMini in two separate cars, and that is when the series of unfortunate events started to unravel.
About ten minutes into the drive, one of the cars got a flat tire. Not a big deal, just an inconvenience. It gets fixed and we move on.
As we’re approaching the area of the TangMini, our driver refuses to listen to the directions given and ends up driving onto a highway going the wrong direction. It was a little frustrating, because there were signs all around showing the way to go, and yet they were ignored and we ended up getting lost.
While the driver is trying to find his way back into familiar territory, we lose sight of the second van. We don’t know where they are. They don’t know where we are. There’s only one cellphone between the two vans. We pull over to the side of the road for a few minutes trying to figure out if they were behind us and if they’d caught up. Thankfully, they were just up the street looking for us.
Nobody’s complaining, but the whole “detour” had taken a good half-hour to an hour of time, and the situation was completely avoidable.
We unload and start exploring the museum together. The heat was beating down ridiculously and we were all pretty drained from the eventful car ride. Even though the museum was very interesting, we ended up spending only a couple hours because everyone was extremely tired, both physically and mentally.
Next stop: the orphanage. They were SO happy to see us. Due to some miscommunication, they had been expecting us for the past two days and when we didn’t show up, they began to think we weren’t coming. The delight in their faces when we did come was ecstatic. We spent about an hour getting to know the kids a little bit (more names) and we did a lot of songs together. They taught us some of their songs and we taught them some of ours. It was great. Everyone agreed that spending time at the orphanage beat out the leisure part of the day.
Ministry > everything.
We still wanted to go to the pool; it was still our fun day and it was really hot out. After about an hour and a half, we walked down to the pool. Unexpectedly, but awesomely, the kids from the orphanage came too. We paid for their admission and we were able to continue getting to know the kids while having an immense amount of fun as well.
At the end of the day, Ashley and I were talking and came to the conclusion that ministry was so much more satisfying. Shopping and doing touristy things was fun, no doubt, but it gave off a different aura than spending time with the kids did. Those couple extra hours with the kids that day helped so much, in retrospect. If we hadn’t started building relationships then, we would have showed up at the orphanage the next morning as complete strangers. We probably would have struggled to connect when we did our program and it would have been harder. But we had a relationship budding and we were able to come the next morning knowing names and faces. It was the start of something great!