Ten Chairo Christian School Senior School students from the Drouin Campus and two from the Pakenham Campus flew out on Sunday 21 August for Jakarta, Indonesia. Though the flight was long, it was enjoyable because of our excitement for Indonesia and good food … and because of the screens on the back of the seats.
When we landed, we were taken by bus to a hotel for the night. The following day we had some cultural experiences with traditional games and cooking activities. Afterwards, we travelled to an international private school, SPH (Sekolah Pelita Harapan), where we would stay for four nights.
SPH has an outdoor pool, where we played many games of water polo and escaped the 30 degree heat with 95 percent humidity. During the day, we attended various classes, learning more of the language, making new friends and growing academically. Every morning at the dormitories we had devotions, which were presented by both staff members and students. On the Thursday, we travelled to a local school to teach the students some English. While this aspect of the trip could have been improved in some areas, the experience, as a whole, was very enjoyable due to their excellent hospitality.
Over the first weekend, we stayed with an Indonesian family. They were all very hospitable, welcoming and kind. They also introduced us to more of the Indonesian language and cultural experience. Following the weekend, we returned to the SPH dormitories. During one memorable afternoon, we played a water polo game, with team Australia versus team Indonesia and the Rest of the World, because there were some Koreans, Canadians and Americans playing, too. Fortunately, team Australia won narrowly, 34 to 33!
After we said our goodbyes to the people at SPH, we flew to Jogjakarta, the old capital of Indonesia. We visited Prambanan and Borobudur, ancient Hindu and Buddhist temples. On the second day, we had the opportunity to visit an authentic Javanese village, eat traditional dishes while sitting on the floor, hand-draw our own Batik clothes, and learn how to play Gamelan (traditional musical instruments) … and we topped off our cultural immersion by learning a Javanese dance!
We then went to a local market to barter, getting many great deals as we performed our best bargaining skills in Bahasa. During our last day in Jogjakarta, we swam and relaxed at our hotel and then prepared for the flight home. We flew home via Jakarta, arriving at 8.00 am on Sunday 4 September.
Throughout the trip, we all learned more about the Indonesian culture and language, were challenged by the poverty, and grew closer as a group. We are ever so thankful for the school and our teachers for making this unforgettable trip happen.