We Visit a Jakarta Kampung

Today was the day that we headed off to visit the kampung that Jason and Laura lived in before they moved to Bandung to attend the language school there.  Our friend, Lina,who went to Lombok with us, was having us over for lunch.  She lives in this kampung as well as friends from the Netherlands, Hans and Rietje.  They were back in Europe visiting family so I wasn’t able to meet them but did get to see the home that they live in.   Laura and Jason also wanted to spend some time visiting their former neighbors, whom they hadn’t seen in  a couple months.

We took a taxi to the general area and walked into the kampung.  We hadn’t gotten very far when we began to hear cries of “Mika, Mika.”  Little Mika is quite the celebrity in the kampung.  She was a real favorite when the kids lived there and she is still one popular baby.  The neighborhood children spotted her first and came running.  They remembered their manners though.  They all came up to me first and clasped my hand and then brought it to their foreheads, a gesture of respect.  Then they clustered around Mika, touching her little face, which is like our equivalent of pinching a child’s cheek to say they are so cute.

Hans and Rietje’s neighbor came out of her house and greeted us all warmly and invited us into her home.  She graciously brought us cold drinks and set out a tin of biscuits (cookies) as well as snack crackers.  We sat on the floor (having shed our shoes at the door) and the little children were all clustered in the doorway.  Periodically this lovely lady would shoo the children outside but soon they would be coming in once more.  They were just enchanted by Mika and watching us all.

Lina arrived to gently extract us and bring us along to her home so we said our good-byes and continued through the kampung.  Oh, my……I would be SO lost if I had to try to find my way to Lina’s house.  There were so many twists and turns.  Jason wanted to know if I wanted to go by the Dengue House, as they call the first house they had rented (where Laura caught Dengue Fever) but I told him “no” because really, I had to watch where I was walking so carefully to avoid twisting an ankle or falling in a sewage channel that I wouldn’t have been able to really look up and see much unless we were just standing still.

We met one more group of neighbors before arriving at Lina’s home.  This was a mother of about my age and her two daughters and their young children.  Yuni, the one daughter, spoke some English and was just delightful.  The children (really, all the children I met) are beautiful children…..so lovely, or in the case of the boys, very handsome young fellows.  The adults remarked how Mika had lost weight since they had last seen her.  Mika is definitely more wiry than the other babies near her age.  One person remarked as we passed, “Such blue eyes.”

Lina’s house has a living room, a kitchen area with a squatty potty area off the kitchen and steps going upstairs where there are two bedrooms.  The living room actually had a little sofa which was heaven since I didn’t have to sit on the floor.  Lina had a gentleman in the neighborhood make a special screen door and a screen to go over her window for her to help keep the mosquitoes out.  What a smart idea. 

The whole time we were visiting, neighborhood children clustered outside the door, calling to Mika.  She had her own little fan club.  They were all trying to entice her to come over to the door.  Their faces would be pressed to the screen as they waited to catch a glimpse of Mika.

We had a nice meal of a chicken pasta salad with vegetables prepared by Lina and even had ice cream for dessert.  What a great treat!

After dinner, Lina started washing the dishes and then Jason took over.  Apparently you do them in the squatty potty area.  I told Lina that I’d help with the dishes as long as I didn’t have to set foot in the squatty potty room.  In fact, I stopped drinking my juice early on in my meal once I realized that if I had to go to the bathroom, the squatty potty was going to be it.  No thanks!  I’d hold out until I got back to the apartment. 
So I became the designated dish dryer.

Jason put the clean dishes in a tub and set them on the potty room stoop.  I took the tub and brought it over to the work table where I dried the dishes.  It was a workable system.

I peeked upstairs so that I could see where Lina sleeps.  I told her that it wasn’t that different from climbing up into the haymow of our old barn on the farm.  The big difference was that there was no hay up there and I didn’t have to worry about falling through the floor.  There were also no chickens up there although Lina said that this could probably be arranged, if I really wanted to feel at home.

We headed home in the early afternoon.  Jason and Laura (and probably Mika) will be heading back there early this coming week to spend more time visiting with their neighbors before we head back to Bandung. 
I’m glad that I had the chance to see where they had been living and to meet some of the people they’ve been blogging about.  Their neighbors were very gracious and welcoming.  Hopefully this little tour of the kampung has given you a better idea of the area the kids have been living in while in Jakarta as well.

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Hot Flashed Funk

  • Thank you for the tour. I’m with you on the squatty potty thing and dishes. I so enjoyed reading about the children and their greetings and touching her little face.

  • doing dishes in a squatty potty room just doesn’t seem right!

    The children are so cute! I love the photo of them reaching out to touch Mika’s face.

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