A few of you have asked about what Indonesia looks like because it can be difficult to imagine what a third-world jungle country is like. What makes it beautiful? What makes it difficult? Well, for your viewing pleasure we have compiled a few photos of every day life, every day scenes here in Salatiga. We hope you enjoy!
These are two different banana trees in our yard. The first bunch of bananas will be cut down soon and sold by our neighbor/landlord at the warung (little store) out of his house. They are a larger kind of banana that is commonly used for pisang goreng (fried bananas). The second picture is how bananas grow. After the tree reaches maturity (5-6 months from a small shoot in the ground to 10-15 feet high), it will send out a purple, pointy stalk that “blooms” combs of bananas. A petal of the purple shoot falls off and reveals a comb of about 8-10 banana flowers. Usually a bunch of bananas will grow for about 2-3 months. My neighbor will cut down the bunch and usually the tree as well. This makes room for a new banana tree to grow. Each tree only produces one bunch of bananas. The trees are filled with water. When my neighbor cuts off branches to feed to his goats, the cut where the leaf drips water. It is an amazing plant!
Adelina and I took a trip downtown to get a few photos. Here is a woman selling flowers to be used for a funeral. She sits all day and separates petals from one another as she hopes to sell enough to make money for everyday living. Most Indonesians do not have any form of retirement. They also tend to work as long as they have the energy to work.
Sepeda motor (scooters) are the most common form of transportation here in Indonesia. They literally line the streets from downtown even to the kampung (neighborhood). Everyone from 10 year-old boys to the elderly ride these machines. Many people do not wear helmets because they either can’t afford one or they just don’t want to. They aren’t as concerned about what may happen tomorrow. I interviewed one of our teachers at school and she explained, “If a person is alive, then they are alive. When they are dead, then they are dead.” It is a very fatalistic culture, especially with the lower class.
Work can be hard to come by. One of my neighbors just told me that he lost his job a few weeks ago. He was working at a factory but something happened with the budget for the job he was helping with. The factory ended up closing down and he lost his job. These men may have work and they have just finished for the day, or maybe they are taking a break between driving the bicycle pedi-cabs up and down the streets.
Here are some of the men who drive the pedi-cabs for a living. They may make around $1.50 for a ride, maybe a bit more if the trip is longer. The bicycles have a single gear so they have to push it up the hills. There is a massive handbrake that reminds me of an old-fashioned brake for a train. This is obviously not a very busy time of day for them.
Behind the pedi-cabs is a station for the dokars. These men (and horses) work most of the day pulling people around. They can obviously fit a little bit more people/stuff in them for a ride around town. We took a ride around the downtown area for a little less than $2.00. Quite of few of these drivers and their horses live in our neighborhood. Some put bells on the carriage and it sounds a little like Santa Claus as his sleigh on some mornings.
Here is one of the local warungs (shops) that are owned by many people in Indonesia. They will buy things at bigger stores and sell them for a few pennies more. They usually have dish soap, laundry soap, small candies, sugar, instant coffee, cigarettes, and other daily goods. She is wearing a head covering because this is traditional and more formal attire for Muslims in Indonesia.
These girls were coming out of a small garage near the pasar (open air market). I don’t know if they live here or if they just accompany their mother on her errands. Most Indonesian children go to school from 7:30 am – 12:00 pm 6 days a week. Then, they come home and play or help their parents with chores.
These two women have just done a bit of shopping at the pasar and are returning home. This man has to push them before he reaches the main road. I don’t know but I would assume these women are going to resell the bananas or make a lot of fried bananas to sell.
This is the fruit pasar. Each fruit has its season and I am hoping that mango season is coming soon! We can get many of the same fruits as in the US but you have to wait for the right season. We also get a number of fruits that I had never even heard of until moving here. There is a Durian fruit which has a very distinct smell and flavor. It takes some getting used to, both flavor and texture. Jessica and I thought the taste was similar to chicken fajitas. There is snake fruit which looks like an overgrown, brown strawberry. The skin is tough and, once peeled, reveals a soft white fruit that our kids loves. There is the mangosteen which is a favorite with me and Jess. It is a purple fruit that opens up to sweet slices, kind of like an orange, but with a huge seed inside. I am amazed that there are so many new fruits that we never see in the US.
Fish anyone? These dried fish are seasoned with salt and a few local spices. I have yet to try them. Everyone loves to have their picture taken in Indo! These men are cooking bakso (a grey mystery meat-ball) with mie (noodles) and random fried treats. And, here is the best sate in Salatiga. They have an amazing peanut sauce to go with marinated chicken or beef on a stick! 10 sticks and rice for $1.50. This is just a fun picture to show a little bit of the chaos on the streets as well as an example of how much stuff they can fit on a sepeda motor. If you can tie it down and keep your balance you are good to go! A dokar on the street. A rule of the road is “Whoever is in front has the right of way.” This is called the Pancasila. It is kind of the like the town square where large gatherings and celebrations take place. The largest Masjid (little Mosque) is here along with two churches. All of the religious groups gather here on their special holidays. There is some trash clean-up in the city! That is a good thing. Bridge repair right next to our school. This bridge was partially knocked out by a flood a few years back. The only protection for us is a few bamboo sticks!
We are coming out of the wet season and the wind has picked up in the afternoons. The local kids love to fly homemade kites. They even fight them in the air and try to cut one another’s strings. The person who finds the kite gets to keep it! I told you these Indonesians are resourceful! This woman, our neighbor, makes homemade juice cocktails that are good for your health! You pay about 25 cents for a small glass of fruit juice and spices. Some are sweet and some are salty! Many people burn their trash/leaves. You will pretty much encounter a couple burning piles of trash every day. This particular pile is right in our backyard, which makes playing outside a little difficult. They do this because most of their trash is a paper-product/leaves, though plastic is also burned. It is a cheap way to get rid of trash and they didn’t used to have a trash dump. They also see the smoke as a good way to keep the mosquitos away.These are two of the neighbor kids who love to play at our house. They are playing with plastic bottles at their house in this picture. It has been great getting to know the neighborhood kids when they come play at our house!
We hope you have enjoyed this little tour of Salatiga and our everyday life! God bless.