trails & tribulations

by Jakob

I apparently was arrived in onion-season, because almost immediately after my arrival in “Ratna’s place” I was asked to help preparing onions to make them suitable for sale. Actually the onion-work wasn’t too bad, maybe even quite entertaining. I usually did this work with Rudy, the “old man”, as he often was called.

My room was right above the “pig room” and especially in the beginning, I had to get used to it because it often happened that the pigs began to scream in the middle of the night, as if something terrible was happening, this was fortunately not the case but nevertheless I always waked up terrified. The many geckos in the house were also quite noisy, but they didn’t disturb me in my sleep. Fantastic creatures those geckos, they almost make me laugh loudly, because of there spindly fast movements along the walls and their funny heads, they seem to be very aware of the habitat.

The Pigs behind the house

The Pigs behind the house

To compensate my work I got a free room and meals. The basis for the meals consisted mainly of rice.
Three times a day rice I found a little unilateral, so I suggested to Ratna to make pancakes. The amount of batter I had a bit overrated, sin to throw away so I made pancakes for almost the whole village. The pancakes were well appreciated by the villagers and this created almost an obligation to make pancakes every day. I did indeed made pancakes every morning, but not for the whole village.
Only making pancakes is quite boring and with enough flour available, I tried to make a cake with local ingredients, a banana-cake. To my own surprise, the cake tasted great and this was also confirmed by many villagers. So many times I baked a banana-cake.

planted by ..

planted by ..

Making a small contribution with helping the roadworks

I wasn’t only a kitchen princess, also in other ways I enjoy mtself and hopefulle could make muself useful.
Ratna wanted a Christmas tree, but spruces here are fairly scarce, so Ratna came with the idea of an artificial metal tree. To make one turned out to be quite tricky, but ultimately it became a reasanable nice implementation.
And with some pride I have contributed in the making of a new road, although it was a very small contribution.
Many times I have visited the woods behind the house to search for nuts, useful work, because the nuts brought a pretty penny on. My first visit to the forest was a little mistake, because the many mosquitoes all came to me, so next time I go better dressed and armed with anti-mosquito spray.
Ratna had achieved some sprouts and together with Andy (half brother of the permanent staff of Ratna), we placed the sprouts in the woods. Let’s just hope they do well and … how proud can you be, having planted your own tree!

fisherwoman Ratna

Fish was often on the menu, quite logic, because Ratna is a fisherwoman, every morning very early she goes with her canoe on the lake to empty her fishnets.
Preparing the fish seemed quite a challenge for me and after some fumbling in the beginning, it quickly went quite well. Yes, I have get used to kill a fish, but on the other hand I think it’s quite hypocritical if you eat it, but not dare to prepare it and more important … I love a fish, that’s why.

Fortunately I’m not only in the village of Silimalombu, with the scooter Ratna showed me the island of Somosir, something that was sometimes quite exciting because the roads were often not in very good condition. Ratna’s seemed pretty fearless as I maneuvered the scooter on the unpaved, bumpy, strewn with boulders and occasionally dangerous holes, Ratna sat relaxed on the back of the sqooter doing a phone call. Luckily all went well.
After visiting the hot springs, where you can take a hot bath if you like, we closed the day in the village TukTuk. I was surprised, compared to all other villages which I saw TukTuk was very different: lots of restaurants, hotels, guesthouses, often made in Batak style, with fantastic beautiful carvings on the walls, I really was impressed.

Batak houses

Batak houses

Several times we went to Parapat by boat, it was about an hour away, mostly to purchase something from to market. I always found it amusing:during the the cruise there is always music blaring from large speakers, the village of Parapat became quite familiar and just because you have a break

After 3 weeks in Silimalombu I began to feel quite at home. The only thing I missed was perhaps an occasional beer, but hey, maybe the next time, because perhaps I come back, I try the local alcoholic beverage Turuk.
Indonesia is almost over and I will miss this country.

leaving silimalombu by boat

leaving silimalombu by boat

6 thoughts on “Volunteering in Silimalombu, Indonesia

  1. Gerlof says:

    Hoi Jakob,

    Elke keer weer leuk om je avonturen te lezen.
    Veel plezier met oud en nieuw! En natuurlijk veel succes en plezier in 2012!!

    met groet,


    1. jakobuz says:

      Dank je wel Gerlof en natuurlijk eveneens een heel goed 2012!

  2. Walter says:

    weer zeer genoten van je verhalen.


    1. jakob says:

      hey Walter, dank je. ‘k ben weer thuis 🙁 dus het word weer es tijd voor een RZL weekend …alleen het weer, jek.
      btw hoe was Curaçao?

  3. hans says:

    Dag Jakob, ik las zojuist dat je alweer terugbent. Wij zijn weg. Ik moet eerlijk zeggen dat ik (helaas) je niet heb kunnen volgen door de hectische voorbereidingen. Ik kwam je mail met het adres toevallig teggen tussen andere mail. Erg leuk om je beleveb=nissen te lezen.


    1. jakob says:

      hey Hans, doesn’t matter. Heel veel succes en fun in Brazilie, best wel een beetje jaloers eigenlijk 🙂
      Heb je trouwens een facebook-account?

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