On 24 April 2010, the SOS Children’s Village Lembang participated in the National commemoration of the 55th anniversary of the Asian-African Conference. You may know that in April 1955, when the renowned Conference was held in Bandung, representatives of 29 countries adopted a Declaration on promotion of world peace. Ten boys and girls of SOS Lembang were delighted to be the chosen readers of the 10-point Declaration, at the official celebration held under the theme The Spirit for the Next Generation. Laurel, Esau, Bambang, Reza, Lidia, Michelle, Febi, Sapri, Vio, and Tias did very well and will surely remember that day all their lives, just like the children who played Tatakol music which consisted of djembe percussion and drums, combined with arumba (see below) as well as with discarded objects like metal and plastic barrels, old pots, bottles, and the like. It goes without saying that such a presentation requires imagination, a feeling for music, and perfect collaboration.
Indeed, collaboration is valued highly in Indonesian society and an attitude acquired naturally in many ways at our SOS Villages; from living together in a large family to manifold activities. A story shall illustrate this fact! Nearly since the beginning of SOS Lembang, our children were rehearsing angklung, a bamboo instrument which emits just one note, with each player handling one or more instruments, and arumba, which is angklung combined with xylophone-type bamboo instruments. Of course, children moving up to higher grades requires frequent adaptions, and we often had to start all over again with the next generation of kids. The present group plays quite well. For the past year-and-a half they were often invited to perform on special days, in particular by the authorities of Lembang, as arumba is traditional music of West Java. Now, this year, several Mothers wanted to play arumba, too. They rehearsed when there was time and finally joined the children in the orchestra for Village celebrations. The children are still the better players, but they are proud when their Mums take part; and the main thing is that everybody is having fun!
Good collaboration is also required for gardening. During the past years, the older boys have enjoyed working in the garden. They also visit agricultural research institutes. Under the guidance of an educator experienced in horticulture, they have learnt how to make compost; plant a variety of vegetables, like broccoli, Chinese cabbage, eggplant, peas, chillies, and maize; and to raise an assortment of cactuses. The boys act as a group and often work out their tasks by themselves. Like when they were harvesting red beans some time ago. The boys remembered to put beans aside as seeds for the next planting; however, they did so after shelling the beans – which was the wrong way. Recently, our young gardeners wanted to gather pak choy, a leafy vegetable, and discussed how to go about the job. Will we wash the vegetable right after pulling it out of the ground or cut the roots first? And who will do which work? They made decisions and got into action. The clean pak choy was weighed and tied up in neat bunches. Finally, their harvest was ready for sale! They offered the vegetable from door to door at a fixed price. The SOS mothers were happy to buy the fresh produce, and the boys were happy about the fruits of their labour. After setting money aside for buying seeds and other necessities, the remainder was put into the group’s piggy bank for their next recreation programme. Thus, the teenagers not only learn farming, but also how to conduct small-scale business.
On the occasion of Father’s Day, a Bandung radio station invited two boys, the Village director, and me to a one-hour talk show. The four of us were asked questions about the meaning and realization of fatherhood at our SOS Village. Since the role of the father is a very distinct one here and his presence is clearly felt in daily life, it was easy for the two children to answer the questions spontaneously.
Dear Friends, finally let us thank you for your much appreciated support, resulting in a solid kind of cooperation for the benefit of our children.
Gregor H. Nitihardjo