SDN Sukarame 2 and SDN Sukamenak 2

Even after 6 years of hard work at two schools the English teacher could not meet the requirement to pay 1650 USD to access the ranks of Indonesian civil service. His salary of 25 USD per month would discourage anyone to do something useful. But not Devy. In only several months time his midschool pupils helped translate not the required four but ten songs from Sundanese into English; not two English ten-minute speeches but four – one of which as a brief play – were presented at this modest school’s temporary stage. And all by heart!

To laud the quality and the quantity of this unique accomplishment through the usual ‘prizes’ seems inadequate. Particularly during the rainy season the road to this school is hardly fit for use – so let’s do something about that. The two laptops and software won by this school will contribute to the realization of the school’s ambition and willpower in cyber space. But on top of this, each of the pupil-speakers must be rewarded an extra 1 million Rups for improvement of the road to the school.

As I take the floor to make this announcement, the entire audience stampedes out of the hall. Am I that boring? To my relief a strong but brief earthquake caused the sudden panic. It sent shivers of painful memories down everyone’s spine. 7.2 on the scale of Richter, but no harm or damage done.

By far the best performance was by Imam, a nine-year-old boy whose father ran away with another woman, and whose mother collapsed under the resulting mess. Too serious for his age and skinny by the diet his grandmother provides, he is slightly confused by the interest showed in him.

The ceremony reconvenes in a light drizzle at the school square. The children all want to be close to us – we form a human ball of wax rolling over the school square.

“Hello, Mr Rio, How Are You Today”. When I enter the hotel in Tasik the receptionist echoes the Sukarame welcome song. It resonates in my head and the melody tells me to include Imam in our circle of protected people. He shall not be alone.

More pictures from Sukarame



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