Energy of the youth

We are now in the town of Yogyakarta and have seen a 2,000 year old Buddhist and Hindu temple.  But wait, let me back track a little and tell you about our final day in Cianjur.

Our last day began with Ega and Hendri taking us out to a traditional market in Cianjur.  We walked around the noisy and sometimes smelly market on account of the fish and chickens being sold.  The market was huge and continued inside to its cavernous recesses, where live chickens, electronics, fruits, and all manner of items were being sold.  As we emerged into the sunlight, we picked up some coconut cakes to sample and add some quick energy to our journey.  As luck would have it, earlier our day had begun with Yudi informing us that the school that we were to visit wasn't possible on account of the teacher coming down with an illness and thus canceling our much enthused trip.  As I followed Ega and crossed the street, we came face-to-face with a group of smiling, loud, and enthusiastic kids.  Yes, serendipitously we had stumbled upon a school and the children couldn't be happier to see a bunch of disoriented, smiling ear-to-ear foreigners.

Outside the school gate, we shouted greetings, shook hands, and took pictures of the friendly mob gathered all around us.  As the din of the noise reached an ear drum shattering timpani, Ega motioned us to come inside.  Upon entering the school yard, hundreds upon hundreds of the most angel faced kids followed us around like a magnet to filling.  Surrounded by such child like trust, innocence, and love, the smiles came naturally and we were shuttering away like fools and the kids and us ate it all up.  Through the parting of the crowd, a stern but motherly teacher emerged and asked if we wanted a tour of the school.  We nodded in unison like idiots and were taken from classroom to classroom ranging in grades from 1-6.  The children filled with cheer and merriment would ask the obvious questions, such as where we had come from and what our hobbies were?  The older kids were slightly more settled and the teacher had them raise hands, come to the front of the class, and ask questions.  I am sure that if the energy of the youth can be successfully captured and piped through a grid that you could power several city blocks.  I lost track but I think it was 3rd grade that a student confidently asked us to write our names on the whiteboard (Facebook purposes), we obliged and before even realizing, a line had formed behind us with eager beaming faces with notebooks in hand, pens and pencils at the ready, asking for our signatures.  We signed every single one of the 40 or so school journals and wrote silly things like "We love Indonesia", "We are from America", and of course drew the obligatory smiley faces.

Sabeen suggested that the kids stand and perform the national anthem, which they did with all the vigor and enthusiasm expected of children proud of their country, eager to please their teachers, and impress upon us their standings.  We were led out of the class so studies could once again resume.  Walking again through the courtyard, there were children on the balconies, around the corner, and at every available space wishing us cheer and waving like mad.  The kids escorted us out to the world of grown-ups, honking horns, and street hawkers. 

We returned back to Yudi's place to catch up on emails and return to our senses.  Hendri, the boy who was with us earlier, had requested the night before that we come to his house as Muslim guests from America.  After performing the Maghreb prayer, Hendri came by the house and we walked for 5 mins to his house.  We arrived at the footsteps of his house, immaculately clean like most Indonesian homes to meet his mother and yes again more kids, this time sitting on the floor reciting the Quran.  We met Hendri's grandmother of 18 children, 9 of which live in the area.  The family was extremely kind and extended an offer to spend a night at their home, which we graciously declined on our account of catching a 5 AM taxi to Bandung followed by a 8 AM train to Yogyakarta.

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