Orphans and Bule's

Jakarta Travel Blog

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I was able to join a regular playgroup of a bule yayasan (NGO of expatriates) yesterday. It was my first experience with a yayasan and with orphans, it was truly an eye opener.

I saw an ANZA (Australian and New Zealand Association) link here and decided to contact the coordinator. So I ended up in this expat area in the South of Jakarta where their main office is located.

I first struggled getting to the location, adamant to take public transport for minimum cost. A lengthy walk in the heat after getting lost in a busy area. The expats all assumed I had my own transport or took a taxi, the secret is mine alone. I however maximized the cardio.

I barely had anything in common with the bule's. All mommies, all whites, mostly well off expats. Talking about their previous and current pregnancies, their kids, and the adoption process. I refused to feel out of place. Knowing other people's lives and experiences are always interesting for me. As long as we had the most important thing in common: Love for the Orphans, I was definitely not out of the scence.

The ANZA home base was really nice. A small pool out back, a huge garden with a variety of playstuff in front, a nice cafe, half a dozen cozy tables and chairs for hanging out and meetings, and most of all -- tons of second hand, cheap English magazines and novels!!! What a goldmine!

The action started with 2 kids I played with at the sandbox, which quickly became a hit, and before I knew it, the entire group was there to play.

Next was changing them into swim trunks for the kiddie pools. Doing my best to remain dry at this part, I obligingly played ball with the hyperactive kids. The swimming was coupled with eating Oreos, I believe it can become quite tasty after dipping it into the pool water first, what a revelation!

After the swimming was changing them back to their clothes, coloring time on the play tables, more playtime on the bicycles and cars, and lunch time.

Not being very good with names, the kids that struck me the most were:

1. Mara who had a Siamese twin explaining the stitches on her stomach and with her twin being preferably chosen by the mum.

2. Adi was a hyperactive kid who loved playing ball, have me lift him in and out the pool and was very affectionate. He was, as Liane, the former coordinator, explained that the kid used to be on drugs to help calm him and was zombie-like for a time, I could not imagine.

3. The first kid I played with (obviously forgot the name), needed to have colostomy and had a part of his organ protruding from his stomach but is just waiting for the right age to be operated as he already had a willing financier.

4. Raquel is the newly adopted of Bee, one of the volunteers. She is blind on both eyes and is the oldest of the group at 6. I find out that the adoption process is quite tedious. She goes crazy in the pool as soon as she jumps in.

5. The last is a shy little boy who with the help of his Mba (helper) successfully finishes off his nasi goreng not without difficulty, with a spoon. Hurrah!


The experience made me focus on the innocence and exuberance of the kids going gaga over the play stuff amidst their current plight. When in comparison, we as adults tend to focus on our current situation more than our blessings. We definitely have a lot to learn from them.
yheleen says:
you're doing a noble job there.. proud of you ;)
Posted on: Dec 21, 2009
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photo by: cicie