Jantine and I have arrived in Medan. I prepare now for going Back to the Villages. It feels like a race against the clock. While still in Holland, I cut pages out of a volume of a desk copy of Legacy bearing pictures of weavers. In Jakarta, I began the task of laminating those pages. Upon arriving in Medan, I completed the task. I could have done that in Europe, too, but it would have been at more than 6 times the price.
An efficient little shop in Kampung Kling in Medan is making the four stamps that I need to prepare the books. A young Chinese woman used the computer software CoralDraw and laser technology. It was my luck to stumble upon her and we took turns at the computer so that I could edit the English but I confess to a touch of guilt in going with this option. Most stamp-makers are installed in little stalls on the side of the road and they make the stamps by hand. Aren’t I celebrating handicraft with this project? And can’t we attribute the decline of craft to the crush of time, among other things?
So far, my search for a good plastic envelope for the books has yielded only Tupperware-type cake-boxes. They might do the trick! These, too, are relatively inexpensive here and provide good protection for the books. I will keep looking for viable options.
Yesterday, we took a quick trip to Gunung Leuser at the Orangutang Rehabilitation project. During our guided walk through the jungle, we saw a rehabilitated old Person of the Forest (translation of the Indonesian “Orang Utan”) named Ucok. A huge fellow, we were frightened as he brachiated very close to us and watched us from close by. I used up my camera battery taking endless photographs of him. A gibbon swung in the trees further away. Later, a mother Forest Person, carrying her child, stole my water bottle and fed the water to her baby! She loved theatre and did it more to ape me than out of thirst! More than 15 years after being freed in the jungle, she still loved to visit human areas to swipe bananas.
The peace and beauty of the jungle were good for the soul. I was glad that I did not let my 'To Do' list dissuade me from taking this trip to the jungle. But it is now 6 in the morning and my 'To Do' list before departure to Berastagi is still very long. Till the next report!
See Back to the Villages - the map!