Friday, September 28, 2012

Waiting for Lasma

It is a beautiful day in Yogyakarta. I am staying in the home of Mas Ipong for one day to work on our exhibition about Jasper and Pirngadie. Mas Ipong (Pang Warman) is the designer of the exhibition and the catalogue. Spread out in front of me there is a scene that looks like a Mas Pirngadie painting. The sun is setting and the sky is blue and pink. Two stalwart figures are walking  through the rice field carrying hefty loads of hay on their heads. With the sun gone, it has become cool enough for such arduous labour.  The air is teeming with sounds: the mesjids are calling to prayer and the frogs and crickets are vying with them for attention.

I sit on the front step of the house with my camera beside me. I am hoping to capture the moment of Lasma Sitanggang's arrival. As soon as she arrives, our trip will begin in earnest. Yes, it is finally happening; she is truly on her way, and I am so excited. I am sitting on pins and needles.

I wrote about Lasma in a blog last year. She was the bright, young Simalungun girl who wanted to perpetuate the knowledge of her ancestors. But she is pretty much alone in her struggle. Other people of her age are intent on getting another kind of education. I feel an urgent need to help her. The future of the Simalungun weaving arts depends on people like her. But how to assist?

The answer came as I was preparing for the current journey to Indonesia. I always feel so privileged to be able visit interesting people in Indonesia. I learn so much and feel enriched. But it is wasted unless I do something with it. I decided that it would be a good plan to share this current journey with Lasma.  She would have the opportunity to broaden her understanding of her own culture, her position in the world and the options available to her. She would meet interesting people who could help her develop her vision, people on whom she might be able to rely in the future. Nashir stood firmly by me in this decision and even took it upon himself to handle all of the logistics so that Lasma would be able to get from Sumatra to Java. And now it is finally happening. They just called me from the airport and I await their arrival.

Hopefully it will not be too long before I add a photograph of her to this blog.

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