Tuesday evening, 3 September, was one of the highlights of our journey. Through Suarasama, the makers of our film's music, we were invited to meet a group of Batak men and women who are planning to present ende2 (Batak songs) in Tiara Hotel on 21 September. We have now been invited to exhibit Stephanie Belfrage’s textiles and our film and books on the same evening. It will be an evening strongly connected to I.L. Nommensen, who made the first Batak Christian songbook. Our film, of course, was only possible because he invited Guru Sinangga ni Adji to commit his oral text to paper. If our first event of Pulang Kampung III, in Jakarta, was with Suarasama on the stage of Taman Mini, our last event will be with them as well, in Medan. How deeply satisfying.
|Green Garden Restaurant, Medan where we met with the organizers of the Buku Ende musical performance planned for 21 September.
(Photograph by MJA Nashir)
|(Photograph by MJA Nashir)
On the way to the dinner party, I received a phone call from the office of the Bupati (Regent) of Samosir telling me that a boat had been reserved for our purposes. That evening we floated and sailed among new friends interested in Batak culture and history. We finally have our Boat Budaya. For months I have wondered through what channels the boat would finally be realized.
I am excited. Later today, we will board it in Tiga Ras, a bay on the east side of Lake Toba, once the location of one of the great Batak markets. (I cannot hear the name Tiga Ras without immediately thinking of Sitor Situmorang who first told me about the great Batak markets, and also the first time I visited with Pak Sidauruk and his wife, way back in 1980.) We will make every effort to first visit Febrina’s tulang near Merek, then pick up Lasma in Simalungun, and then descend to the shores of The Great Lake to see our Boat Budaya. This morning, at breakfast, I received a text message letting me know the mobile number of the Boat Budaya’s skipper.