Friday, February 12, 2016

Papuan Perspective

Kuala Kencana, Papua, Indonesia

Kuala Kencana, Papua, Indonesia  is our latest port of call. We have been here for a few months now. It is a remote, surreal, fascinating and challenging part of the world.  Recently, our school had an outing to a local Papuan School. The excursion provided much needed perspective on life here. We live in a purpose built town, erected by the American mining company its inhabitants are all here to serve in one capacity or another. Our school is one of the most well-resourced schools I have ever worked for on the international circuit. We just don't have many students.

The Papuan school we visited was one example of what the mining company for which I work does for community outreach. The school is funded by the company and the children who attend come from various tribes in both the lowlands and the highlands of Papua. They all board there and so once they go to the school they will not see much of their families again. The students ranged in age from kindergarten to high school. They slept in bunk rooms with as many as 20 per room. The rooms for housing and learning were clean and simple but well equipped enough for learning to take place. The children welcomed us a bit coyly but seemed eager and proud to show us their school.

The hope is that our school and their school can begin a meaningful exchange over the course of the school year.  Watching my daughter interact with the Papuan students made all the stress, sweat, loneliness and tears of the past months fade a bit. She declared that this was the best day yet since we moved to Papua in October ( there have been many sad days).  It was the happiest I have seen her. An hour into the visit she had a new best friend named Fani.   I know she won't remember all the trips and adventures of her childhood but I hope that somewhere in her soul she will hold that feeling she had this day--that is the excitement of overcoming linguistic and cultural barriers and finding a new friend. After all, this is why we live this nomadic life.

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