Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Part Two

Part Two, as promised.
Not having enough...
Today as I rode comfortably in the back of a Mercedes taxi to the airport, I saw a woman wading into the filth and garbage of a river bordering the toll road. It took me by surprise. She was naked and in full view of passing vehicles, but most shocking was the idea of her bathing in this contaminated water. She will make herself sick! I wondered, does she have any other option for bathing? Would she even be aware of the health risk? Does she have access to a clean water source? I don't know.
This glimpse of the river bather brought to mind another recent shock when a friend of mine here in Jakarta mentioned to me that she has no hot water system in her home. My friend knows the risks of river bathing, of course, and her family of 6 doesn't have to - they have options for showering, but they these options don't include hot water.
Next thought? A typical scenario in my own Perth home - that annoying experience when the person who showers before you 'takes' all the hot water! That's my understanding of "not having enough". My only shower shock is when someone turns on the tap and the shower stream suddenly runs cold! - another first world example of not having enough! What a relative concept!

The following photos were taken in a fishing village slum called Luar Batang near the Sunda Kelapa port.
After the fun and reasonable thrill of the water taxi ride, we rocked up to this. I don't have a lot of commentary. Just have a close look.

I honestly thought, "I don't want to get out of this boat!" (what I do not know cannot hurt me)
Everything is dumped into the river. It is their garbage disposal.

It is also where residents wash and do their laundry.

Fish drying on a rooftop. Is this people food or pet food or both?

This kitten, no bigger than a brick, was quite ill-looking.

The children though, were so beautiful. Wait until you see their smiles further down the posting track!

Someone clever should develop a scratch and sniff app for photographs. Without the smells (and the sounds) of this environment, these photos are incomplete.
Truly, the residents of Luar Batang do not seem to have enough. Our guide, is from this community. He grew up here, he lives here now. He has an education, he speaks 3 languages, he freelances with the Indonesian Heritage Society, so I tell myself that there must be some opportunity to rise above this kind of situation and succeed??? Convincing myself like this seems to help me cope with what I am seeing in some way.
Living in Jakarta, this is now my back yard, so to speak. I really don't know what to make of it, or what to do. A very inadequate response is to hope, that the next time I am tempted to feel hard-done-by, I will remember this experience and put my "need" into perspective. As my sister Kathy says, "tell yourself 'I have enough!' ".

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