Posted by: joan49 | December 31, 2011

Traditions and Vacation Time

Hope everyone enjoyed  the Christmas holidays or whatever respective traditions you and your family might follow this time of

Decorated church at the village Bulak Monga

year.  Here, people  readied for Christmas, and it’s so nice to be living somewhere people actually decorate for and sing Christmas carols!  There are some differences though…most homes don’t have Christmas trees because they can’t afford them.  They make decorations out of colored paper and banana leaves, and most gifts are in the form of specially made cookies or other types of food.  Did you know cookies can be made from combining flour made from ground sweet potatoes, dried bananas and cane sugar?  All the churches did their big Christmas services last week, with songs and choirs singing and skits/dramas, just like in the states, but here most services lasted a staggering 4-6 hours.  Literally, they start at 8pm and can go until 2am…I find that amazing given that it’s the same story being told each year…After the first few hours I’m ready to just go home, and wait until next year to catch the second half…

On the 21st I’ll be going to Padang by boat, and then catching another boat to Siberut, the most northern island in the Mentawai chain.  Siberut is still very culturally intact and traditional with most people still practicing animists, and still wearing loincloths while living in primitive homes in the jungle, etc.  I’ll spend a little over two weeks jungle trekking to some of the more remote villages, but also enjoying their supposedly beautiful beaches. I’ve never been there because it’s a 20-hour boat trip from Sikakap, but have heard the stories and it sounds impressive.  Siberut is also where the world’s smallest monkey can be found – the only place in the world, as a matter of fact. I’ve seen pictures and its tiny enough to sit in the palm of one’s hand…Two Indonesian friends from another local NGO here invited me to go with them there to spend Christmas and New Years.   One is Buddhist, the other Muslim, so neither were bothered by being far from family, or planning to go back to their respective hometowns for the holidays the way all my friends from CFK are planning to do.  Instead we decided a 3-week holiday is the perfect time to go exploring.

I’m not taking my computer at all since I’ll be in the jungle for most of the time and have no idea if Siberut even has internet access anywhere, but I’ll be thinking of you all and wishing peace, joy, love, and a very Merry Christmas.  I’ll let you know how it all went at this end of the planet when I get back, if you let me know how it went at yours.  Until then, love to you all, and see you next year…



  1. Don’t forget you bug spray ! Ha! Hope you find the tiny monkies…they sound so cute!

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