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The pregnant umbrella-girl JAKARTA - During rainstorms, children gather at pedestrian bridges, bus stops and other crowded places to be able to rent out their oversized umbrella's to those who rather stay dry then soaking wet before they reach their destination or hop into a taxi without being soaked with rain in a matter of seconds.

One of those children that were waiting was a sixteen year old girl that was waiting for a customer willing to pay 1,000 Rupiah (less than 8 eurocent) for her services on bare feet and a big round belly. She was sixteen because I had asked her. After watching how the game of the running children and rigid Indonesians was played for over half an hour I eventually just asked her.

The girl didn't want her picture taken, something that I didn't find really amazing, but that was not the question I wanted to ask her. Her round belly was a clear sign that she was only months away from having a baby. The 16-year old did not have any other source of income to survive in the city of Jakarta.

Once in a circle, it is very hard to get out of that circle once again and to make something of your life. That is even worse for the Indonesian poor that are kept poor and uneducated on purpose. However the poor are generally just a noise, asking for money, they come in very handy at certain points because it is those poor people that help others providing umbrella's when it is raining.

Children are also used to keep up appearances with the 3-in-1 rules. On office days and between specified times, personal vehicles with less than three persons are not allowed in certain areas. Taking a child on the back-seat of your car is a simple and cheap solution for this matter, however illegal. It is just another small example of the use of a large group of poor in this country.

This girl indeed did some jockey - as this driving along with strangers is called here - work. These short drives of just a few minutes bring in a small tip of several thousand Rupiah in coins or dirty banknotes every time she gets out of the car just outside the 3-in-1 zone, outside the sight of police of course.

She was happy it was raining now, because this work was more fun than just sitting in a car, also because that is illegal and handing over your umbrella to a passer-by is not. She earned more money from doing this at the end. The rainy season only lasts a few months however, and rain often falls for only a short few hours of the day, so she still had to work hard.

So hard that she didn't really have a clue what is going to happen with her when her child is born. She will not be able to work anymore, although she could possibly rent out her newborn baby to another person so that person will receive more donations from road users in the city. She didn't want to beg, as that was below her class, as it seemed, for those that can't do anything or don't want to do anything.

Unfortunately she is not getting rich from it, because she is waiting on the wet iron of the pedestrian bridge on bare feet, playing with her wet black hair to get some water out of it. Several minutes later our short conversation suddenly ends; an Indonesian grabs the umbrella from her hand. Work to do.

Children with umbrella's are at the end of the pedestrian bridge waiting for customers.
Children with umbrella's are at the end of the pedestrian bridge waiting for customers. indahnesia.com



Related blog entry (category 'Culture') Related blog entry (category 'Culture'):
01 December 2009 · The umbrella-kids near the bridge

Related blog entry (category 'Culture') Tags: jakarta, umbrella, children


Posted in Culture @ 03 December 2009 04:14 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





alterity
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Life is tough not only in Jakarta but also in the villages. At least in Jakarta there are many rich people who need the services of the poor.

Alterity



Barfly
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senior
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guna2
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On 04-12-2009 00:22 senior wrote: That's true,but it might be very difficult to start something as "bule"

You can say that again. Now gastronomy is just about my favourite subject, so if you - Barfly, that is - could tell us a little more about your plans, I might be able to help (without giving you much hope, though).



Barfly
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Barfly
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Guna2, sadly i am not able to send you a message. In case you are interested in talking about my project i will be glad to recieve a message from you. Gastronomy talk between two gastro-junkies...;o) Use Mailadress shown above...



guna2
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(Edited) Posted @ 07 December 2009 09:49

I just sent you an E-mail, Barfly. For reasons unknown, I skipped this forum topic a few days. Sorry.

In the meantime, I think you want to set this up as a kind of charity? Correct me if I'm wrong.

If so, I think it has its merits, that is, if you leave out the gastronomy (as we understand it) part. If you teach `poor children' the basics of European cooking, the necessary bit of English, and a few other skills, give them a certificate if they pass a sort of test, I think you can help lots of children to a reasonably good job as a cook for expats. The trouble is, you'll have to do it in a place where lots of those expats live, so that would be Jakarta, Bandung, Surabay, Balikpapan, or Bali. Especially the latter place already gets lot of attention of people who want to `help' (and live under nice circumstances...). Of course, you can set up the school on another island, or in a remote, poor village somewhere, but that automatically implies that those kids will be sent (far) from home. That does not seem to be a problem for most Indonesians, but it would be a problem for me, and you, I suppose.



guna2
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(Edited) Posted @ 07 December 2009 10:07

BTW, I also think think you don't need heaps of money to realise that plan. And if you really want to stick to your gastronomy thing, I suppose you can give an additional course for the top students. Apart from working for expats, they can probably easily find a job as a cook in Western food restaurants, which are becoming increasingly popular in Indonesia. And again, I think it's a pretty good idea, one that shouldn't cost too much money, but can benifit lots of boys and girls. Let's continue to discuss this in the `stealth mode' (via E-mail).



Barfly
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Barfly
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guna2, no mail recieved yet...



guna2
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I'll give it another try, Barfly. I used the E-mail address you mention in your Indahnesia profile.



federico31
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...the Indonesian poor that are kept poor and uneducated on purpose...
I am impressed by this statement, with which, infortunately, I must agree. This is a political problem, headed by the (indispensable but sadly absent) WILL to educate properly. A solution (possibly a unique one) can only be found if we will able to curb our materialism. Barfly's proyect is great, his and many, many others will surely diminish the poverty problem in those areas and during the time their respective organizations work. But I'm afraid that is not enough. Sorry, I don't want to be pessimistic, just trying to be realistic. Have a good day, best regards.-



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Barfly
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(Edited) Posted @ 15 February 2011 19:34





pPamela
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Hi Barfly,

I believe to help in Indonesia you have to start small and build relationships with good honest Indonesians and this only happens over time.
I had my own little weekend mobile English school I paid someone to run for me and it was very successful for 5 yrs. The person who ran it and taught the kids was a good man and we are still friends and in contact.

I am so sad to read you did not have a great time there.
Pamela



Yogya-Bali
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I will not say: Look, I told you! But I add it to the question of why so many people again and again punches their heads in this country without any knowledge of an Asian society and its values. And disregard any advices given by forum members. Is it western stubornness? Or is it universal?




Barfly
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Yogya-Bali
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I gave it up already years ago to advice Westerners: waste of time. Unless they want to listen without having sparkles in their head. But the majority has this fantasy idea of this country. Dream along untill your dream becomes a nightmare. Why reinvent the wheel if it's already been invented.



w0rldtraveller0
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Removed to prevent your adress from being spammed. Click this to go to the user profile.Barfly - I have praise and respect for you. At you least you made an attempt to do something to better/help the people of Indonesia. However, just like anywhere else in world, indonesian people think foreigners are very rich and all they want is your money!!

Removed to prevent your adress from being spammed. Click this to go to the user profile.Yogya-Bali - I agree with your comments of 17/02/11. 100% right!

I can honestly say, hand on heart, there are very very few people in indonesia who can be trusted. Although you read in the press that they are friendly people, which i agree with, they are also very manipulative and greedy. All they want is money, money, money and a good life by marrying a "bule". Then again the "bule" is a fool to marry an indonesian and realise that it was not true love but a way to get out of poverty.......

indonesia is a very beautiful country with great beaches, volcanoes, jungles etc.. but it's ashame about the people....




w0rldtraveller0
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one other point which i missed out on - I was told by an indonesian once that money grows on trees in the western world. If only it did!!!!!!



Barfly
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