Our third day was the most memorable day in my head. It was the day when we were given the chance to realize how blessed we were, how thankful we should have been, how blissful it is to be warmly welcomed by the children.
The night before, we were chilling out on the deck of our boat, playing cards, chatting, joking, randomly singing, and laughing like there was no tomorrow. Putu, who has just came up to the deck, warned us to be careful as there were some people on kayak seemed to ask for something. Being alert, she did not even bother them. About half hour later, I went down to the bedroom and found the people were still there. They were calling me. “Are those the same people that Putu refer to?” I tried to be alert as well. However, my curiosity was bigger than my alertness and I approached them instead.
The so called people happened to be three children living at the village in Komodo Island. They rode small boat to approach ours. It was dark and they did not even bring light (maybe their eyes were as keen as Legolas’ :p).
“Sister, would you please give us some pens?” the oldest being frank.
“Pardon? You come to our boat just to ask for PENS?” I couldn’t help but being stunned.
“Yes. We need pens for our school. Do you have some that we can use?” he explained eagerly.
“In that case, would you please introduce yourself and your brothers first?” I demanded.
The oldest boy told me their names. If not mistaken, his name was Abdul. But thanks to my short term memory loss, I forget the name of the other two. Abdul was on 6th grade of madrasah ibtidaiyah (elementary school based on Islamic teaching). The younger ones were on 4th and 1st grade. And yes, their only mission that night was to get some pens. I gave them several pens, a mechanic pencil (which was my favorite pencil) and a box of water color pads including a brush with little water container. Their expression was priceless! I hope my gears were in good hands now. I actually also hope that I can see what drawing they make with the water color pads I gave them. But it doesn’t even matter; I went to sleep with warm heart that night.
The next day, we were woken up by the ray of morning sun and smooth breeze. Just a few minutes later, the generator was turned on – our desire to sleep again suddenly evaporated due to the noise. Our itinerary that day was visiting Rinca village. Its main purpose was to give us a preview how it was like to live side by side with komodo. What happened was: we only saw humans in the village and we only met komodo in the forest. So, the purpose was not 100% achieved. But that’s okay. We were welcomed by a bunch of children at the jetty. The names of the boys were Arabic names, e.g., Sulaiman, Ishak, Muhammad, Abdul. Meanwhile, the girls’ names were celebrity names such as Syahrini, Sandra, Laura, etc. Isn’t it amazing how media affect people in giving names to their children? 🙂
Near the jetty, there was a small jewelry shop ran by an old man. He sold pearls, pearl necklaces and bracelets, and bracelets made of the root of pohon bahar (Antiphates Sp). The seller said the bahar bracelet was effective to tackle bad luck and keep our body healthy. I bought one! Not because of what the seller said, but because it looked good. 😀 Based on my research, Antiphates Sp contains Radium (Ra) which is a radioactive that is recently used for gastritis and rheumatic therapy. Well, anyone can confirm this?
We passed through the mangrove forest which would be covered by sea water when the tide was up. Before the forest, there were schools and students playing nearby the beach. They greeted us cheerfully. Some of the little boys were shy when we approached them. Though we live in the same country, the development is totally different. It is good that they are able to be close with nature compared to us. They can breathe fresher air with lots less of pollution. They can learn how to swim and even dive near their homes. On the other side, the schools there were very simple and seemed insufficient to support further education. Medication was also quite rare. Surprisingly, they know more of learning than we do. The rangers were really good in English though they did not learn it from school.
We then climbed up the hill in Rinca village to witness the cave. It was the smelliest cave I have ever got in! We could smell the bats’ urine from afar. In the hole up high, there were a bunch of bats sleeping. (Hopefully our coming did not disturb them :(). The cave’s floor was also full of bats’ turds! No wonder it was super smelly. As we could not hold our breath anymore, we proceeded to get out of the cave.
Inhaling fresh air outside the cave was such a blessing. We marched to the savanna nearby the edge of the hill. The sky was bright and blue. The wind flowed through. We sat there long enough to be thankful for the experience we got. I played the yellow-and-black millepede until it wrinkled into circle and scared Arini with it. It was cute, how come she got scared of innocent little thing, right? 😛
After enjoying the view our heart out, we were forced to go back to the jetty. Some of us bought water at the warung. Some even decided to have early lunch by buying nasi bungkus which was said to be simply delicious. The children came to us again, trying to talk and joke with us.
Only ten minutes later our guide called us to come aboard so we can sail to our next destination spot. We walked on the partly broken bridge to our boat. The children guided us. One of the little girls held my hand as if I was about to fall.
Just few steps away later, another little girl asked me: “Can I hold your hand too?” It felt awkward since I don’t really like children, but who can reject such request? 🙂
From our boat, we waved our hands to those lovely children. And what did the children do? They wave to us too. The boys jumped to the sea over and over again to cheer us up. They did that until we were too far to see them. (eff)