The days at TORP are unfortunately coming to an end and to celebrate our time here, the village kindly invited us to lunch. Before attending, the students took the time to learn how to build water filters for the villagers using simple items such as sand, stone, charcoal, fibrous material and tile. These items are used to make the water less acidic and filter out any harmful particles. The morning of we gathered our supplies and headed off on a 20 minute walk to the village. Once we arrived we were greeted by music and smiling faces ready to get to work. Before we began building we had a small educational workshop on water safety which the locals were highly interactive with. We discussed how to properly purify water and signs that the water is potable.
We were split up into small groups that integrated both Indonesians and Americans. Although we lacked verbal communication, we were able to communicate with one another with non-verbal cues. What amazed me the most as we were building was the work ethic of young girl and an elderly woman, whom everyone called Grandma. Both were quick to gather supplies and keep moving no matter the circumstances. Towards the end when it was time to move the water filters, both the elderly woman and the young girl without help attempted to move the containers, despite the fact that they weighed over thirty pounds. Their independence and determination astounded me.
We celebrated the completion of the water filters with a large lunch. At this point, I have been struggling with getting accustomed with the food since most of it has been spicy, which is my least favorite flavor. However I was blessed with a variant feast which included chicken that made my mouth water. I took advantage of this opportunity and savored every bite of my plate. After lunch we split into small groups in which people played volleyball, others learned traditional dancing and some received temporary dayak tattoos. I played volleyball but then decided to interact more with the children watching us play. The girls loved playing with my hair because it was curly which they were unused to. As they french braided my hair, they kept referring to it as princess hair due to the bouncy curls. The girls were unbelievably sweet which made me wish I had interacted with them more during my time there.
As the day came to an end I gave the children gifts which included pens, pencils, sharpeners, erasers and candy that I brought from home. I was glad that the kids appreciated these gifts, but I smiled as to how surprised they were that the fuzzy pencils existed. Their wide eyes and large smiles brought back nostalgia of when I was a child and had the same reaction. Their cheerfulness with such simple things made me incredibly happy but also left me desiring the same simplicity in life.