October commemorates the uniting of Indonesia under one coming language, Bahasa Indonesia. SPH helps the students celebrate their country through this month (Bulan Bahasa = language month), and all of the work put in culminates in a show on October 31.
For the weeks leading up to the event, kids (and teachers!) practice for dramas, choir and band performances, poem and spelling bee competitions, song translating, and traditional dances. The entire senior school and many of the junior school students gather together for a few hours. It really was a cool celebration of the incredible culture and history of this country!
This year, I participated as a dancer. My group learned “tari saman”, a dance native to the people of Aceh, Sumatra. It focuses on being compact and in sync, representing manners, religion, education, and togetherness.
The version that we performed consisted of six (difficult!) clapping patterns, many of them differing from person to person to create a connected and flowing effect. The day of the dance, I arrived at school at 6:20 a.m. to have the stylists fix me up with the traditional make-up and costume. The funny part: I had to teach in the get-up for the day! They dismissed my anxiousness about this, telling me that “The kids would pay really good attention.” I was also informed that I looked like “a Barbie made in Indonesia.” 🙂
The students were not quite as fond of my new look. Throughout the morning I was told that I looked like a witch and clown. One girl commented that “The make up looks kind of normal on the Indonesians, but you just look like a freak.” Endless love from these kids, I’m telling you.