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Home / Stories from the field

Indonesia in the spring of 2002 by TIM YOUNG

2003-11-17 23:34:51

I went to Indonesia in the spring of 2002 to work with a group there. I was expecting the normal hazards of International travel, but failed to take into consideration the season. Due to a number of issues, they were in the middle of one of the biggest floods to hit Jakarta, which put a damper on my consulting.

I was flooded out of two different houses, one of them I had to carry my luggage out of the flooded area through waist-deep water for about two miles.

In one of the houses, we managed to keep our DSL connection active even though there was six inches deep of water in the bottom floor of the house. We had some happy hours computing while the flood tormented upon us. But all good things came to an end.

As I bounced from one house to the other, there was one cultural issue that proved to be more problematic than most. My hosts insisted upon doing my laundry. The laundry never dried, and so they insisted upon sending me my laundry once it was finished. I quickly dropped down to just having two sets of clean clothing. One time they sent a bag of clean, but wet clothes with me as they sent me to the office for a brief interlude before they found a new location for me. The office boy demanded I give him the damp clothes, which he proceeded to hang all over the office to dry them. Most of that load, of course, was underwear. Hospitality means different things to different people, I suppose.

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