16 July 2012

The End of a Chapter

This will be our last post. We've finally come to the end of our Indonesian adventure and boy had it been amazing. Looking back at our blog posts, we seem to highlight exciting bits like our travel and initial reactions to living in Jakarta. In fact, it's probably the routine of everyday life, my work and my friends that I'll miss the most. I've been enriched and privileged to work with Komnas Perempuan and now know so much more about issues of human rights in Indonesia and the important role the commission plays in being a bridge between the Indonesian people, the government and the international community. I've been pleasantly surprised at the amount of respect placed on the commission by UN bodies and at how hard my colleagues work. I'm sad that despite their urgings I cannot stay on another year. I've learnt at least two new skills from my time here: professional translation and juggling. Bring on the next chapter of being a dad!

It’s suprising how after a while you can feel settled almost anywhere. We love our jobs and the people we work with and are sad that we are leaving. We’re used to commuting to work in rickety and unroadworthy busses. We are just beginning to become more involved at church and we will dearly miss all our good friends here. Not only that we’ll miss our little hamster Bakrie who is forbidden forever from entering Australia. Poor thing!


Nat and I arrived in Jakarta over a year ago and without a clue where places were or how long it would take to get somewhere in the infamous Jakarta traffic. Somehow we managed to work Jakarta out. It took a while. I would say a good three months before we started to feel like we knew where we were going.

Since working with Sahabat Anak my eyes have been opened to another world of urban poverty and the effects of poor education. There are too many people in Jakarta who fly under the radar. They have no birth records and live in illegal housing. In the Indonesian Government's eyes they are a nuisance and are ignored. Punks, street kids, prostitutes, beggars, garbage collectors, recyclers, corner shops and little eateries line the streets of Jakarta. These people all fall into the marginalized and unrecognized urban poor of Jakarta. They survive because the informal economy is alive and well in Jakarta (and actually across all of Indonesia). However, as Indonesia continues to rapidly develop these marginalized communities are getting seriously left behind. They live in a city that cannot provide them with running water, sanitation and electricity. While their next door neighbours live in mansions with all the luxuries of any first world family, they continue to live in third-world poverty. The divide between rich and poor in Indonesia is stark and something needs to be done.

I admire my colleagues and the volunteers at Sahabat Anak. They are a bunch of people who come from an array of different backgrounds who all agree that street kids are important individuals who deserve to be treated as equals! That is they should be able to access education, clean water and a safe environment to live in. Sahabat Anak will continue to fight for the rights of Jakarta’s street children and despite the obstacles they face, such as an ineffective government that cannot register births or get children through school, they will continue to fight so that one day Indonesia’s children will not have to beg and busk on the streets to survive.

It is a tough world out there. And I have learnt that for those of us who have such privileged lives (myself included) need to ask what can I be doing to help those who have been dealt a bad hand in life.

We thought we'd leave you with some photos taken throughout our time here that don't really fit in anywhere else but that warranted a snap anyway. Hopefully some of them make you smile.

The first Indonesian Human Rights Assembly, organised by Komnas  Perempuan in December 2011
Indonesians actually playing cricket

A busway explosion in central Jakarta

A truck full of "semen" in Kalimantan
The most popular meal at McDonalds in Indonesia: rice and fried chicken
Indonesian fish and chips (ordered at a hotel in Flores)
Butchering an Australian icon
Lost in translation
If only Indonesians got sarcasm

Representing Australia in the World Cup Soccer Sixes. We actually won two matches!

Playing footy with the Jakarta Bintangs
Workers at Kupang airport sitting under our plane smoking 
No comment
Dubbed "Old Man's Anus"by some of the volunteers, this local wine in  Bali was actually quite nice
Rubbish bins on the street.
Translation: Wet waste, dry waste, chemical waste. Wait, did you say  "CHEMICAL WASTE"?
Best cafe ever. Too bad it closed down. Once when we ordered ice-cream, I discovered our receipts referred to our table simply as "Bule", the derogatory term for white person. 
Candice at work

At my desk with Rere.
With Yanti and Irene at a Komnas Perempuan event
Speaking at an AusAID event during International Women's Day 

Sampai jumpa, Indonesia. Izin pamit dulu ya!


  1. "Keep cleaning" is hilarious!! LOL and OMG at the magnum cafe receipt -__-
    Miss you guys!! send a kiss to the little piggie in Candice's belly ;)

    1. Thanks Tash, have fun in the States!!