Indonesia is free! During the annual Independence celebrations, this is the usual greeting. The people celebrate with parades and national songs … and above all, with all sorts of competitive activities. A nine-member German outreach team with Norbert Knöll and Michael and Kerstin Peiker arrived right on time to join the celebrations at the school children’s hostel in Sanggau.
The guests had prepared a big variety of sports events and games, but also various seminars for the Indonesian teenagers, dealing with ‘self-acceptance’ and ‘social media and the internet.’ The high-point of our “Olympic Games”, both for the locals and the visitors, was undoubtedly a typically Indonesian competition. Panjam Pinang involves teams attempting to climb a smooth, greasy tree-trunk, forming some kind of human pyramid in order to grab a prize located over five meters above ground.
Towards the end of their stay, the German team visited various villages where the Nehemia Team has been supporting local Christian fellowships. Typical for Indonesia, the adventure began with a last-minute change of plans. Instead of heading straight for the first kampung (village), they went for a night to Sintang (a regional town) where a high-ranking political leader for the region invited them for a meal and to stay in a hotel overnight. The development of this region lies very much on this man’s heart, both as a Christian leader and as a politician. He sees the many challenges that the Dayak people are facing because of the rapid cultural and economic changes that are happening. His invitation reflects the value he places on the long-term involvement that the Nehemia Team has had in West Kalimantan.