Sometimes it’s easy for me to forget where I am and take all I have for granted when I’m working from home and trying to find a balance between working and spending enough quality time with Samudra. I take him to as many play dates as I possibly can and make sure he gets out into the sunshine for walks in the morning and afternoon whenever possible so he can run around with kids from the neighbourhood and in the kampungs outside our complex. I also have a beautiful group of friends here with kids who are also expats, so we spend time in lovely homes with lots of toys for the kids, going to the malls and indoor play centres, swimming in water parks and having fun together. So it’s easy to forget that I am in Jakarta and there are millions of people living in poverty all around me who do not have such opportunities as we do.
I used to see it every day before I had Samudra, as I would wander the streets of Jakarta in the heat, attempting to make small talk with my limited Indonesian to the locals and taking photos almost every day, attending ceremonies and witnessing the beautiful culture of Indonesia. I would walk down narrow alleyways in kampungs where people live in such confined spaces and privacy is unheard of.
How life has changed… but thanks to our work and my beautiful husband, I still get to meet beautiful people and help to share their stories with a wider audience so people are aware. We are currently working on a small project for the wonderful Rachel House in Jakarta (I will share more on this in the near future), so we had to make a trip out to Kalibaru, Cilincing, in North Jakarta. It is here that you can glimpse the ‘real Jakarta’ with the long rows of market stalls, bustling streets with loads of people and kids running around, narrow alleyways and a much simpler way of living.
While Putra was filming, Samudra and I had a little wander around and met some local kids and they ran around together kicking balls and playing with Samudra’s animals, and we also walked along the canal before we stopped to watch some men scooping up masses of rubbish that is thrown into the river daily.
Life here is not easy for so many people, but even in the poorest areas, there is such a beautiful sense of community where people will help each other out however they can, and people are always standing around smiling and laughing with their friends… here they may not have the ‘luxuries’ that we take for granted, but there is life.. and so much character on these streets and everyone has their own story to tell… this is the ‘real Jakarta’ and it’s always great to get out amongst it and remember why I fell in love with Jakarta and its people in the first place..