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It is with a broad smile that we wake up this morning.
The last week was dense in emotion. First of all the boat’s engine was able to start with the help of an Indonesian mechanic. YES! Emptying! This old tagazou has started again after four years of inactivity, it turns like a clock.
During the week, as expected, we went to sleep with the locals. The Muslim family of Ima has welcomed us as princesses in their humble abode.
Equality between the sexes is very marked in Indonesia; The men cook, wash linen, take care of the children. Often both parents work. Everyone is a believer, the Muslim community is the most popular on Batam and generally in Indonesia. The different religions cohabit simply and the reception is the same everywhere, people are curious about us. We try to explain to them that we are atheists and unmarried, it seems to us that it is not always obvious to understand for them.
Each island has its own culture. On Batam we are in Melayu land (traditional dialect), with its special culinary specialties and rituals.
On the first evening, friends of Ima came from Java to organize a feast that will take place at school the next day. The international company they work for has made a donation to create a library and improve student learning conditions. They came to France last May and are looking at us differently, as if the European fantasy had gone out in their eyes.
The day after that first night, Ima, an English teacher, rises at five in the morning to go to school.
She informed us that the high school was on another island, but we did not expect to take a taxi boat which will take us to a confetti island, Palau de Buluh.
It is the first time that such architectures have been discovered: all the houses are on stilts, built between mangroves and supporters of wooden piole plunged in the water with, at their feet, boats for vehicles.
Landing and curious welcome on the remote island of Buluh. Everyone looks at us as if we were coming from another planet, which is more or less the case !
Arrival at the high school of 187 students from the islands around. The students point the finger at us and laugh, it is the beginning of an interminable strafing of photos that will last two days. We pose as stars with young people, teachers and locals. Technology compels, anyone has a camera on their phone and is subscribed to the internet. We have never been so photographed. Our heads must circulate on Indonesian social networks, and say that all this comes from a mini floating land lost in the middle of nowhere.
Unfortunately this island is stuffed with plastic and is surrounded by a huge maritime industrial complex. Pollution is one of the major problems here, it is a disastrous spectacle that we witness every day, the sea and the land are full of this plastic dirt.
But today, at the “SMA NEGERI 11 Batam” high school, places great preparations for the feast of tomorrow. Ima gathers all the students in the yard and, with a microphone, announces the procedure to follow, then presents us as “special guests”, artists, acrobats, from France, living on a boat to make a project Of circus on the waves. The crowd cheered. We become quite red with the idea that the dream of “Sirkus Laut” becomes reality ! The speech ends with the muslim prayer, “Abdulhah” !
Following a day of rehearsal, Iris and Margot learn to play the “Kompang” with the music teacher, Bilal. It is a traditional drum that rhythms dances. Laura makes sketches and collaborates with Firman, the graphic design teacher who will color the drawings on the computer. A small demo of balance by Margot under the astonished gaze of the students.
During this day we also met a fisherman who invited us to have tea in his house hanging above the water. Very nice meeting with a native of the island.
The next day, rebelote, lift 5h and direction Buluh. The ceremony passes very quickly, punctuated by dance, speeches, and traditional rituals.
It is an official event, the mayor of the island is present, the boss of the company, the imame! It was Ima who organized everything. During the morning we are invited to appear before the students, so we inform the young people about our project and activities. First scenario before an audience. We convey our ideals and our way of viewing life through the artistic project “Sirkus laut”. The students listened intently and asked us a lot of questions.
It is a strong experience that we experienced, we are welcome on this islands and at school, any proposal is possible and the project takes more and more shape.
As soon as we return to Aeleutheria, the missions matos resume. We think we go to Malaysia for fairness. We also have to go to Singapore to buy a lot of things. We are not bored at Batam in the crushing heat.