Saturday, June 13, 2009

Kum de buc from Bali

Kum de buc is how people say hello in Bali, Indonesia. However, we visited a school for children who can not hear so we said "hello" in sign language. The sign for "Hello" is the same in many languages. We don’t know a lot signs, however we found it easier to communicate by signing than we did in schools where we did not know the local language and the students did not know English. We carry a map of the world and the United States so we can show people where we live. The students were impressed that we traveled so far to see them.

In one of the classes the children were learning how to sew articles that they can sell. In another class they were learning to repair machines. The younger children were attending regular classes. The classes were very small. We arrived as the elementary school was getting out.

Bali is an island in the country of Indonesia. Most of the people in Bali are Hindu. The Balinese Hindu people have an interesting way of naming their children. The first child is called Wayan, the second Made (pronounced Ma-day), the third is Nyoman, and the fourth child is called Ketut. If there are more children then it starts all over again. So we met many "Wayans!" They also have a second name but they don’t have a last name like we do in America. So if we were Balinese Hindu we would be Wayan Annie and Wayan Blue, but our friends would just call us Wayan.

Our hotel offered classes to help visitors learn about Balinese arts. We went to a Balinese dance class. Here we are learning to dance Balinese-style with Mathilde. One night we went to a dance show that told a very old Hindu story called Ramayama. We saw some of the dance movements we learned in our lesson. Ramayama is a love story but also a story of good conquering evil. The music is very cool! The orchestra is made of gong-style instruments of various sizes and xylophone-type instruments called a gamelan.

We also attended a Balinese flower-arranging lesson. We made a little basket of woven coconut palm fronds and then arranged flowers in it. Even though the Balinese people are Hindu, it is practiced a little different that in other Hindu areas. The temples here are not as colorful as in other countries and they don’t have all the statues. But they make offerings to their God everyday in the form of the little baskets we made. We saw the baskets everywhere including in front of stores, under trees, and even on the dash of our taxi. Each morning the offering is put out to keep the bad spirits out and the let the good spirits in. Usually the basket contains flowers, incense, and water.

Bali is a popular tourist destination so there are many hotels with beautiful beaches and plenty of "fun-in-the-sun" things to do. It was very, very hot and humid.