Friday, February 18, 2011

Swimming in the Sangkhalia

Last Saturday I went with the kids to go swimming in the Sangkhalia river. About 40-50 of us loaded into the back of the "bus" (really just a pick up with railing along the sides) and set off on the 20 minute drive to the river. On the way there, with a child on each knee, I contemplated the fact that I wasn't at all bothered by the closeness, the heat, and the filth. I've come a long ways from home I guess.

The river was a refreshing treat after the long read in the back of the truck. Most of the kids immediately stripped down to their underwear and hopped right in--some didn't even keep that much clothing on. There were several smaller boys running around completely naked. I was a little more conservative and decided to wade in fully clothed. It felt amazing! The first time I've actually submersed myself in water since being at home. I just sat down in the middle of a shallow portion of the water and soaked it all in.

I was intriguing to notice the ways in which the people used the river. There were several people that waded out with bars of soap and, only partly clothed, washed themselves thoroughly as if no one else were around. About half an hour after we arrived, the kids scattered to opposite banks in order to avoid the pick-up that came barreling in. The driver got out of the car and commenced using the river as his own personal car wash.

The girls thought it was fun to put mud make-up on Amber, Helen and I. Haha...I didn't expect it to feel so good to have someone rub mud on my face. On the left is a picture of my personal make-up artist, Dok Bwa. Yes, this is the same girl that threw my shoe in the garbage can.

On the way home, we made a quick stop to a monastery to visit the monks' pet monkeys. Haha....I never noticed how ironic that is. Monks with MONKeys.....giggle. Anyway, it was kind of cool to see monkeys so close. The kids fed them pieces of orange and couple even got the monkeys to come sit on their shoulders. Kind of dirty little creatures....don't think I'd like one as a pet.


  1. I'm glad you had fun in the river. Indonesia cured me of my liking for monkeys--dirty, little thieving things!

  2. What were those huts? And how many trucks do you see that are that nice?

    Perhaps one of the problems with zoos is that we are able to see animals in a man-made habitat and we don't get to find out things like their thievery habits or their lack of cleanliness. I've heard that they can't swim because they are so densely muscled--perhaps we should give them credit for coming up with social grooming... :)