Taste of Lombok life

from Wingham Chronicle, 21 Feb, 2012.. Original at http://www.winghamchronicle.com.au/news/local/news/general/taste-of-lombok-life/2462570.aspx

WINGHAM High School teacher, Jim Rourke, has experienced life in Indonesia after staying on the island of Lombok for the month of January as part of a language scholarship.

Jim travelled to Lombok on December 31 for a three week intensive language course run by the University of Mataram in conjunction with the University of New England, where he is studying by correspondence.

The trip was funded by an Asian Language Training Scholarship, which is a component of the NSW strategic plan to implement the National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program (NALSSP). The NALSSP seeks to increase opportunities for school students to become familiar with the languages and cultures of Australia’s Asian neighbours.

Jim attended university five days a week as an accredited part of his course. After class he visited local schools and orphanages. He is in the initial stage of establishing a sister school relationship between Wingham High School and a senior high school in Mataram, the capital of Lombok. He also began learning Anklung, a traditional Indonesian musical instrument made of bamboo.

The majority of Lombok’s population is Muslim and one of the features of life was hearing the call to prayer ringing from the surrounding mosques, five times a day starting at 4.30 each morning.

“At sunset I would go onto the roof of the house where I was living, and listen to the beautiful sound of the Muezzins’ calls,” Jim said.

Jim commented on how friendly the locals were.

“It was fantastic to learn what friendly, warm-hearted people they were. Just walking down the street people would ask you to sit down and chat with them,” he said.

A highlight was visiting a magnificent waterfall at the base of Mount Rinjani, Indonesia’s second largest peak and an active volcano.

Jim lived with the family of the deputy governor of Lombok, along with another Australian couple.

He explained that he went with limited knowledge of the language and culture and by the end of his stay, he was confidently chatting to locals.

“As a teacher, it was an invaluable experience. I will now be able to convey so much about this amazing language and culture to my students.”

Return to Indonesian Studies Newsletter Issue 64                             Return to Lombok program website