15 March 2005 -  Aaron

Editors note:  I have been preparing this journal entry as a response to
requests that we all continue to post journal entries from time to time.  My
perspective was to be how Austin and /the US are different from Banda
Aceh, and how I miss those differences.  As I was just about to send this, I
got Eric’s latest journal entry which addresses the same question in his
own way.  Interesting that our approaches to this topic are so similar.  

I’ve been back now from Indonesia a couple of weeks.  I am recovering
well from the surgery-I’ve been doing some “light” weight training, and have
been playing basketball again for the past week, including a 25 point
performance last night (OK, so we are in the 35 and over league here in
Austin, but…I’m still glad to be at close to 100% again).
I remember telling Eddie that the thing that you really miss after going to
Indonesia are the people.  The first time I ever came back from Indonesia,
some 25 years ago, I remember walking along the road in Utah (where I
was born) with my sister Audrey and asking her, “where are all the
people”?  To which she responded, “in their houses, where they live”.  It
just seems strange to not have people everywhere you look.  

This morning I walked outside my home in my quiet Austin Circle C
neighborhood, and missing were the people just walking, riding
motorcycles, busses and cars, peddling wares and trying to survive.  
Where were the overturned cars, burned out from within and discarded by
the side of the road?  Gobs of blue exhaust and open sewers were
nowhere to be found.  There was nobody scavenging through the garbage
with long bamboo tweezers, for cigarette butts…”there’s good, smokeable
tobacco left in most of ‘em”!

Gone are the chess games with Pak Surya and the gang in the prayer
room with our shoes off and sitting on crappy mattresses cross-legged as
we play.  The cigarette smoke burns our eyes and most of the building’s
occupants hang around and kibbitz  (No, I don’t know how to spell it-but it is
the word we always use when someone is coaching or suggesting moves
while playing chess-which is a common thing when playing in Indonesia).  
Of course, since the loser always has to go get the nasi goreng for dinner,
it definitely is a bit irritating when the person you are playing is getting help
from all the buddies in the kampong-and Pak S certainly has the buddies.  

Chess is the same in any language, and a game that I love.  Chess is very
common in Indonesia, and we often ran across people sitting around in
the mosque or in the street playing chess.  I often saw Eddie start a game
with someone in a hotel or on the side of the street, then wipe out the
person who happened to be at the board when we walked up.  After that,
they would get the “local grand master” who, despite a valiant game from
Eddie, would usually beat him.

And what about roadside-music groups?  Despite living in the music
capital of the world, there aren’t many makeshift groups of people
strumming guitars and beating drums while singing Indonesian folk songs
here in Austin….actually, that I have to take back, because Austin has
certainly learned about this beautiful pastime and it is enjoyed everywhere-
except for the Indonesian part.  I am certain that Eric still enjoys these get-
togethers in the evenings.

In Circle C, curiously missing are the food and ware stands… In Banda
Aceh, the stands are everywhere.  Fruit, goathead soup, pirated techno CD’
s, juice, rice of every shape and color, Satay grills, phone cards, and batik
can all be bought within 100 feet of any location.  And why isn’t livestock
walking around everywhere here, foraging though garbage piles for food?

The funny thing is, people in Circle C stay in their homes, they don’t hang
out by the side of the road, and try to sell their neighbors fried rice.  The
streets seem desolate here.

Eddie and I are staying busy and involved in AIRO while in Austin.  He is
gathering information and beginning the process of our filing as a 501 (C)
(3), non-profit corporation.  It looks pretty straight-forward, and this will help
as we attempt to take on some new projects.  We expect that it will be 2-3
weeks before we are registered.  He is also continuing to work the
communications side, preparing and issuing a press release about the
KR project in the last few days.  We will post it to the website shortly.  I am
managing finances and budgets, chatting via yahoo with Eric virtually every
day, and planning my return trip in mid April.

Thanks for all your support.
Journal Entries - Click to

16 April 2006 - Eddie

22 January 2006 - Eric

27 September 2005 - Eric

6 September 2005 - Eddie

1 August 2005 - Eddie

28 July 2005 - Eddie

4 July 2005 - Aaron

16 June 2005 - Aaron

19 May 2005 – Eric

18 May 2005 - Aaron

24 April 2005 – Aaron

14 April 2005 – Eric

29 March 2005 – Eric

28 March 2005 - IM-Aaron/Eric

26 March 2005 – Eric

25 March 2005 – Eric

15 March 2005 – Aaron

16 March 2005 – Eric

11 March 2005 – Eric

3 March 2005 – Eric

27 February 2005 – Eric

23 February 2005 – Aaron

23 February 2005 – Eric

20-22 February 2005 – Eric

18 February 2005 – Eddie

18 February 2005 – Eric

16 February 2005 – Eddie

10-12 February 2005 – Eric

12 February 2005 – Eddie

11 February 2005 – Aaron

10 February 2005 – Eddie

9 February 2005 – Eddie

7 February 2005 – Eddie

5 February 2005 – Eddie

5 February 2005 – Part 2 –

4 February 2005 – Eddie

2 February 2005 – Aaron

1 February 2005 – Eddie

30 January 2005 – Eric
Journal Entries
Journal Entries
Mosques always survive
A mosque in BA at dusk
The logo for AIRO

Editor's Note: Personally, it
looks like Aaron needs to cut
back on the items below...
Spicy food!
Can you find this ibu's injury?