Journey to Rote – Day 2: Dancing Under the Sun in Rote

8 April 2015

Early in the morning, before the sun was out, I woke up and took a bath because in the building that I stayed in, there were only 6 bathrooms for 20 to 30 people who stayed there that night. At 6 AM, one by one, the good people who participate in Rote Mengajar woke up. That morning, I was accompanied by Mr Bambang, one of – if not the most – the senior volunteers. He’s a pilot and that morning, he was busied memorizing the songs that he wanted to sing together with the children in Rote.

“Good Morning, Good Morning, to You and You and You” There goes he sang and from his story here, he successfully taught the song to a kid in Rote: Mallan, si Mungil dari Kuli

Around 8 AM we board on the buses, heading to Tenau Port. It took about 40 minutes to reach the port and along the way, there were policemen on the side of the road. Every 2 – 3 meters there’s one policeman. It’s something unusual that I’ve never seen before in other cities. It’s nice to see them out of their office and be there among the citizen they serve.

Arrived at Tenau Port, the sky was clear. It’s a big port which serves both the passenger ships and the commercial liners that transport tons of containers.

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Waiting was fun if you were with friends who love taking pictures and had a selfie stick for group selfie ^_^

DSCF2035While the youngsters were busy selfie-ing, the seniors sat at the back and smile at their antics. This couple came from Balikpapan and traveled to Bali-Komodo-Kelimutu before reaching Kupang for Rote Mengajar. Awesome  ^_^ !

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There’s also a waiting area outside, near the sea.

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The fast ferry that we took to cross the Rote strait was called Express Bahari. The round trip ticket was IDR 290k/pax. It took 1.5 – 2 hours from Kupang to Rote.

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The ferry was painted yellow and had 2 entrances but only one could be used thus making the queue very long.

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A group of volunteer had a very great idea of making group hats that were very handy on that sunny morning:

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While others were waiting for a chance to board the ferry, these two found a great spot to enjoy their breakfast:

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Don’t worry if you have a lot of luggage because there are porters who will gladly help you carry them.

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Inside the ferry, it was comfortable and it looked new. It’s nice and we smiled a lot during the trip.

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There was a big TV inside the ferry and during the trip it played the movie: Paddington.

It was almost 11 AM when we arrived at Ba’a Port in Rote. The sun was still shining very brightly and I didn’t expect that we would be greet with very warm welcome. There were young people holding welcoming posters along the road to the port’s parking space and we rushed to take pictures with them.

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DSCF2056 Their smiles really warmed our hearts.

DSCF2052DSCF2061At the port’s parking lot, we were welcomed by the representative of Rote Ndao government staffs. There was a welcoming ceremony where two representatives of the volunteer were served with betel leaves to chew. The male representative got a Ti’i Langga, the traditional hat of Rote.

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For photographers, it was a precious moment to capture and they were willing to do anything to get a good shot, including, climbing the pick up truck:

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After the ceremony, there was a loud music coming from somewhere and we made huge circles and danced together.

DSCF2065It was a day to remember and the white lighthouse of Ba’a was the silent witness of that moment in our lives.

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