Journey to Rote: Day 2 – The Gorgeous Sunset in Pantai Baru

8 April 2015

After dancing at the parking lot, we were mobilized to the regent’s house by trucks. There were several trucks, from the police department & the navy. Some had roof and some were roofless. I was lucky to get the roofless one.

DSCF2071It was around noon and the sun was shining brightly. The trucks convoy was guided by policemen, complete with siren, drawing people’s attention to us. If I was alone, I would be embarrassed but with friends, it’s a fun experience. Especially, since the new friends I met were funky and cool. Nobody complained about the mode of transportation and the fanfare convoy. We even took pictures & videos from the top of the truck.

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Rote island was not as flat as I thought. The road to the regent’s house was up and down. Sitting on the back of the truck was like riding a roller coaster.

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We passed a building with unique roof. The shape of the roof was like a Ti’i Langga, the traditional hat for Rote men. It was the government office.DSCF2075After about 40 minutes on the truck we finally arrived at the regent’s house. We ate snacks, had a drink and sat dutifully while listening to various reports and speeches. The highlight of the ceremonial lunch was the dance performed by the children.

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The musicians:

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Isn’t she lovely?

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After the performance, I followed them and asked for a group photo and they let me took their picture.

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After lunch, there were briefings for volunteer teachers and photographers. It was around 3 PM when we finally left the regent’s house. We were transported to various places in Rote, using the same mode of transportation that took us to the regent’s house. The volunteers who would be stationed near Nemberala beach were picked up by the nice car from Nemberala Resort but some of them prefer to sit on the car’s roof.

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Btw, Nemberala beach is well known among divers & surfers. I think it’s the only place in Rote that is known to outside world, based on what I found in Trip Advisor about Rote island.

The place where I would spent the days in Rote was a village called Keoen, in Pantai Baru sub-district. To get there, we had to pass the Ba’a port again. The sky looked dark but thankfully it wasn’t raining. The journey was enjoyable. We waved at the women who were working at a paddy field and they waved back at us.

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Rote island produces more rice than they need. The paddy fields were everywhere along the way to Pantai Baru. I hope they will keep on doing the great job of producing rice for this country for a very long time.

The fun of riding on roofless truck was that we could see a lot of things. Every time we passed a great place, we were begging the driver to stop or slow down the truck so we could take pictures…..kekekeke……We stopped at a beach near Termanu Rock. We were told that this huge rock, that was shaped like a chicken, had supernatural power and it could move around. According to this article, the rock stopped moving after the people in that area held a ritual ceremony. Believe it or not, it’s up to you ^_^

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The truck arrived at Pantai Baru at around 4.30 PM. We stopped by at the drop off point in Ulafulihaa village. We ate snacks and had a drink before continuing our journey to Keoen by motorcycle. I rode the motorcycle with Mr Malesi, one of the teachers at Keoen elementary school, the place where I and 5 other volunteers would spent a day teaching the children.

During the ride, I couldn’t contain my excitement of watching the gorgeous sunset and took pictures on the running motorcycle. It’s dangerous but facing danger once in a while for getting the shot was wort it ^_^.

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In Keoen, we went to the school principal’s house. His house was located next to the school. We met with other teachers there, in the dark. Kekekeke.But I managed to take this picture of our meeting….okay….I confess….I used software to enhance the brightness…..but for some people whose skin tone are naturally dark…..I couldn’t help much….. ^_^

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When I first received information about Keoen from Rote Mengajar committee, I was glad because it’s said that the village has round-the-clock electricity. FYI, it’s “normal” in islands for having limited electricity. So I was pleased to learn that Keoen was one of the villages in Rote which has full time access to electricity.But…..on that first night……the electricity was out. Even the teachers were amazed and said that it’s not normal ^_^.

We introduced ourselves and chat with the teachers about Rote Mengajar. After that, we ate dinner at the principal’s house.

Btw, people in Rote honors their guest with meals and they always encourage the guest to eat more than one serving. If you want to please them but you don’t want to ruin your diet, I suggest that for the first serving, take only 1/3 or 1/2 of what you usually have. After that, you can get the 2nd serving without any problem (if you still want to). ^_^

After the dinner, Mr Malesi took me to my new family, the house of Mr Manafe. He was the previous principal of Keoen elementary school. Currently he’s the principal at Edalode elementary school. His house was only a few meter from Keoen school. When I arrived, I was greeted by his wife because he hadn’t back from school yet. So, I asked her if I could take a bath first. She showed me the bedroom and the bathroom was a separate building from the house. It’s not far but it’s dark so I had to walk slowly.

When I got back from the bathroom, Mr Manafe had arrived and we talked about many things. He told me to have dinner with him but I had to refuse. I told him & his wife that I was on a diet and looking at my body, they agreed that I must diet …. kekekeke….*phew*

Around 9 PM, the electricity was finally working again. Hooray.

That night I slept peacefully while recharging my batteries (my body & my phone) to face the exciting experience of meeting the children on the next day.

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