Finding my feet in Yogyakarta
Trip Start Sep 11, 2007
41Trip End Ongoing
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There were seven deaf people from the three organisations, along with an English-Indonesian interpreter and a sign language interpreter. It went well, but it was quite a slow process, not least because of the number of language barriers:
- someone from Yoygakarta signs something
- this is translated into Bahasa Indonesia
- this is translated into English
- this is signed for me, by Joji, in American Sign Language
- I try and understand what has been said!
And so bucketloads of patience were needed, and I was sure to smile a lot.
The workshop started on Wednesday at 1pm, and ran until Thursday late afternoon, so we all ate together on the Wednesday evening. It's funny what you end up talking about - Robin Hood, guitar-playing, the second world war...
On Thursday we looked at cultural barriers and disability awareness in the morning, then in the afternoon I met with each organisation separately to ask them some questions. It was funny, they all meet on Sunday mornings in different places - and my job description says I'll be working from Monday to Saturday! So I think there's going to have to be a bit of flexibility on my part.
They all went home after the workshop on Thursday afternoon, and I said goodbye to Joji, who left for Bali. She is going back to the Philippines next week, as Fiona - who she has been replacing - returns from maternity leave.
Yogyakarta is huge! I couldn't stop laughing when I went around in a taxi for the first time. I had imagined a small university town nestling snugly in the hills. But there is nothing snug about Yogyakarta, except perhaps the buses. It's quite odd because cities here don't really have a 'centre' where everyone goes. The pavements are never much to speak about either, and everybody zips around on motorcycles.
Java is the most densely populated island in the world, and there are thousands of students from all over Indonesia attending its universities,
My sign language classes started last Monday, and I have 4 hours a day. That's been going ok so far. The sign language here is mostly very different to Britain, though a few signs are similar. As I am being taught in Indonesian, it means I'm learning two languages at the same time, which leaves me feeling quite tired (the heat, the culture, the negotiation and travelling by motorbike also help!).
My classes take place in a building that resembles an open barn,
It has been a blessing to be staying somewhere with a swimming pool - a good way to try and unwind at the end of the day. I need to start looking for somewhere to live soon, but it is Idul Fitri at the moment (more on that later) so I might have to wait for a few days...