Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Prayers and Photos for Indonesia

These are just three images that came to my mind when I read the news that two earthquakes struck off the coast of Indonesia (specifically the island of Sumatra). Almost three years ago I was in Indonesia and found such beauty in the parts of the country that most people barely see. Tourists typically enjoy traveling to Bali and the beaches of surprisingly vast archipelago nation but places like Jakarta and Sumatra are rarely visited.
These three photos I took on the train from Jakarta down the island of Java. Earthquakes in the Indonesia region are incredibly common, the most famous being the one off the coast of Sumatra which caused the 2004 tsunami that struck also Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia and Thailand.
First photo is of this stunningly statuesque, young Indonesia girl riding the train in front of me. She remained apathetic to much that was happening around her. None of it bothered her; the 100+ degrees Fahrenheit temperature inside the train, the flies swirling around her face, the smoke coming in from the trains engine mixed with the tobacco being smoked in front of her, the glaring sun in her eyes. None of it seemed to annoy or distract her from sitting calmly in her seat looking out the window. Not even my camera lens. I tried to play with her, smiling and making jokes but she didn't flinch. She was one of the most impressively stable things I saw in that country. And I am so fortunate to have captured her elegance in this photo.

This photo made me realize what other parts of the country had to offer. Yes there are the craggy mountaintops and volcanoes and thousands of islands throughout Indonesia. But the vast openness is something I never envisioned before traveling to the country. But with a 14 hour train ride during midday, I was able to enjoy the naturally quieter landscapes like this one.

Lastly, when I think of the people of mainland Indonesia (not Bali, as I already hold an incredibly close place in my heart for that area specifically), I think of the poverty and overpopulation. It holds a nice contrast to this photo above as completely barren lands are only a few hours away from where this photo below was taken, at the train station in Bandung a few hours southeast of Jakarta. Several photos of mine show hundreds upon hundreds of people loading up on the sides and roof of the trains as they were either stealing a train ride or the cars were too full.

I just recently read an article from stating that concrete balls will be strung from beams above these trains to discourage "roof riders." The story immediately made me think of those people haphazardly jumping onto the moving trains sides and climbing to the roof. See pictures below:

I love this photo as it has so many smiling faces. Sadly it's this generally happy people that I think of when disaster strikes, like the recent earthquakes off Sumatra. 

Please pray for those affected by the earthquakes off Sumatra. It is an under-appreciated country with incredible people and endless amounts of history, spirituality, and beauty. 

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