Like last year, communities across Indonesia celebrated Independence Day (about a month late). In our community there was a bicycle parade, a regular parade and a “long march”.
Following the military traditions that I mentioned in a recent post, the “long march” was exactly that. A march that covered 12 kilometers, from the rural villages of our area into the nearby town. Hundreds of groups representing businesses, schools, classes, villages, and other organizations waited near the starting line to march in step along the roadways which were “closed” to traffic.
After pledging that we wouldn’t do it again this year, Amy and I both joined our schools in the marching. This year, I was set on keeping in step with my school. I was put in the front row of our “battalion” last year, but was quickly moved to the interior to cover up my complete inability to match the marching steps (my legs are like twice as long as anyone else here).
With a little more focus, and constant reminders from the other teachers, I did a much better job this year. Of course beginning with the wrong foot at the starting line probably didn’t help us with the competition aspect of the march.
The highlight was when the parade passed our village. Instead of the calls of “BULE”, “MISTERRR”, or the stares that we received last year, it was a chorus of “Mr. Will!” as the village children and their families called out. I was also able to share with the other teachers our favorite places to eat and shop as I exchanged greetings with the owners. It truly felt like home.
Enjoy the pictures below and the story of the march itself through the captions: