We had just arrived at Mausambi and were setting the hook when Bernard from s/v Albertina, arrived in his dinghy to let us know who's who and what's what around here. Apparently, the rally had given us the waypoints for Mausambi, but named the town of Ende as the location for this stop. So much confusion, but strangely enough approximately a dozen boats came here anyway (because of the waypoints). Fortunately, Bernard arrived yesterday and while scouting around on shore, ran into an English speaking local man named Vincent. No one here had been informed of our impending arrival and our intentions to "rally" here. Fortunately, in the true spirit of Indonesians, Vincent picked up the ball and ran with it organizing some completely impromptu local events for us. For instance tonight we were all invited to the Traditional Village for a performance and dinner starting at 4:30. It was now 4:00. Frank and I reluctantly declined the invitation. The next day after hearing what a great time everyone had we regretted that decision.
Tuesday, however, we joined right in. Vincent had arranged a variety of events for us. We began with a walk into the village, which by the way is tiny, is predominantly Christian and most definitely non-Muslim. We convened in front of Vincent's home where his wife scrambled to gather chairs for us to sit on in the shade while waiting for the rest of our group to arrive. We immediately became a source of curiosity to the neighbors who stopped by just to stand around and watch us. Our men got antsy just sitting there so they raided the icebox at the modest little shop next door, drinking up all of the ice cold Bintang. Fortunately just as the beer ran out, we were invited to follow Vincent and his wife over to the community gardens where we shopped for vegetables right from the ground. Happy cruisers walked away with eggplant, tomatoes, cabbage, lettuce, cucumbers, peppers and bananas. After the shopping spree we congregated once again at Vincent's house where the villagers continued to peer at us and smile. When Frank, Stuart, Peter and John had depleted even the little store's supply of the hot beer we tromped our way back to the anchorage to unload our bounty and then head for the school.
A single mini SUV arrived to transport the legion of cruisers to the English school. It took over an hour and 5 trips to get us all there. This school is special in that a select group of Indonesian children from all over the Regency of Ende are schooled here. It is funded by private tuition from the families. For them it is quite expensive. I never heard the exact cost because several people among our group spouted numbers that didn't match, although each appeared to know "everything". I did manage to glean from Vincent that most of these children are from families of either government officials or large farm owners and are among the privileged few. At the school we were invited into the classroom where we scrunched ourselves into the miniscule desks and watched a presentation from the children. One by one they impressed us by standing in front of the classroom, introducing themselves and reciting a short bio in English and then answering our questions. Next, we were invited to come up to the front to introduce ourselves in return. This was followed by group performances by the kids. We all laughed and enjoyed a wonderful couple of hours there. To my recollection, the eldest child was 12 years old. I kept thinking of my own mother and how much she would loved to have been there with me. She being a former teacher would have been in Heaven with these beautiful children. After the performances we were invited for a snack and a drink of spring water before piling into the little SUV for the return trip home. Frank managed to get into the first transport. My gosh, you've got to be quick to survive among these cruisers! Each time the little truck returned people mobbed it so I decided to just wait until the last trip. It turned out to be a good decision because those of us left had an opportunity to visit and sing with the kids a little while longer. What a precious experience!
Returning to town, Vincent's wife presented us a feast in the yard outside their home. She had put together long tables, decorated with tablecloths and little centerpieces. A couple of small pigs (we think they were pigs!) had been barbequed, and were presented lovingly along with vegetables and tofu. They passed around a large bottle of Palm Wine and we all feasted while 20 or so villagers stood by watching us. It felt strange being fed and watched but after a while we forgot about the audience.