Service visits – Kulon Progo

This past weekend Ron and Sally Jo visited six students located in the region of Kulon Progo, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours drive from Yogyakarta. They are in 4 locations spaced about 10 km apart and all are connected to the Catholic Parish centered in Boro.

The first stop was at the most distant location, Kalirejo Elementary School, high in some small mountains. Katie and Natannael are placed there to help out in the classrooms and also assist in other activities with the students. Those activities include helping with garden plots and fish ponds assigned to each class.

All visits to service locations begin with a formal meeting with the local supervisors.

The next stop was to see Corrie who is placed with a farming family that is involved with growing chrysanthemums. The family also runs a catering business, and she has been able to help with that. Her official host father is involved in a political campaign for an elected local position, but she actually resides next door with his parents.

Marrisa is located at the foot of the mountains and assists with an early childhood education group for children ages 1 to 4. The group meets 3 days per week and sometimes on Saturdays. She has also helped her host mother a little bit with some catering that she does on the side.

Nathan and Liz are located at the Boro church complex that includes 3 schools, two orphanages, a clinic, and a fiber industry. Liz lives with a host family and Nathan lives with the Catholic brothers next to the boy’s orphanage. Both Nathan and Liz have been involved in a variety of activities in these facilities at different times. One day Liz’s hosts prepared lunch for us.

On Sunday morning several of us accompanied the boy’s orphanage on a pilgrimage to Sendangsono, sometimes called the Lourdes of Indonesia. It commemorates the baptism of 173 people by Father Van Lith in 1904. From Boro it is about a 5 km hike one way, nearly all uphill on a steep paved road. We had light rain almost all the way, but the place is very impressive and well worth the effort.

On Saturday Marrisa’s family hosted the entire group and their host families for a delicious lunch. Students helped prepare the food, and it was a great time for everyone to reconnect.