Hati Hati Ada Upacara

When driving through Bali, you will encounter a sign along the road with the text “hati hati ada upucara” almost every 2 kilometers. Although we tried to learn Bahasa Indonesia, we didn’t know the meaning for this sign in the beginning. Many times we saw people standing near the sign in beautiful traditional Balinese clothes with offerings. We found out that “hati hati ada upucara” means “watch out, ceremony”. We visited several ceremonies during our stay, but the best upucara for us was not until the very end. In a Hindu orphanage you cannot leave without a proper saying goodbye ceremony. That is why a big ceremony was organised for us.

The night of the ceremony, we dressed up in traditional Balinese clothes, kebaya, sarong and slendang, and we almost felt like real Balinese women. When we arrived in the orphanage we already heard the boys playing gamelan music while the girls ran up to us to give us a lovely necklace made of real flowers. We had to sit down at the front row and the kids gave some great performances. Some kids sang a song and the boys were playing music, while the girls were performing Balinese dances for us in beautiful dancing clothes. Balinese dance is so much different from the dancing we know and is really hard to learn for us Westerners. ‘Fortunately’  for us, the girls wanted to teach us, so we had to join and get on stage. Of course this was really funny for everyone to watch and especially Pak Ketut couldn’t stop laughing. After all the performances, two of the boys showed us the enormous Babi Guling (suckling pig) that they had butchered and prepared for us.

Before we could start eating, the official praying ceremony was held. Everyone was praying for us and Pak Ketut gave a lovely speech, thanking us for setting up the English teaching program and joining them in the orphanage for three months. After a delicious meal with lots of different preparations of the Babi, everybody was exhausted. We went home feeling really happy and sad at the same time. Very happy and grateful because such a lovely ceremony was organised for us, and sad because we had to leave the orphanage behind and go back to Holland.

At last, we have to thank a lot of people who do great things for the orphanage. In the first place Frits and Diana for making it possible for us to set up the English teaching program in this orphanage. They have done such a good job in the Yayasan providing the kids with great facilities. Of course we also have to thank Pak Ketut for being so enthusiastic and for giving us the freedom to set up the program in our own way. We also want to thank Ibu Ari for helping us arrange so many things. She helped us furniture the classroom, arrange trips and help us get fair prices for everything. And most of all, every time we were lost, she was always there for us. Last but not least, the kids really like the English classes and that is mostly  due to the great teachers Anni and Ade, who’s input is really important for the content and development of the program.

Thanks to all these people and many more, the program had a successful start and is still running.  We are very grateful to you all for the lovely time we had on Bali. Without you, this would not have been possible.