We in Indonesia - 2009

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Our recent reports can be found here.

Here you can find our reports from 2009. 

Older entries can be found at the bottom of the page or in the archive:

Reports 2008

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December2009December 2009: Germany

After the semester ended with all the tests we headed home to Germany for the first time: What a winter time in Europe! A temperature difference of more than 45C was a shock not only for little Noah! But it was so good to see our families and friends in Koenigswinter, Saarbruecken, Heidelberg and Switzerland. Especially the grandparents were so happy to see Noah! And the winter caused only two minor delays in our travel plans: Thomas was stuck in a train and almost missed an appointment in Wuppertal, and our plane back to Indonesia was delayed because it had to be de-iced first before it could start in Frankfurt.

Photograph: Winter in Germany Begrholz 2009

November 2009: Jakarta and SiantarJakarra

Actually it was still in October when Thomas was invited to Jakarta for the 75th anniversary of STT (Theological Seminary) Jakarta. The most interesting part, besides meeting Indonesian and German colleagues, was the service in a kind of "living-room" church. Both, the building and the liturgy, were strongly influenced by American TV services: everything was displayed in TV-screens, the was no liturgist, but a kind of anchorman (presenter), and even the music and the announcements came from the "off".


German lessons




Here in Siantar, the second semester is now coming to an end. Regina is not only giving her official English lesson, but also private lessons in German to some students in our house.

Left photograph: Regina with students,
right: church in Jakarta.
Bergholz 2009



Oktober 2009: Siantar

ReginaOctober started very busy for both of us: Regina was invited from the Faculty of Education of the Nommensen University to give a speech at their Graduation Day.demo

The same day the students of STT rallied at the campus of STT. They complained about the conditions of life and of the studying facilites at STT: the inadequate library, and some confusing details in the curriculum. It was a typical Batak performance: with traditional folk music and dances!

Left photograph: Regina as a member of the faculty,
right: student rally at STT campus. Bergholz 2009

September 2009: Siantar and Perdagangan

GraduationSome interesting events showed up this month. First, we got "ulosed" - we received the traditional handwoven scarf named Ulos as a sign of "welcome" and hospitality. 

Furthermore we celebrated the annual Graduation Day: All the lecturers and the graduates participated in full academic dress - a quite uncommon view for us Germans who are not used to such a dresscode anymore since in 1968 the old tradition has been abolished after the so-called German student revolution.

GKPSGKPS1And there was also the annual "olob-olob", a kind of thanksgiving of the Simalungun Church (GKPS) for the arrival of the first German missionaries in 1905. Men and women were wearing their traditional clothes and costumes and performed traditional dances during the service.

All photographs: Bergholz 2009

August 2009: SiantarIndependence Day

On the 17th of August, the Indonesian Independence Day, there was the usual flag ceremony at the campus of STT. For our eyes quite strange, to see marching students, rising the national  flag, proclaiming the constitution and singing the national anthem and other songs from the independence war. In his speech, Dr. Darwin made a reference to the official doctrine of "Pancasila", which guarantees freedom of religion, unity, and social justice to all the people of Indonesia.

Photograph: Bergholz 2009

July 2009: Siantar

With the end of June also the semester ended and we had a little bit more time for ourselves. At the same time we had our first visitors from Germany, and together we went off for a little tour to the Karo Highlands and to Lake Toba.

summer course 2009In July, Regina started teaching at STT. Before the new semester starst in August, there is always a kind of preparational summer course for the new students. Together with Rosemary Winderlich and Mark and Marion Schubert, three voluntary teachers from Australia, she is giving an English language course three hours per day for 80 students.

Photograph: Regina, Rosemary Winderlich, Mark and Marion Schubert (from left to right) Bergholz 2009

May 2009: MedanMay Medan

On the 23rd of May there was a joined seminary at Medan about St. Paul. It was organised by the Communion of Protestant Churches in Indonesia (PGI) and the roman-catholic Archbishop of Medan. Dr. Paulus Tantiono OFMCap from the catholic theological Seminary STFT in Siantar spoke about "Life and Mission of St. Paul", and Thomas spoke about "Paul's theology and missionaric approach in the protestant churches".

On the 14th of May, Noah had his first birthday, so we had a little party of our own with our German friends from Siantar.

Photograph: Marihot Simanjuntak

Dr. Fidon MwombekiApril 2009: Siantar

In recent weeks we had 2 big events here: The 175th birthday of German missionary Dr. Ludwig Ingwer Nommensen. Dr. Uwe Hummel from UEM and 2 great-granddaughters of Nommensen came to Sumatra.

In April there was the 31th anniversary of the Seminary. Dr. Fidon Mwombeki, Secretary General of UEM, made a guest lecture at STT. The picture shows rector Dr. Darwin Lumbantobing on the left and vice rector Colan Pakpahan on the right side of Dr. Mwombeki. He has just got his traditional "ulos", a colourful, handwoven scarf.

Bergholz 2009

March 2009: Siantarburning waste

We already mentioned the waste problem. The campus of STT with more than 400 people is currently not connected to the city's waste system. This means that students and lecturers are burning the complete waste in their gardens. The garden and kitchen waste is maybe not the biggest problem, but the modern times waste like plastic wrappings are. Every day we have poisonous smoke clouds hanging over the campus.

seperating wasteSo we invited Dr. Lea Jellinek from Monash University, Australia. She did a similar project some years ago in Yogyakarta. She proposed to seperate the waste into 4 categories, of which plastic, glass and metal could be sold and the compost could be used for gardening. There are already private recycling companies which pay money for clean and seperated plastic waste! We are very curious if this system can be brought into working.

All pictures: Bergholz 2009

March 2009: Siantar and Lake Toba

Siantar party2The first part of the first semester is already finished. In 2 weeks we will have a 3 weeks break for the Easter holidays. On the 13th of March we had a little party here for all our colleagues and our German friends in Siantar

Most of the weekends we spend at Lake Toba because of the fresh air and the pleasant climate there. There we met Lea Jellinek and Ed Kiefer, two environmental specialists from Australia.Lake Toba They gave us the idea to think about the waste problem at STT HKBP. We already talk about this with Dr. Darwin and Pak Colan, the vice rector.

Lake Toba is a kind of an undiscovered paradise. Many expats go there regularily for holidays or weekends.

Left picture shows Thomas making the introduction speech for the party, right you see Lake Toba. 

Bergholz 2009

January 12th 2009: SiantarDarwin Lumbantobing

In January the new semester started. First there was a formal reception for the staff of STT and a few days later the semester opening service. Both events required some official words by Thomas, which indeed was the first test for our language skills. But after a couple of weeks of language survival training in Bahasa (we are still well-fed and happy) we are slowly but surely getting used to it. The lessons will start next week, so Thomas has another week's time for preparations. Siantar Jan 2009

Daily life is getting easier now. Regina bought a car (after she successfully sold our old car in August, she is now a professional car dealer) and finally our container from Germany arrived together with the other furniture we bought in Java. Slowly but surely, we start feeling at home.

Bergholz 2009.
Right picture shows Dr. Darwin Lumbantobing, head of STT, during the semester opening.