By Vibor Novak, NCB Naturalis
Hello, my name is Vibor, originally from Croatia, but currently living in Leiden, working at NCB Naturalis. So why am I here, in Kalimantan? Because of the foraminifera.
But I don’t want to write about geology today. I will do that for my PhD thesis. What I want to write about is the people in Indonesia. Before our departure my main concern was not different geology of Indonesia (because geology is universal). Rock is rock, whether you look at it in Croatia, The Netherlands or in Indonesia. What I was questioning myself was the people here. I didn’t know what to expect. How will they look at me there? Will they behave differently? What about their religion? And many more questions like that came to my mind.
And when we finally arrived, boy was I surprised. But in the most positive way! So much kindness and so many smiles you won’t experience anywhere else. The people here are really honest, joyful and spontaneous. And they really have no prejudice towards anyone. Whether you just need to buy something or you are lost in the field, they will always offer you help, even if they don’t know your (or English) language.
Two men selling fruit near one of our sections and Sonja, Bill, Nadia and Emanuela with the owner of a section
Maybe they look a bit distant on the first sight, but that is only from the outside. If you only say hello to them, in return you get a wide smile and a few sentences in Indonesian language (which I must learn before coming back next year). And you really do feel welcome walking through the streets of any town, no matter if it is Jakarta, Bandung, Samarinda or Bontang. Sometimes maybe even too welcome, because there were a lot of situations when they wanted to take a photo with us, and the only thing we could do was smile with them and take a photo.
School children near one of our localities
So thank you people of Indonesia for welcoming us in such a nice way.