Creative ceramics week


For one whole week, the Darmasiswa VEDC students went back to SMK5 highscool for another creative task! The Global Team has learned how to make ceramic objects, leaving their imagination run wild. They had hundreds of objects to get inspired from and the teacher’s help and guidance along the way. This experience was a first for all!
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For 5 days, 4 hours each, this was the work space of creativity and fun!
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The first 2 days, students tried to work with clay my molding it with their hands and the tools at their disposal.
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The next 2 days, students tried a different method. The spinning wheel, molding shapes and sizes with wet hands, and pushing a pedal under the table to keep it moving.
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Some where done with the teacher’s help, some where done alone…
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But all were very proud of their result!
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In the last day, all the objects came to life with color. Carefully painting the details…
A candy bowl with a sweet message… THE BEST MOM!
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Tojo’s shopping bag!

Mariam’s vaze…

…and mask

GG’s king’s cup with an “awwww” message: Only a king can treat his woman like a queen.
king's cup

The other objects 🙂 all colourful and nice


And one last cup for the Darmasiswa coordinator, Citra


FYI for the girls


Since the start of the Darmasiswa 2014/2015 is near, we’ve figured to add some ideas to packing and about the lifestyle here, concerning girls especially 🙂 since 90% of Indonesia is Muslim, some things are quite different. But life in bigger cities is not as strict, yet for smaller cities, some things must be taken into consideration. For Malang we can give some solutions too, as for other cities, locals or former students can help.

1. Clothing
While at school or any institution, public or religious building, proper clothes are a must. Yet, in your free time you can wear what you like, but bear in mind the politeness towards the new culture. Nobody will do or say anything about your style, but don’t feel harassed when you get stares. You will be under public attention all the time, don’t let clothes make it worse. Also, as an advice, traveling by angkot (the mini public bus) or by motorcycle short pants, short skirts, short tshirts are uncomfortable for you, for the other passengers and might burn your skin… A wavy blouse, baggy pants, comfy shoes, sunglasses and a sun hat will give you the liberty to move around much better. Our highly recommended purchase as you come here is a “sarung”, a local scarf, soft and big enough for all occasions, either at the beach, as night wear, to cover your head from the sun, etc

1.a Swimming suit
Most public pools require decent clothing for ladies. Indonesian girls usually bathe with their short pants and tshirt, but it is so uncomfortable. Pack a whole body suit extra for these situations. For the beaches or more modern pools, 2 pieces swim suits are not a problem. But be aware that you will be under attention all the time, and will be asked for photos a lot, and many photos without your approval will be taken anyway, the Western way of going to the beach it is still strange here.

a normal day at the beach…

1.b Underwear
For the girls with more curvy hips, you must know that most underwear is not available in your size, except for the international, expensive brands. But local bargain stores don’t have them in stock, ever, although XL or XXL might be written on them. Sometimes you might get lucky, but it is not easy. With pants and jeans, that hasn’t been a problem, but maybe a certain style you like might is not available.

2. Beauty
Bath & beauty products. A lot of the local products, even international brands like Garnier have whitening properties, as it is in high demand here. You have to check all the time if they are for this purpose or not. There are some, local brands, very good. And scrubbing is very popular here, so you can find extremely affordable such creams. A very close attention you should give to shampoos. Most girls in Indonesia experience hair fall, lack of shine and less smoothness. A reason for this is the low quality of tap water. It is highly treated with chemicals (absolutely not drink it) but it also affects the skin and hair. Going to the SPA and buying professional products helps.

2.a SPA
Here is SPA heaven! Every 5m there is another SPA with facial treatment, body massage, body scrub, hair masks, anything you can imagine, so many types, very good quality, very affordable price! On this aspect, there is nothing to be worried about, you will be happy and feel like a queen.

2.b Waxing
This Western beauty technique is NOT available here. In Malang, there is one place, but only does legs length for almost $20. If you love this technique, it will be tricky. Yet, our girls found an Indonesian local that makes home made wax with honey and sugar, reusable and provides the strips too, also good for facial purposes. Having an electric depilatory machine would be a good idea.

2.c SPV
On the local market, there is just 1 SPV cream, maximum 30 SPV. As you would imagine, this product is not on profit here. This particular cream from the brand Vaseline is quite good, but if you have more sensitive skin confider bringing your own bottles, or when traveling to Bali you can refill your stock. Maybe stronger SPV protection creams can be found in branded shops, but no need to pay the extra taxes when you can pack it in advance 😉

3. That special time of the month…
This subject is on the list, to make it clear that for those who prefer internal tampons, these are not accessible. There are many brands of normal pads, night pads, day pads, etc, but they are considerably more thick than European ones for example. You can bring your own supply of tampons for the whole period, or travel to Bali or Jakarta in search for them.

Closing Ceremony in Bandung


Between the 23rd and 25th of May 2014, in Bandung, took place the Closing Ceremony of the Darmasiswa program. VEDC was present of course, and more than that, they had dancing performance 2 nights in a row

Here we are in Jakarta airport waiting for our connection to Bandung

The hotel was great! What a nice view!

In the lobby there was an impressive collection of wayang – traditional Indonesian puppets


This particular “guy” had an interesting face :)))
wayan creepy

Later that night, the girls performed their dance routine. Some exclusive backstage photos:


Our makeup and dress up took almost 2h! Everyone gave a hand, but the final result was all worth it.

A close up to see the detailed makeup and hairstyle
mariam face

The before going on stage group photo!

Speaking of the stage, it was quite scary and we were nervous to be in front of hundreds of people!

Here are the girls, complete dance 🙂 The quality is not the best, bare with us!

We were proud of ourselves and our teacher too! You can tell by the smiles on our faces!

The next day of the Closing Ceremony all the Darmasiswa students participated in many activites.

Planting orchids with each countries name. Was a wonderful experience to make a multicultural park 🙂

Then we all had a Bahasa Indonesia test but it went well 🙂
And continued with an artistic workshop.

Later that night, it was the boy’s turn to dance. They had funny masks!

And did a great job on stage!

After a successful event in Bandung, we enjoyed dinner together

and spend the last night by the pool, thinking of the wonderful 10 months in Incredible Indonesia

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What can you buy with $1?


If you want to have an idea of the living expenses in Indonesia, here is an interesting list 🙂

All these items are 12.000 rp ($1) give or take 3.000 rp (25 cents)

Please note that the prices sometimes varies, especially for fruits or vegetables, depending on season. We’ve compelled this list with the prices from Malang, in other areas there can be variations.


What can you buy with $1 in YOUR country? Let us know in the comments

Burger Buto


A very cool place in Malang is Burger Buto = Giant Burger 🙂
The Global Team and their coordinator, Citra, celebrated the end of the final presentation at this unique place. Here are some of their products:

BUTO LONG, “only” 25 cm


BUTO IJO – 27 cm diameter!!! Check out the 500rp coin for perspective

We ordered a sample of all of them, but the BUTO simple was eaten before we got the chance to take a picture :))) It was maybe 15 cm in diameter :)))

Malang is full of great places to hang out, eating or having a drink with affordable student prices. Here’s the menu for example from Burger BUTO

Did I mention that the drinks are GIANTS too? 🙂
AND giant cotton candy for those with a big sweet tooth 😉

Final presentation


On July 10th, the Darmasiswa students from VEDC had their final presentation to mark the end of the program. Each student chose a theme related to the Indonesian culture to present in front of their teachers, the directors and their coordinator. With a lot of emotion they managed to present 10 minutes in Indonesian.

Waiting their turn to go to the front…

One last check of the power points…


Nia from China chose to speak about the informal language that especially teenagers use when texting or on social media. It takes practice and patience to master this form of communication as well.

Harue from Japan spoke about the specific food from 33 regions of Indonesia. We all go a little bit hungry!

The girls did a great job!
nia and harue

Wan from China chose to speak about the art of making a batik. He practiced along with his classmates during the culture week at VEDC (post here:

Tojo from Madagascar made a complete presenation about many aspects of the culture:


Georgiana from Romania presented her observations and experience teaching English in Indonesia and her input how to do it better.

Mariam from Venezuela is big fan od dancing, so she presented this wonderful art:


Those two were clearly happy with their work and their feedback from the audience

Now from Uzbekistan, Markhabo presented the specific body language in Indonesia:


And Khulkar spoke about the superstitions in Indonesia finding similarities with her native country


The teachers and everyone present in the room were clearly happy about our performace:


And they had only nice things to say at the end of the 2013/2014 Darmasiswa program:)

All endings are nostalgic, 1 year together brings a lot of memories and friends!

The highlights of the islands part 1


Indonesia is the biggest archipelago on earth! That means over 17000 islands! It would be a dream to see them all, but for now we focus on the main ones and our recommendations as highlights for each of them.



We start off with Java, as being considered the center one, as Jakarta, the capital is on it’s West coast. There are many things to see in Java, apart from the touristic places around Malang presented in the city page.

Undoubtedly, the Borobudur and Prambanan temples are a must see. Located in the area of Yogyakarta, South of Java, these too temples talk of the Hindu heritage that influenced Indonesia for many years. As they are famous it is easy to visit them, and having KITAS will help too, reducing the price from 250. rp to 30.000 rp. While in Jogja, take the time to enjoy this city and it’s surroundings, like Pacitan beach.


Also interesting in East Java this time is, Kawan Ijen, a faimous mountain for it’s blue “lava”, which has it’s colour from the sulfur rocks.


If you like beaches and snorkelling, Karimun Jawa is a place to go – in the north part, close to Semarang City. A small archipelago with clear blue water and white sand. But there are many beautiful beaches everywhere!

If you like mountains, you can climb mount Semeru, the tallest active volcano, the view at the top will be worth the 4 days hiking.


Sumatra is the 6th biggest island in the world, so we will concentrate on the Sounthen part called: Lampung. Here is one of the 6 National Parks were they care for the Sumatran elephants. At Way Kambas you can spend a few nights, meet all 70 elephants, ride them, wash them, see them in the wild and learn about their life. The trainers are wonderful people! And they speak English 🙂


A MUST do in Lampung is eat Masakan Padang a type of cooking specific in the area, and from among the dishes the supreme one is Rendang – beef meat cooked with 11 different spices in 3h process, better served in the morning while it’s fresh (yes, eating beef in the morning it’s ok here :))

For surfers: the KRUI area and beaches are one of the best in the world for this sport. The weaves are great and there are no rocks! Plus accommodation and living expenses are very cheap.

As emotionally attached to Ranau lake, we would recommend visiting it also – go to Lombok Wisata town and stay at KEPITING homestay, where ibu (mom) and bapak (dad) will treat you as their own children, making your stay as confortable as possible. It’s a wonderful place, serene, untouched by modernism, where life moves slow but happy. It also offers hot springs directly in the lake, but only the locals can take you there!



Kalimantan is the name of the Indonesian part of the biggest island in the world – Borneo (the other part is Brunei and Malaysia). Kalimatan is famous for the orangutans, they can be seen in the wild in the forests in the center of the island. Many researchers from around the world work here to try to save this animals from extinction, as their life is in danger due to human activity and expansion of urban areas.

But in the South, in the city of Banjarmasin, it’s the only place in Indonesia where you can go to a floating market. As early as 4 a.m. people gather their products (fruits, vegetables, nasi, cookies, cakes) on boats and gather in a special place and exchange these goods with one another. You rent a boat and mingle with the others, do your shopping and have breakfast if you wish.



In Banjarmasin you can also eat crocodile, not at the floating market though 🙂

For those interested in the tribes culture, in Kalimantan there is the famous Dayak tribe which can be seen in the mountain area. They have a long history living here long before the colonization and the former empires.


The funny shaped island of Indonesia, Sulawesi is probably the most difficult island to travel because of it’s predominant mountain areas. But what makes Sulawesi special is the mixture of traditional believes with the influence of new ones. The best example is the Toraja region. Here people still embrace their ancestor beliefs about death, life after death and the ceremony needed to be held in order for their loved ones to get to heaven.


The ceremony itself and their traditions are very complex. But let’s try to summarize it. Basically, the soul of the dead is taken to the heavens by the souls of buffalos, so these animals must be sacrificed on the day of the funeral. Tradition says 24 is the minimum, but the richer the family the higher the number goes. And, since buffalos have 1 baby per year, that makes them VERY expensive. Their price depends of their age, the size of their horns and their breed. An albino, male, adult, 1.5 m long horn can go up to 100.000 EURO – the price of a luxury Mercedes. How do they afford you might think?


Well, a family usually has many children, up to 12 or 14. As soon as they are old enough they start working, most move to Papua or Jakarta because of the better salaries. All their money is saved to be able to pay off the funeral of their parents or grandparents. Once a member dies, all his relatives come back and start planning the funeral, which can take from 3 to 5 days and can thousands of guests.

During these days, the buffalos are sacrificed in the eyesight of everyone along with pigs (which are brought as gifts from the guests). For animal lovers, this experience will be socking. All the meat is then cooked and served to the ones present.


What happens if they don’t raise the money for a proper funeral?
Sometimes the families must borrow money and it might take them 2-3 years to pay back the debt. If borrowing is not an option, the family must keep the body in the house for as long as they need until they have the sum ready (special techniques are used to slow down the rottening process and cover the smell). It’s a great honor to be invited in the house while the body is dead, and all people must act as if the dead person is still alive.

Another special thing about this area is the architecture. Houses are built like the ones seen in the second photo, with a curved upward roof and only has 4 colors: black for the dead, white for purity, brown for earth and yellow for life. Also, 2 roosters are portrayed representing justice: as in former times when there was a conflict without a solution, each side would pick a rooster to fight the other and the winner would also win the argument.

In Sulawesi, you can have the best diving experiences – as in the South is the biggest coral area – Wakatobi – after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia – and in the very North a the great National Park Bunaken.

And just like Java has Karimun Jawa, Sulawesi has Togean Islands and the dreamy tropical holiday getaway. Much more difficult to get there than anyother, but SO worth it, plan your stay at least for 7 days!


Lombok is a well known place for it’s beaches and we are presenting the best. Before you actually get to Lombok itself, there are 3 little beautiful islands, a 1h speedboat away from Bali – the Gili islands.


Gili Trawangan is the PARTY island
It’s is called the second Kuta (party town in South Bali) where the music is pumped up all night long and you can have some of the best beach parties ever.

Gili Meno is the CHILLOUT island
A very quiet and relaxing island, with no motorized vehicles, a claming lake in the middle and nice bungalows buy the beach, it is the perfect destination for lovers and families.


Gili Air is the perfect combination between the other two
Although you can relax in the sun, find great snorkelling spots and have great food, at night you can have a bit more fun and the silence is broken by the visitors interaction by it’s shores.

If you have the time, go all the way to the main Lombok island, Kuta Lombok is a great place to be, with excellent fish dishes.


We kept Bali at the end because it’s full of touristic interesting spots. The absolutely must should be:


Bratan Temple or the Yellow Temple is the main monument found on all promotional material for Indonesia. Totally worth it!


The rice fields! Have a drink while facing this great view! Priceless!


Hindu temples and ceremonies. A great culture concentrated in this small island which gives it charm and a fantastic atmosphere.


Uluwatu temple located up on the high shores of South Bali it is an impressive construction along with a very entertaining open-air theater


PART 2 will focus on the Eastern islands from Flores to Papua 🙂