Banda Aceh, Indonesia
Tamo and I arrived in Aceh and went straight to the office to meet the team. The first thing we saw was our Mobile Center: it is entirely tagged in bright fluorescent yellow and more… Quite a shock: it seems that when we said “let the children be creative”, it went to a new and unexpected level!
We understood better when in the afternoon we joined the Mobile Center activities in the old bus station. We were greeted by loud drumming, droning bass and screeching guitar. Holding the instruments were the new street youth: all adorning amazing spiky hair, ripped jeans and Rancid t-shirts. They are what Piet calls the “Street Punks”: I was back in ’77!
I came only 6 months ago and had not seen them yet. Piet explained that 2 months ago this population was not here yet. It seems that some of them brought this fashion back from Medan and now it has been adopted by over 20 boys. Quite amazing and it took the teams by surprise. But, Ivan, the street outreach worker, remained cool and has established an amazing rapport with them. The group is now coming regularly to the station to meet the team, get some drug prevention education and play music and sports.
We have discussed with the group, and are now planning to get them into a rehearsing studio to play music and to carry out some life skills activities to make sure that they remain safe on the streets. Some of them are interested in developing a t-shirt printing studio and we are building this project with them.
I hope next time I come we will have a music CD out and some new cool t-shirts for sale!