For the 2019-2020 cohort, we have decided to dedicate the “Spotlights” section to highlight some of the wonderful Indonesians that we have met along our journey that deserve recognition or played an important role in our Indonesian experience. Please enjoy!
ETA Name: Angela Zhu
Site: Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi
There are so many facets of Barto that make me so grateful that he is in my life. He is the owner of Warkop Sederhana, which is this cute little coffee shop that my sitemate and I stumbled upon one night. Over the months, we began to talk to the owner, Barto, which led to us coming almost every day. One of our first interactions included a man stating that I couldn’t be American because I didn’t look like my sitemate. At that point, no matter what I said, I couldn’t “prove” I was American. I wasn’t being heard. Barto stepped in and spoke to the man in Indonesian, explaining that I am American and that there isn’t a “look” for Americans. Without having to prove myself, Barto accepted that I was American and didn’t question it. This was the first time an Indonesian stood up for me, since coming to Indonesia. (I was always questioned, even in America.) But, I realized that I have an ally in Indonesia. Though, our interactions have gone beyond allyhood.
Over time, I realized that Barto is very attentive. He will listen to some things my sitemate and I say. For example, this one time I said that I felt the mosquitoes were attacking me and Barto started burning a mosquito repellant. This one time, I came into the shop when I was really sick. Out of nowhere, Barto brought freshly made ginger tea. I began to talk to Barto some more and realized that he is honest, caring, funny, cooks well, and ready to give recommendations for all places in Indonesia. For me, his small actions have spoken the loudest words.
Barto recently started making food for all of his customers. Just the other day, my sitemate, Barto, Daniel, and I ate the food together. Later, we played a game that was like Trouble, which included a lot of competition and laughs. Things felt a bit lonely, until I realized I had a coffee family.