Return to Aceh

I had accepted an invitation from the International Baccalaurate Projects people to co-deliver a workshop about change management to Acehnese school leaders. My co-presenter, Ratih, our Elementary School Principal, and I made the 9-hour, 3-plane journey on Friday, 22nd of August. Despite flying on the notorious Lion Air, and two of the legs being on the same type of aircraft that had crashed, killing all on board, in Madrid, the week before, the trip was fine.

At the starting time, 8.30am, the next morning, less than half of the 40 participants had arrived. Ratih had dressed appropriately, in jilbab, to blend in with the (majority) female school leaders.

Andrew Vivian

It was a bit slow getting going, but all of the 35 participants got into the swing of things. Because my Indonesian was fairly basic, Ratih did a lot of the talking. There was no resistance to forming and reforming groups. They were pretty much involved as much as teachers at my school.

Andrew Vivian

We got one of them to do a role play as a difficult parent with Ratih. A real principal took over from Ratih and they got quite a few laughs.

The session leading up to lunch was long. We got them to change groups to keep them going.

As expected, it took a while to round up most of them after lunch. The afternoon went well, though, in retrospect, we should have done a handout to sum up the main points.

Banda Aceh mosque

................Saturday PE lesson, SMP 1, Banda Aceh ........................................................... The grand mosque, Banda Aceh

Ratih was too tired to come out of her room for the night. I thought about going for a walk to sample Banda Aceh's "night life", but opted for a basic dinner at the "Pavilliun Seulawah" dining room. I got a series of SMS's to say that our Senior girls' basketball team had won the East Java championship.

I slept quite well, considering there was a band playing in the park opposite. I had a headache, probably from not enough water the day before.

I went for a walk, until my camera batteries ran out. It was mucky underfoot, because of the overnight drizzle.

Fish sellers, Banda Aceh Market, Banda Aceh

.............................Fish Sellers.............................................................................................Market near the mosque

It was a pleasant surprise to find that we were on a Boeing 737-400 for a direct flight to Jakarta. However, that was negated by the hour-and-a-half delay in Jakarta, for "operational reasons". Luckily, the plane was another 737-400. However, my "window seat" (the first one in a while) was one of those rare ones that didn't, actually, have a window. The flight was fairly quick and the taxi had me home "only" nine and a half hours after we left the hotel.