A First Aid Course
Doctor Juda, a well-known surgeon from Malang, found it a good idea to give several housewives living on all the plantations around this town a First Aid Course.
This course was given in a small place called Dampit laying higher up on the mountains above Malang. My mother was more than happy to follow this course, because quite often the Indonesians from Sumber Sewu came to her for help while she couldn’t really do anything for them. But now she was going to learn a lot and several month later my mother received her certificat so that she could give the Indonesians on the plantation some first aid as she had also received a box with some necessary medicines, sterilized gauze, a thermometer and so on. The Indonesians from Sumber Sewu saw my mother as their doctor.
My parents read an announcement in the Malanger newspaper where an Army Home in Surubaya asked the planters if they would be so kind to give one or two young military men a vacation of two weeks on a plantation high in the mountains. These young men were due to go to Holland on leave but since that was impossible since the German occupation, two weeks in the mountains would give those young men living in Surabaya at least some good air.
The two young men staying at Sumber Sewu were, Wim Brand and Bauke van der Ploeg, both 25 years old. My parents made several trips with them by car in the neighbourhood, my mother cooked Dutch food for them, they could go for a swim every day in the small lake in front of our house, they could join my father during his walks over the rubber and coffee plantation and now and then they went fishing.
Henny and me stayed one weekend in Malang, but the last weekend we could come home and met our two new “brothers”. It was a house full all of a sudden, we had lots of fun. Both my parents were a little sad when Wim and Bauke had to leave again back to Surabaya. But both young men wrote and phoned my parents regulary, they felt that they had found a real home in the Dutch East Indies while they were so far away from Holland.
Now and then my parents went to Malang on a Saturday evening when there was a nice film to see. Rasmina our cook, stayed with us and then there was the night-watchman who came over every evening and left again early in the morning.
Rasmina was a great story-teller, she has told us many spooky stories. If we had to believe all she told us then the whole house was full of ghosts who usually lived in the banyan trees, she gave us the cold shivers now and then. But that didn’t stop us asking for more stories though. But Rasmina was a very nice woman, I liked her very much. She also had lots of patience with us, but from the moment she told us that it was really time to sleep we obeyed her.
The radio and the newspapers were not optimistic at all especially the news from China occupied by Japan, became a lot worse.
The news coming from Europe was dramatic, my parents were both very worried. When we had visitors on Sunday then they only talked about the war in Europe. But Japan too worried everybody, this country became very aggressive.
The Dutch East Indies was a very important colony, we had oil, and that was exactly what Japan needed most.
But the sun was still shining over Malang and over Sumber Sewu, there was still a lot to be happy about or to laugh about. I liked my school, my friends, I still loved the mornings at my boarding school when I opened the window looking over Malang and seeing those mountains, what a lovely peaceful sight that was. There was still so much to make one feel very grateful.
Two soldiers, Wim and Bauke
Bauke, my mother, Jansje and Wim under the Banyantree
First Aid Course
In the garden
The family van Kampen and Wim