The Jungle and the Indian Ocean
New Year passed very quietly and luckily we had no more Japanese visitors, we had a simple meal, there was nothing to celebrate, just hoping that next year might be better.
Cora phoned her parents and everything was okay with them. Cora also wrote long letters to her family and to her friends. The Indonesian postmen did a wonderful job.
There were not many Dutch and other Europeans left outside the camps. In Malang was already a camp for men, called Marine Camp, and now so my parents were told there was another camp ready called De Wijk, this camp was meant for European women and their children.
My father asked me if I would like to come with him the next day, early in the morning, he was going quite high into the jungle he said. My mother agreed, Cora said I could study in the afternoon.
We went through the rubber-plantation this time so we really had to leave very early, it was still quite cool outside when we left home. The Indonesians carried torches with them and my father had a pocket lamp with batteries, that was called a ever-ready-lamp. We needed all this light because it was still quite dark. But behind the mountain I could see the first sign of the sun coming up very slowly, always a beautiful moment.
My father told me that we were going into the jungle, but we had to wait at least another hour before we could go, it was too dangerous to go there right now and besides my father still had a lot of work to do together with Karto.
I have always loved these walks under those rubber trees, walking so early in the morning has always been very special to me. And this morning promised to be very special, I could feel it. The torches went out, the sun started shining, it was getting warmer. My father gave his last instructions and we left direction jungle, that was still a long walk, by the time we arrived it was nice and warm. This was my third visit to the jungle, but now that I was older I appreciated it even more than before, I found it a breathtaking scene.
And again I could smell the snakes, but I didn’t see them anywhere. We walked slowly and very careful not to step on anything, we each had a walking-stick with us. Some of the monkeys yelling at us as if they told us to leave their domain. We made the birds very nerves as well. We were a pair of intruders.
We went much further this time, we were really climbing up hill. And then all of a sudden my father stood still; “Look”, he said and I looked. What I saw then was far above all my expectations, I saw the sea, the Indian Ocean. The sea where Loro Kidul lives, the goddess from the ocean. I just couldn’t believe my eyes. My father looked at me and said; “I have to ask you something, you are almost sixteen so you are old enough. I want you to look after Mam and your sisters when I have to leave Sumber Sewu, will you promises me that?”
I looked very surprised and told him that I couldn’t do that. But my father said; “Yes, you can, so I hope you will promise me to look after them until this war is over and I will come back again”. I promised him that I would do my best.
We stayed awhile looking over that beautiful sea, it would have been great to build a house here just outside the jungle looking over the Indian Ocean.
When we went down again right through the jungle again I somehow realized that this could be my last walk with my father. It made me feel very sad so I started talking about the time when the Japanese would leave Indonesia again and Henny and I could go back to school. Luckily my father also started talking about a happier future.
We had no breakfast that day, but it didn’t matter at all, I had seen the Indian Ocean! I can still remember every moment of that very special day.
How many times has my father walked there all alone through the jungle to see his Indian Ocean, the ocean he had loved so much? I shall never know.