Back to Sumber Sewu
I was very tired the next morning and I really hoped that my visit to Sumber Sewu wouldn’t disappoint me.
We left Malang at 9.30 in the morning, our first stop was Turen, where Julius and I had our Koppi Tubruk. Turen had changed completely, but my coffee was delicious and the small restaurant was very nice.
Then came Dampit, the place where I took my bus to school on the early Monday mornings. Dampit where my father was waiting for me on Satuday afternoons when I came back home for the weekends.
Dampit was unrecognisable, it was no longer a village, it had grown into a town. I silently hoped that Julius could find Sumber Sewu. He asked in Dampit which way he had to drive so at least we were going into the right direction. I told Julius that Sumber Sewu was very close to the Ampelgading police station. Luckily Ampelgading was easy to find and Julius told me that I was right, we were only five minutes from Sumber Sewu. In Ampelgading many memories came back to me. It was at this police station that my father had to bring in his car for the Japanese Army. It was here that some Indonesians had laughed because a Dutchman had to walk home instead of driving back home in his car. I could still feel my father’s sadness.
And then all of sudden there is Sumber Sewu, we turn into the drive towards “my” home. The trees I remembered were all gone, all I saw were houses. Julius drove slowly towards the house that was no longer there. All I saw were the flight of steps overgrown with weeds. I saw ruins of the kitchen and the gudang (pantry) , the bathroom and toilet. I was almost in a shock, it looked so unreal to me.
And then I saw saw my old Waringin (Banyan) tree. There she stood, a lot older oh yes, but still very proud, she was still my beautiful Waringin tree.
Many Indonesians came to us and one elderly man asked me who I was. So when I told him he took my hands and said; “Oh, dari tuan pan Kampen”. He told me that he had often seen me walking over the coffee and rubber plantation together with my father. He had thought me very brave for getting up so early in the morning.
A nice old Indonesian woman was dressed in the old fashioned way. A beautiful blue Kabaya over her Sarong. She held my hands and said: “Nonni” to me, that means girl.
I guess that she was Rasmina’s daughter, because she looked a lot like Rasmina, our wonderful cook.
When I asked her if she was Rasmina’s daughter she just nodded her head. One of the man asked if I would like to buy some pisangs ( bananas) from Sumber Sewu. That was a wonderful idea and of course I paid far too much . But Agnes and Julius agreed later on, that those bananas were absolutely delicious. We called them the Sumber Sewu bananas.
I felt happier by the minute. I looked over the big pond where I had swam every Sunday and every day during my vacations. I could still see how my parent’s friends came to visit us, went swimming and praised Rasmina’s cooking and the wonderful hospitality from my parents. It all happened so long ago at this lovely plantation that my family had to leave in 1943 during the Japanese occupation.
I told the Indonesians that my father was killed by the Kempeitai, and they said that they knew all about this drama. I walked up the steps and I touched the wall from the kitchen, it was as if I could see Rasmina standing there. I had tears in my eyes.
I asked about Karto, Laskoen and all the others I had known. But of course they all died quite some time ago.
I asked if there were still so many snakes around. No more snakes, they were all kabakar burnt out. They told me that the old factory was broken down and that they had built a new one, not for the rubber but a new coffee factory.
And then I had to leave Sumber Sewu, once again behind me. But this time I felt very happy, I had seen my home back again. I had seen how beautifully green Sumber Sewu still is. That was what I always loved so much about these surroundings, it all looked so very green. And I had felt my father’s presence at Sumber Sewu.
The daughter from our Rasmina
A very kind ex-rubber tapper
My waringin tree
The steps towards our house
Sumber Sewu today
The ruins of my home