August 24, 2010

Baju Adat

Last Sunday a dream came true for me.  I have for over a year been the owner of a beautiful traditional Dayak outfit, given to me by a friend from an interior village.  It is gorgeous - black velvet decorated in colorful sequins - but there aren't too many opportunities for me to wear it.  It's not exactly the kind of thing that you throw on to run out to the store...or even to church.

Until last week.  It's missions emphasis month at our Indonesian church, so everyone was asked to wear their baju adat (traditional clothing) from their own suku (people group).  Alas, being a Heinz 57 American, I am seriously lacking in the traditional clothing department.  I feel very culturally poor in this regard.  The German, Scotch, Irish, English, and Native American blood that flows through my veins is so diluted that I can't truly claim any of them as my suku, hence the lack of traditional dress.  If I had access to a Goodwill store (or, better yet, my parents' closet) I could have put something interesting together - like a German dirndl, a Scottish tartan, and a Native American headdress.

We tossed around the idea of dressing as cowboys, since many Indonesians have that perception that Americans are all spur-wearing, lasso-toting cowhands.  Luke wore a cowboy hat and vest (David did grow up on a working ranch in Colorado, so he does at least have that in his heritage) but, in a nod to our island residence, wore flip-flops in lieu of boots.

So, not having a traditional American costume, I became Lun Dayeh (one of the tribes of the people interior) for a day.  Several older women in the church came up to me and said, "Oh, you need a belt" or "You need bracelets" so that by the time I went home I had a complete outfit with all the accessories.  

The church service itself was a glimpse of Heaven with many suku from across the Indonesian archipelago represented - Java, Toraja, ethnic Chinese, Bali, Lombok, Sumatera.  David and I looked at each other during one of the songs and we both had tears in our eyes, moved by the visual reminder that even though we are a diverse group, we are unified by our shared faith.


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