SPH Lippo Cikarang Grade 11 & 12 Students Mission Service Learning to Toraja

SPH Lippo Cikarang undertook a field trip to Toraja from 13-17 November 2017. Grade 11 and 12 students, along with five teachers, stayed five days and explored the Torajan culture. Students learned about Torajan philosophies, ceremonies, and art. They had the opportunity to attend a funeral ceremony called Rabu Solo in a village next to Kette Kesu, which provided a deeper understanding of Torajan culture. Here are some reflections on this field trip.

Toraja is a region located in South Sulawesi known for its unique traditional dance, called Pa’gellu. The dance captures their understanding of their environment, traditions, culture, and faith – making Pa’gellu a form of gratitude from the Torajans to the Creator. When I visited Toraja it was my pleasure to dress as a local Torajan and learn how to dance their traditional dance. The fact that Pa’gellu is usually performed during important ceremonies, including the day of the harvest and wedding ceremonies, made me feel I was carrying out an important role. I felt pride in being an Indonesian. While following the instructors’ simple movements accompanied by the sound of drums and flutes, I thought about other Indonesian traditional dances and how these dances reflect my country’s diverse ethnicities and cultures. As an SPH student, I often forget what being an Indonesian really means. Although we say we value diversity, I never understood the essence of it. Now that I have experienced it in real life,  I realize that all cultures, ethnicities, and diversities are part of my Indonesian identity

(Natalia Yap – Grade 12)

I’m very blessed to study at SPH because the school gives me a patriotic spirit. Getting to know more about our nation, I realize that Indonesia is rich in diversity. It is amazing how two different places on the same island can have very distinctive cultures. Our visit to Toraja was a unique experience for us to learn more about Indonesian culture. It was the first time for most of us to visit Toraja. I experienced much more than I thought possible. As part of our program, we visited Kette Kesu, a traditional village, including their cemetery. The cemetery isn’t like any other. It was somewhat scary but also contains the beautiful tradition that the community values. Their coffins are hung on mountains and noble families are placed in a boat-like shaped house. Ceremonies such as the Ma’nene’ and Mangaluk Tomate honor their ancestors.  Experiencing Torajan culture has opened my eyes, rejuvenated my spirit and helped me appreciate Indonesia’s rich culture.

(Eric Laksmono – Grade 12)

(SPH Lippo Cikarang students & SLH Toraja students)