Indonesian storytelling gives thanks to Kamloops hospitality

Exchange students mark the end of their stay with a show featuring Indonesian traditions

The performance was choreographed and managed by the exchange students, who ranged from ages 13 to 17, as a gift to their host families and the Kamloops community. (Justin Moore/The Omega)

It was a show that visitors came all the way from their home country of Indonesia to watch. Students, host families and Kamloops residents filled the seats of the Sagebrush Theatre on the afternoon of September 9 to watch a performance choreographed and presented by Indonesian high school exchange students who have been studying here for a short time at TRU.

Titled Merantau: The Hero’s Journey, the play follows a self-defence trainee Hamid, as he travels on a mission given to him by his Master that leads him to a village burdened by a tyrant ruler that had displaced families and made prisoners of those opposed to his ideology.

It was an adventurous trail with themes of companionship, fighting oppression and injustice across class and gender.

The stage performance was accompanied by live music also produced by the students on traditional instruments and backing vocals that gave the performance a rich and vibrant emotion.

The play concluded with the students filling the stage with their colourful and decorative costumes, that glittered under the bright stage lights, waving flags of their home country along with our red and white maple leaf flag.

The theatre quickly exploded into a chorus of “Oh Canada,” lead by the students, followed by the Indonesian national anthem that had the students beaming with smiles as they raised each other on their shoulders to sing to the watching crowd.

Each year, TRU partners with the International Islamic Education Council to bring students from Indonesia for 4-6 weeks to practice their English and learn more about Western culture, as well as sharing their own culture with Canadians.

This is the fifth year that TRU has hosted groups of students from ages 13 to 17.

The whole performance was put on in thanks to the community of Kamloops, TRU and the hospitality of the host families for the Indonesians. There were even a few visitors in the audience that had travelled from Indonesia to watch their family and friends perform and produce the play.

The show was a warming conclusion to the student’s stay in Canada as they get ready to depart on a return flight home to Indonesia and for Kamloops residents, it marks another chance to further interact with cultures and communities outside of their own.