First Stop, US Author Tour, Philadelphia

First Stop, US Author Tour, Philadelphia

Photo by B. Kent Donley (Philadelphia, USA).

Photo by B. Kent Donley (Philadelphia, USA).

Last night, Butet began her US Author Tour with a standing room only event at the Philadelphia City Institute Library.  More than 75 people came to hear about Butet’s experiences teaching the Orang Rimba as described in The Jungle School.  Butet combined readings from the book with anecdotes about her adventures in the jungle.  It was great to see some of Philadelphia’s large Indonesian community at the Library.

Once the audience met Butet, and saw that she was a lovely, feminine city girl, the first question was, “Why did you want to go and teach in the jungle?”  Butet explained that Indiana Jones was her inspiration!  She described her childhood in Jakarta, where her father did not want her to play outdoors or get dirty.  Her father reminded her, “Butet, Indiana Jones is just a character.  His adventures are not real!”  But still, Butet longed to go to the jungle.  When she got to university, she joined the Nature Lovers Club and began hiking, rafting and mountaineering.  Her first trips were very difficult, but she kept at it.  When she saw the job opportunity teaching Orang Rimba in the jungle, she knew she found her dream job! She inspired everyone with her quest to follow her dream.

Photo by B. Kent Donley (Philadelphia, USA).

Philadelphians were curious about the Orang Rimba — How many Rimba live in the jungle? Do they own land? What is the average family size? What is the role of women in their society?  Butet answered each question with an interesting story from the jungle and sometimes a reading.
The event ended with a chance for many members of the audience to join Butet for one on one conversations over cocktails.  Everyone enjoyed meeting Butet and asking her questions about life in the jungle, the SOKOLA Foundation, and her life today.  Butet has already started to receive e-mails from people who attended the event — they all tell her what a great evening they had. Surely, there are many people sitting at their desks in Philadelphia today, thinking about the jungle!

Photo by B. Kent Donley (Philadelphia, USA).

Photo by B. Kent Donley (Philadelphia, USA).

Photo by B. Kent Donley (Philadelphia, USA).

Photo by B. Kent Donley (Philadelphia, USA).

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