“Hello Mister!” – Kids in Indonesia

kids of indonesia

“Hellooo, Mister!” is the usual greeting called out to tourists by kids on the streets of Java in Indonesia. I was slightly put out at first, questioning my femininity in the comfortable, baggy boy shorts I had bought for travelling, but soon realized that the title is intended for males and females alike! Away from the streets, in the mountain areas of Sulawesi, yells of “Belanda” echo over the rice terraces. A former Dutch colony, Belanda is the Indonesian word for The Netherlands and was a term used for the Dutch colonists. Nowadays, children in rural regions, who often have no television and are less accustomed to tourists, still use it to call out to any Western foreigner they see.

Here are some shots of Indonesian children on the islands of Java and Sulawesi. One thing is for sure, they do love to pose!

kids in indonesia

School Kids in Yogyakarta, Java.

I shot these kids as they were leaving their Muhammadiya school in Yogyakarta for the day. Muhammadiya (meaning ‘Followers of Islam’) is an Islamic organization in Indonesia comprising 29 million members and was founded in Yogyakarta. The girls and boys wear matching blue and white uniforms with the addition of the jilbab (the Indonesian term for the hijab or headscarf) for the girls.

kids in indonesia

More school boys on their bikes.

kids in indonesia

Muslim boy on his bike in Poso, Central Sulawesi. The boy is wearing a traditional Indonesian Peci, a cap shaped like a truncated cone.

Tana Toraja is the highland area of Southern Sulawesi, which is known for its traditional burial ceremonies and stunning Tongkonan houses. Many of the people in this region are Christian but Animism plays a big role in the funeral rituals of the Torajans.

kids in indonesia

Children playing in the football fields of Rantepao, the major town of Tana Toraja.

kids in indonesia

Two boys hanging out on a bridge in Rantepao.

We stayed at this traditional, and electricity-free, village on the first night of a 3-day hike into the mountains of Tana Toraja. After a full day of hiking, we were happy to sit and watch the children play before darkness, and silence, descended on this remote place.

kids in indonesia

The village girls posing before the stunning traditional Torajan houses.

kids in indonesia

The boys at play: carting each other around with sticks and a sarong.

kids in indonesia

An older boy returning to the village with banana leaves. The leaves are used to wrap food in and can be used as plates.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. deendey
    Apr 26, 2012 @ 15:45:09

    Hi Ilona, it’s great to see such an article of a country of mine! Just wanting to say thank you, because this makes me happy :). Stay blessed.


  2. Kemal Kaya
    Apr 25, 2013 @ 20:03:28

    “Hellooo, Mister!”, Yes I remember again my tine when I was in Jawa. Indonesian children always have a gorgeous smile on their face, even They are poor.


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