Like hundreds of Balinese people, his name is “Nyoman”, but we called him “Oman”. The first time I saw him he said “Hello Tante!” with a very big smile. Tante in Indonesian means “Auntie”. A guy that I met on the ferry from Lombok to Sumbawa told me about this Vihara (Buddhist temple) and said that I can stay here. From the ferry terminal, it took around two hours to get here. I had to look carefully because there was no sign or anything and it was already night. During the day, you can see the Pagoda from outside but it’s a bit hard at night.
This Vihara is located next to the sea and there is one Balinese family who live there and take care of the place. There was also a couple with one daughter and two little boys, one of which is Oman. In the Vihara, there are also a few doggies, cats, chickens and even a deer. Everyone lives together peacefully.
They let me sleep in the old prayer room that they no longer use since the new building is ready. The first night, I slept alone. The second night Oman and his cousin decided to accompany me, so the three of us slept together in the prayer room. I had to keep the gate locked all night because the dogs kept coming in and asking Oman to play.
I really liked this family and I think they liked me too. I spent five days there just relaxing and playing with the kids. One day, we played with their slingshot that they had made by themselves. Later, Oman saw me using a tree branch as a walking stick (because it’s hard for me to walk on the grass field) and said he will make a new walking stick for me. I said the stick that I found is fine and I already have a telescopic metal walking stick that I never use. Not satisfied, Oman took a saw and cut the sharp corners off my tree branch. He said it’s dangerous because I might fall over and hurt myself.
The next day after school, Oman came to me with different stick! This one looked like a walking stick but it was a bit too short for me. I really don’t know where he got it from. He kept telling me that he can make a really nice walking stick for me if I want him to. I refused, because I liked the wooden stick that I had found. So then, every time I walked without my walking stick, he fetched my walking stick and told me that I have to use it all the time so that I won’t fall over. And then every time there were steps or bumpy ground, he gave me a hand to help me. He is so sweet. I can’t believe he is just nine years old.
Oman never ceased to amaze me. One day, I baked a banana chocolate cake for the family and they loved it. The next day, before school, Oman asked me how long I am going to stay there. He asked “two months? A month?”. I said “why?”, and he said “let’s start a business!” and then when I asked “what business?”, he said “selling cake”. He said that can I make the cake and he is going to sell it to his friends at school. He really is a smart kid.
After school he looked for me right away and gave me a note that he made at school. He said he made a recipe for me so that any time I want to make a cake, I can use his recipe. I asked him where he got it from, and he said he copied it from the cheese that he ate at school. What he did was copy the ingredients list from the side of the cheese pack. He is so funny. He even called the recipe “Oman’s Recipe”. He kept asking me to come on his Birthday so that I can make a birthday cake for him and he says he will come to my house on my birthday to celebrate my birthday with me. He’s so super sweet it’s really hard not to fall in love with him.
Oman’s mother also does catering, and I helped her to decorate a “nasi tumpeng” for someone’s birthday. Nasi tumpeng is a ceremonial dish with a large cone of rice surrounded by Indonesian foods. Tumpeng is made from rice cooked in coconut milk, tinted yellow with freshly grated turmeric and steamed. It was fun for me to help them decorate it because I had never done it before.
The guy that I met on the ferry lived nearby, so I asked Oman to come with me to visit his farm. I then found that Oman can copy the sounds of all the animals!
This little boy made my stay in Sumbawa unforgettable. It was really sad when I had to say goodbye. I really hope I can come to visit them again someday.