21.11.16 | News, A Day to Remember

A Day to Remember…

On a trip to Indonesia, Gabriele Mayer, Head of Corporate Unit Gender at EMS, meets Indonesia student Putri Sari. This encounter made a lasting impression
Gabriele Mayer and Putri Sari

An interesting encounter at the airport: Gabriele Mayer (left) meets Putri Sari. (Photo: EMS/Mayer)

Putri Sari awaits me at the airport in Indonesia. I am on my way to a conference which addresses the theological reflection on sexual minorities in Asian countries. The young student holds a self-made sign with my name in her hands. Together with her two fellow students from the Jakarta Theological Seminary, the theological student organises the transport of the conference participants. While we are waiting for the other international participants to arrive, she tells me about her plans to become a pastor. She also tells me that she is very interested in feministic questions. A lecturer at her university approaches those questions in her course she explains. Therefore, I hand her a few magazines of OUR VOICES in Indonesian over and encourage her to share them with other interested people. A few days later I see the magazine published on her Facebook page.

After the conference, I meet Putri Sari again as she organises my departure as well. She makes sure that the cab will pick me up early enough so that I will be at the airport in time despite the hours-long traffic jam. Before my departure, we have some minutes left and take some pictures. Then, suddenly and very surprising she asks me about the situation of girls and women in other countries and does not stop talking. She puts all her English together and asks me: "Gabriell, why is the woman second class? Why is it not okay when girls are born? My mother feels so much pressure, because we are four girls. My father says this is okay and enough for him. But others say: Get another wife who can do it. Why? Why is this? Why do women not resist? Later, I want to go back to my church and tell in my sermon: Women and men are equal. People in my church must know that."

In this moment, the cab arrives and I have to say goodbye. But the passion and the deep indignation of this young woman, who is so friendly and kind, accompanies me on my long flight back to Germany. Her questions but also her great hope and her desperate wish to change something aroused new questions in me: this strength and immediacy to feel injustices in gender relations, to communicate them and to believe that the opinion of the members of the congregation will change - I have not seen that in a long time.

Gabriele Mayer

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