Every moment of a childhood is special. We were free, limitless, and the explorer. During that time, I was living in my hometown; Rumbai, Pekanbaru. Actually, I’d like to share a glimpse of life in Chevron Rumbai Camp, where I spent most of my precious time as a child there. Well, it was formerly known as Caltex. Then the name changed to Chevron; one of the largest oil companies ever. I have never realized how lucky I was to have spent my childhood there. And I seriously come to think about it just in recent times. I’ll show you why.
The thing I love the most about this camp is that it is very clean, neat, green, and beautiful. I’m not overrating about this since there is no other place in my (small) town looks this good and organized. If you have ever been to Pekanbaru and once visited this camp, then you’d notice the difference. It provides a pretty complete of facilitations that make this camp feels like a small city. It has schools, swimming pool, bowling alley, tennis court, basketball court, gym, golf course, football field, helipad, hospital, fire department, banks, store, post office, and many others, even it does have private taxi group for internal transportation service inside the camp.
We have kindergarten to senior highschool there for Indonesian employees’ children called Cendana Caltex and also an American School for the expats’ (later on the school is not only attended by chevron expats children but also opened for other foreigners’ living in Pekanbaru).
Every stage of my school time, it was so great. Since my mother was the school staff (Cendana), after my class over I used to wait in the school she worked at until afternoon, especially when I was still in kindergarten and elementary school. During the time waiting before going home, I played with some other teachers’ kids. Of course they waited for their parents too. So, it’s a common thing seeing teachers’ kids hung around the school even after the school quiet, no other kids but us. As I can recall, we played hide and seek, read books in the cozy library, had fun collecting saga seeds as much as we could (-even the next day I always found only a few of them remained, until it’s all gone, haha) under its big green lush tree that absolutely was the favorite spot for us to play under. And one I remember the most is when we went out of the school to sneak into the golf course next to our school, just to feel a great sensation of runaway on a green wide open course and then enjoy a little river in the middle of it, which hidden by some surrounding trees. Fortunately no one played golf in the hot afternoon, and of course it was weekday, so we were safe enough, no flying ball 😀 Getting out of the course, we had to sneak again, or else got caught by security, meaning we might be scolded. Then, when I got into junior high school, I preferred going back home with the school bus than waiting at mom’s school, because the distance between them was far enough; time inefficiency.
But sometimes, unfortunately I had to go home by foot. This was the most thing I hated to do since my school was far from my house (by foot). And the afternoon in Rumbai did expose a scorching heat that made me very exhausted once I got home. Really. And the legs? Oh don’t question, they’re so tired. Every time I walked alone going home, I felt very sad along the way. Not because of the exhaustion, but it’s me walking just alone. That’s why if a friend or two were coming along to walk home, I’d be very very happy. Or sometimes, my father took us home (my mom and I), he would have left the office for a while. Then I used to ask him to stop by the Comissary; the mini market there. It provided daily needs such as meat, chicken, vegetables, flour, baby diaper, shampoo, and everything we’d need they almost had it all. It was really such a mood booster to shop here after a tiring day at school, haha. And everytime I got there, I immediately went to the bread, snack, and chocolate section…haha…kids.
Elementary school stage was the busiest day of my childhood. I went to some extracurricular activities like volleyball, music, some english courses, scouts, swimming lesson, and of course, playing hard 😀 Some were held at school (like volleyball and basketball), some outside the school. Like scouts, the basecamp was in Palem (palm) Camp. Oh yes, every district in Rumbai Camp were sort of trees names, like Enau Camp, Iksora Camp, Sawit Camp, Jati (teak) Camp, etc. And btw, I was born when my parents living in Damar Camp.
Speaking about swimming, I loved it so much. As a child, I could swim for hours that my fingers and toes then got wrinkly. The swimming pool located inside the Rumbai Country Club (RCC), in front of the Main Office of Chevron Rumbai. There were 2 pools; for toddlers and adults. The water and the pool environment were always clean, with open space and green trees on one side. How could I not like to swim here! And swimming here was free of charge, as long as we were the employee’s family member, just show the badge. Mine was long gone, but I still remember how it looked like. A bit regretting why I didn’t keep it well, otherwise I would have had a remembrance by now. Hmm. If we got hungry after swimming, there was a snack bar inside the RCC to buy hamburger, sandwich, french fries; fast food. Ahh…how I miss that moment and the friend whom I used to go swim with, she’s my neighbor, I’m wondering where she is now..
And btw, this RCC was usually a main venue for any ceremonies or event held indoor. I didn’t remember what this event was, but I had ever come to a “bingo” thing event, yes to play bingo, all of the employees with their families! The event was so great and big (and of course it’s crowded), with many cool door prizes. And my farewell ceremonies of elementary school and junior high were also held here.
One of my favorite extracurriculars was definitely english course with the expats. I just loved it learning another languange, I thought it was very interesting (at that age, maybe I was in 3rd or 4th grade). Besides, making conversation with and talking to the native speakers might be the best way I could learn more than just a theory lesson at school, at least I tried to understand how to pronounce the words properly by listening to them talking. This course was held in Training Center Rumbai that formerly of a theater. Yes, we also had a theater here. When my older brother attended his kindergarten farewell ceremony, it was held in this old theater, before it then moved to a new building, and the old one became a training center for the employees. And that the new theater was so cool, it played a movie for kids almost every weekend. Veeery fun. I went there with my friends. All we needed to be allowed in was just that badge again. Caltex badge for employee’s family member.
After years haven’t seen Rumbai, I have to admit that I miss it. And I remember that there was a particular strong feeling that always hit me in the heart every time I heard of it or came by to it. I believed it because of the memory my father. After he passed away couple years ago, Rumbai Camp was like a memory treasures of me and him, I still keep them very fresh in this mind. Many things we had done together there. When I passed through his former offices (he’s ever been placed in some departments in Rumbai, so more than one office), I couldn’t go through without turning my head and staring at his office. Sometimes, when he had not been able to pick me up after school, I would walk to his office and he would wait outside. I remembered the way he stood in front of the building waiting for me, waved his hand, and smiled at me. This what makes Rumbai Camp very special in my heart, because I can recall the sweet memories.
After graduated from high school, I moved to Jakarta to enter college. And then got married, and now I am still living in Jakarta. I think that is the new place where I belong now which means I infrequently come home to Rumbai. The last time I went home was about 2 years ago, and I took my daughter to play in one of the playgrounds there. She was very happy, just like how I was as a child at my time…
I couldn’t have done this nostalgic post without all those beautiful photos above. Thanks a lot! 🙂 -except a photo of a little girl in the end, it’s mine, she’s my daughter :))
Photo Courtesy :
http://www.kaskus.co.id/thread/000000000000000007845690/chevron-camp-rumbai http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1464342&page=3 https://www.flickr.com/photos/cutecoder/94741623/ http://libisriau.weebly.com/