Students Welcome Secretary Clinton to Jakarta

Posted by Michele Cenzer
February 18, 2009
Students Welcome Secretary Clinton to Jakarta

About the Author: Michele Cenzer serves as Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer at U.S. Embassy Jakarta.

Today a colleague and I took a 43 student choir, their principal, vice principal, and two teachers to the airport to welcome the Secretary of State to Indonesia. They all come from an elementary school, Menteng Elementary School 1, that President Obama attended when he lived in Indonesia. Ever since the President’s inauguration, when the school hosted a congratulatory celebration, the students have been excited. Today they were both excited and nervous.

Working a visit like this means having to think about a lot of little details. We made sure to eat lunch along the way—it was going to be a long day. I brought on-the-go stain remover just in case; you never know when hot sauce might land in the middle of a kid’s shirt. Luckily, everything went great, especially since the kids were dressed in beautiful traditional green batik.

First things first, we took the kids off the bus and straight to the restroom. There would be no time for last minute breaks when the Secretary arrived. Then, we waited around for awhile during last minute security checks. When they were done, we tested the sound system. Everything worked. The weather was hot and humid, so we went to the VIP lounge to test our rainy day scenario and take a break.

Before the Secretary arrived we all got in place, trying to stay calm. The plane landed and people started getting off the plane. The press were gathered behind stanchions. The Secretary descended from the plane and met the Ambassador, his daughter, and several Indonesian VIPs. After the formal greetings, she came straight to get beautiful flowers from two of the students, Kei and Sheila. Secretary Clinton then headed to the choir. This was their moment. The children sang a beautiful traditional song, ending with them waving both the American and Indonesian flags. The Secretary chatted briefly with several of the children and had her picture taken with them. And then she walked to her waiting car, got in, and drove off to her first meeting. What an amazing time!



New Jersey, USA
February 18, 2009

Rosemary in New Jersey writes:

It sounds like a lovely greeting for our beautiful and brilliant Mme. Secretary. Since we all know how much she loves children, I am sure this was a very bright spot in her tour and well worth all of your efforts.

Congratulations, Michele! Looks like you did a great job!

Tommye J.
Texas, USA
February 18, 2009

Tommye Jean in Texas writes:

I wish I could SEE this!

Maryland, USA
February 19, 2009

Patrick in Maryland writes:

Indonesia must be a nice place to live,seeing how Obama turned out after going to school there. I like the photo of the choirs with the plane in the back ground.

I hope your meetings their go as well as they did in Tokyo.

I also liked the comment about the hot sauce, that stuff is hard to get out. Keep sending the great photos & videos.

Have a great trip! Cya :)

California, USA
February 19, 2009

Normita in California writes:

What an awesome responsibility to handle all the minute details of the visit of our country's top diplomat, Madame Secretary Clinton. I am so grateful to see her at the helm of our country's relations with leaders and people around the globe. Be safe.

Connecticut, USA
February 19, 2009

Terry in Connecticut writes:

I have to admit foreign policy is not the best of subject for me given our domestic problems, but following Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's travels abroad is a joy. I am glad Secretary Clinton is getting more coverage in the media. I still get most of my clips of her on the State Dept Website. I will be a faithful poster on this blog as long as Hillary is the Secretary of State. I voted for her in the primaries here in Connecticut a year ago. I then voted for President Obama in last November of course.

United States
February 19, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Regarding Jakarta's threat that unless financial assistance to Indonesia is forthcoming from the US, Indonesia might not be able to continue to be "the beacon of thriving Islam, modernity and democracy", our reply should be that Indonesia should reimburse us for the room and board we provide their more combative friends living in Guantanamo's luxury suites, or we may be unable to continue to be the beacon of tolerance, modernity, and diplomacy.

Virginia, USA
February 26, 2009

Jeanne in Virginia writes:

Michele, what fun! You go girl!


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