The Rain Keeper
A few years ago I worked in Indonesia for an American company. One day I went to a meeting with one of our partners to discuss an event that we would be holding. Our partner was a private university offering business management and political science degrees. My taxi dropped me in front of the lobby and after successfully negotiating the revolving doors I caught the lift up to the 22nd floor. The building was shiny and new, probably one of the most ultra-modern buildings in Jakarta at the time.
While waiting at the university’s reception I met a man. He was wearing a suit and I assumed that he was a business studies teacher or something of the kind. But then he handed over a business card that shocked me. Under his name, his title was listed as dukun hujan or you might say ‘rain keeper’ in English. A title, which was definitely incongruous to the setting I was in. He told me to get in touch if ever I had any events that I needed protecting from the rain—perhaps my wedding or a work event. He said he had the power to shift the rain clouds away for the duration of the event. He could also bring rain if we ever needed rain. All this he did through meditation. I thanked him and continued on to my meeting.
After the meeting I chatted with the program manager for our event. She was Indonesian with her PhD from an Australian university and she was employed by the university. Knowing these details about her I put her in to the ‘rational, educated person’ category in what I see now to be my very limited mind. I mentioned the rain keeper to her and she responded with something like ‘Oh I wonder if he is any good.’ In the same tone one might use to wonder about the quality of the coffee at the new café downstairs. Apparently she had her own personal rain keeper who she used frequently and I wasn’t to worry she had already commissioned his services for our event.
Further casual conversations with staff in my international organization and others revealed that most administration staff had a rain keeper’s contact details in their address book and called on them often for private or work events. During these conversations any suspicion about the efficacy of a rain keeper’s work from my part was met with ‘well you have to believe it for it to work.’
In a way, I guess that it is like anything you do in life. When you really believe in it, you can make it work.