Fayetteville, March 30, 2011

Dear Sir/Madam,

I would like to sincerely express my gratitude for helping us with the “Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami” fundraising today by purchasing the Lontar Cake or Kue Lontar in Bahasa Indonesia. This cake is from the eastern part of Indonesia (Papua Barat, West Papua or Irian Jaya). It obtained the name “Lontar” from the plate it used, a concave dish with fish paintings at the bottom.

The recent earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan has consequently brought all of the memories’ of my own loses back. I am from the Province of Aceh, Indonesia, which was devastated by an 8.9 earthquake at the Richter scale, and triggered a tsunami. Personally, I missed four family members; by missing I mean that we never found the bodies of my father, older sister, and my two youngest brothers. It is because of this that our lives will never be the same. Despite all of the difficulties that my family and I endured following the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake, it was also a defining moment for me as well. I was touched by the flow of humanitarian aids pouring into my region. Having experienced working for two-and-half years for the Indonesian government agency for post-tsunami rehabilitation and reconstruction, and later the UNDP. These experiences have reshaped my view toward international relations, and also beckoned the call for humanity to stand for others in the face of disaster. It is through aid and socio-politics, that a way to move forward, and heal our trauma, and talk about our experiences immerges.

I have been in their position, and I know that if you have hope, nothing could stop you from moving forward. This is also the message that I wish to convey to all the survivors of Japanese earthquake and tsunami. “I deeply understood your loses but you are not alone. Together, we could move forward and heal this trauma.” And you, along with this pie that you are having in your hand right now, is a part of this humanitarian journey as well; my journey and the Japanese people’s journey.

As you take this pie home, I would share with you the recipe so you could enjoy this pie at any other time in the future.

Lontar Cake/Kue Lontar
1 pie crust
8 egg yolks
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can hot water (use the sweetened condensed milk can for measurement)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Beat egg yolks in a medium bowl with an electric mixer at 4-5 speed scale (out of 10) until the color is changed to a pale yellow.
2. Gradually begin adding the sweetened condensed milk and hot water, keep beating them
3. Add the vanilla extract and keep beating until the vanilla extract mix evenly
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
5. Put the mix on the top of pie crust
6. Bake it at 320 degrees for 45 minutes or until cooked (I usually press the toothpick into the cake, if no mix stick to it, then it is cooked)

Again, I would like to thank you very much for being a part of this humanitarian journey! A journey that we hope will aid in healing the Japanese people’s trauma and loses.
Warmest regard,

Mirisa Hasfaria
International Cultural Team (ICT) member from Indonesia

Pst: If you want to know more about my story, please feel free to check me out at http://humanlibrary.uark.edu/catalog.asp under the title “2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and My ‘Humanitarian’ Journey”

Background Note – This letter accompanied Lontar Cake that people purchase at the event of University of Arkansas Japan Tsunami Relief Fundraising took place on March 30, 2011. I decided to accompany each plate of the cake with a letter that contained the recipe, so people could make the cake later by themselves. It is also important to note that my Indonesian fellow that was also ICT Member, Petra Kristi Mulyani, had provided me with significant favor; she agreed to share the production costs, we stayed until mid-night to make the pie (5 of them), and we shared some laughs during the baking. I would like to thank Indria Pratiwi also for allowing me to use her Kue Lontar’ picture in this post. She was the person who introduced me to the cake and if you want to know her own version of the recipe, please visit the following link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dapuria-Toko-Kue-Lontar-di-Jogja/232228973458915?id=232228973458915&sk=notes