David Patrinam starts his tours in the Room of Hysteria. From there, onward to the Balcony of Hazards, and then to a confessional-type closet: The Room of Reflection.
Patrinam is the manager of Indonesia’s Disaster Oasis Resort and Training Center (tagline: "A Place of Peace in the Midst of Plight"). Here, at the foot of Indonesia’s most active volcano, he teaches paying guests how to survive extraordinary danger. NGOs and corporations are the most common customers, often renting out the place — and Mr. Patrinam’s services — in order to punctuate organizational conferences with a teambuilding CPR lesson or two.
Overnight guests sleep in an assortment of disaster-themed bungalows; each Disaster Oasis room is built to withstand a different catastrophe. For example, the Aceh bungalow is on stilts, which would have come in handy when the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami washed away most of the Sumatran town, Aceh. (Thirty-meter waves can carry heavy debris, but the stilts are sturdier than you’d think. I arrived by crashing my motorbike into the Aceh bungalow, with little impact.)
After the rooms of Hysteria, Hazards, and Reflection, Mr. Patrinam continues his emergency training program in an unnamed hall, where earthquakes are simulated by shaking a model house, and volcanoes modeled with a few Mentos, a bottle of Fanta, and a few fleeing gummy bears. The emergency exhibitions are unabashedly analog, but $100 fee for disaster relief training makes sense once you see Mr. Patrinam take off his flip-flops and wrap them around his neck.
These, he explains, can be folded into a bandana and then tied to serve as a makeshift neck brace. So can a t-shirt be used as a sling for a broken arm (staple the bottom of the t-shirt up around the arm), banana tree bark as a cast for a broken leg (bend around leg and tie in place), and some bamboo and a bucket as a handicapped-friendly toilet.
Mr. Patrinam’s DIY instinct for dangerous situations is useful in everyday life, as well. When I left the Disaster Oasis, I found my motorbike had been edged out from the parking row and turned 180 degrees to face the street, minimizing any additional hazard I could pose to the Aceh bungalow.
On the street, Mr. David Patrinam shouted smilingly as a way of farewell, "Be careful!"