New Beginnings Near the End

7 Nov

Sadly, I couldn’t put pictures on this blog post – we’re using a modem with limited data usage minutes (or something to that effect) because the internet provider in Indonesia, Telkomsel, is refusing to turn our internet back on, claiming we didn’t pay for last January and February. We definitely did, and we have the goods to prove it, but this is Indonesia, so I am thankful for the modem! This just means no pictures on my blog or Facebook, no Youtube and no video calling on Skype until further notice.

We have a new addition to the Peduli Anak family, and his name is Laurens (pronounced “lao-rents”, exactly like it sounds)! He’s from Holland, like Marjolein (pronounced “mar-(yuh)-line”, with the middle syllable like a schwa) and he’s really great! This is his first time to Indonesia, and he’ll be doing an internship here for six months. He has a background in psychology and is going to be observing and working with the children to look at some of the behavioral issues they may have. To welcome Laurens, we went to a restaurant called The Square in Senggigi, and Sunday we made Dutch pancakes at Jess’s house together. We also got a drink called es kelapa muda, which I haven’t tried yet in the (almost) year I have been living here! It’s coconut meat, coconut water, condensed milk, gula merah (red or palm sugar), and lots of limes and lime juice with ice all mixed together – so delicious!

Unfortunately, I and Marjolein are both leaving at the end of this week – M on Thursday, and I on Saturday. It’s sort of sad to see a new face come to YPA and then have to leave so soon! I’m definitely excited for this week though – it’ll be great to have time to say goodbye to the kids and to everyone else I’ve met here that have made me promise to return.

Sunday, yesterday, was an Islamic holiday, Idul Adha (Eid al-Adha in Arabic), which is a celebration of sacrifice and giving to the poor. It originates from the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son, Ismail (Ishmael), to God (wherein God, impressed with Ibrahim’s willingness to carry out God’s will, told him to replace his son with a ram to sacrifice instead). Each year, villages band together to purchase a goat (cost: ~ 1 million rupiah, or roughly $113) or a cow (cost: ~ 7.5 million rupiah, or roughly $850 – both of these animals are VERY expensive for Indonesians). These animals are killed in a manner that is halal, or religiously acceptable according to the Qur’an, and then distributed accordingly, usually at the local mosque. The family who owns/buys/slaughters (depending) the animal retains 1/3; another third is given to friends, relatives, and neighbors; and the last third is given to the poor. Pak Agus, one of the people who helped Chaim found YPA, said this holiday is all about giving back to the poor. Because all of the children at YPA are considered to be impoverished, YPA kept the goat to have for lunch and dinner for the entire foundation.

This year, YPA sacrificed a goat and kept it relatively simple (things were a little different last year: my friend, Ibu Nurmiaty, had 4 cows sacrificed at her house, and MAN Insan Cendekia had 11 cows sacrificed at their school!). I found out today that Pak Dan, a social worker for YPA, went to Central Lombok for Idul Adha, and there they sacrificed 300 cows for the surrounding villages! If 25 people get the meat of 1 cow (what he told me) then those cows fed around 7,500 people.

This year, they hung the goat on a tree to make cutting the meat off the carcass easier, which definitely looked creepy. For some reason, the sight of blood and seeing an animal being killed, especially in the calm and careful, non-violent way the people in Indonesia do it, does not bother me. The kids also help a lot by sorting stew meat from sate meat, and taking apart and cleaning the innards of the goat (and playing with them dangerously close to you, too!) This might sound disgusting to some of you, but I think seeing where your meat comes from makes it more delicious. This year I also helped a little by putting the goat meat on sticks to make sate (basically pieces of cooked meat (can be chicken, beef, etc.) on a stick, this time with sweet sauce and spicy peanut sauce). With some goat stew and rice, it was the most delicious meal I’ve eaten at YPA so far!

In the coming weeks, I’m planning to travel to Bali to see my friends Max and Emily, to Tana Toraja to see some animist funerals and see Rachel, to Jakarta to see Marjolein and see Zie Avi perform, and of course go to Gorontalo to say goodbye to home again πŸ™‚ Than on to Israel for 2 weeks, then HOME! I’ve been missing the snow recently (partly because I’ve been watching movies like Home Alone and Groundhog Day, both of which have snow in them, and also because in the afternoons it almost gets cold because of all the rain), and unlike last year, I am really REALLY looking forward to coming home for a long while!

As a PS (and a substitute for no pictures), I’d like to link you to two articles that are really pertinent to my life right now: Hillary Clinton’s article in Foreign Policy Magazine about America’s future collaboration with Asian countries (particularly Indonesia), and an article in the Jakarta Post about the pros and cons of having native speakers in Indonesian schools. Here is also a link to pictures of Eid al-Adha celebrations worldwide – look for a photo of Indonesians celebrating too!

Next up: my last week at Peduli Anak, and some things everyone should know about Indonesia.

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One Response to “New Beginnings Near the End”

  1. Tammela November 7, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    I like the thought behind that Islamic holiday. Giving to the poor. Something we should all do more of.

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