Tag Archives: Peduli Anak

Wrapping Up at Peduli Anak

11 Nov

I have a day left to get everything done before I leave this wonderful place, and I don’t know how I’m going to do it! For lack of something more poetic, here’s my to-do list for tomorrow (again, not pictures because the modem just can’t take it):

1. PACK! (This will take some time – I have a whole bag of souvenirs I bought in Senggigi…)
2. Learning all the words to “Hero” by Mariah Carey for the post-wedding party of Ibu Tania, the 6th grade teacher at YPA
3. Record myself singing children’s song so the teachers at YPA can use them in the classroom
4. Giving copies of my lesson plans/songs/other teaching materials to teachers
5. Recording and editing more videos of children saying their name, their age and what they want to be (I’ve gotten mostly “doctor”, “pilot”, “teacher” and “football player”, as well as one “spa manager”).
6. Running 2 English clubs, where we’ll learn the Banana Song and make snowflakes (kids with scissors, what are you thinking Christina??)
7. Finishing my rough draft of a grant proposal to get a new shelter for the girls at YPA
8. Writing my last volunteer report!

Hopefully I’ll also get to go to Senggigi to buy some last minute items and for a last dinner with Sabrina and Laurens, and I might even go to the eye doctor with Sabrina and Samsul, a boy who has been through a lot but who might be finally getting some glasses!

As some of you know, I came here with some donation money. For the children of YPA, the funds purchased:

– 16 English-Indonesian/Indonesian-English dictionaries for SMP students
– a trip to the beach with snacks and transportation for 3 counselors and 30 kids
– about a dozen library books in Indonesian for beginners
– about 80 pairs of sandals for the kids (they lose them a lot, they’re little!)
– about 70 “rewards” (think moisturizer/perfume for the girls, and hair gel/cologne for the guys) for when the kids do good things to themselves and others
– 2 small drawing tables for the kids who don’t go to school yet (the 3 Musketeers, Dian, Kiki and Nurul)
– cooking utensils, namely a glass blender, a wok, 3 large pots and one huge cooking pot
– bed sheet materials for 10 sheets, and thread and sewing machine needles for 100+ bed sheets
– 5 emergency lights for when the power goes off (which is about every other night for at least 20 minutes)
– payment for the labor hours for making around 100 bed sheets
– (possibly) glasses for Samsul!

As you can see, a little in the US can do a long way here in Indonesia!

I’ve enjoyed my time here so much, and it will be hard for me to leave. Despite all the work I have to get done, I really want to spend my time tomorrow with all the people here, especially the kids! Although it’s not perfect and I’d like to think of a better way to do it, I’m trying to make my work sustainable by passing on lesson plans I did in class to teachers, recording songs I sang in class, and making photocopies of pertinent lesson plans from my books I brought. I’ve also been working with the teachers on pronouncing the text in their textbooks so that they’ll be more confident in speaking English in the classroom and will do it more often. I had such a great time the other day with the female teachers (Ibu Ratna (class 1), Ibu Uci (4), Ibu Sari (5) and Ibu Tania (6)) in teachers’ class- they’re such gossipers and I wish I could just hang with them all the time! Hopefully my lesson plans, pronunciation lessons and my English volunteer guide will help the program flourish and another native speaker will want to come volunteer at YPA!

Sunday, on the way to the airport, I’m going to the wedding after-party for the 6th grade teacher, Ibu Tania – I moved my travel plans a day later just for her! Later that day I’ll spend the night in Surabaya to drop off my two suitcases I won’t need for 3 weeks. Monday I’m off to Bali, on an adventure I have yet to plan! I forgot that Obama is coming to Bali on Thursday, so it’s possible I could leave before then, or I could be stuck there until he leaves! I’ll keep you all posted.

I’m going to leave you with some idioms that Indonesians sometimes use:

Nasi sudah menjadi bubur (literally: The rice has already become porridge): This means you can’t take back what you said or did, whatever that was!

Siapa menabur angin akan menuai badai (One who spreads the wind will get a storm): Someone who says something bad has it coming to them…

Mencari jarum di tumpukan jerami: Looking for a needle in a haystack (also, mendirikan benang basah (to make a wet thread stand up straight) – to be impossible!

Guru kencing berdiri, murid kencing berlari (If a teacher pees standing, his students will pee while running): I don’t quite get why the kids are running, but this means “to set a bad example”.

Air beriak tanda tak dalam (water that is not calm is shallow): to signify a shallow person (we have a similar one, “still waters run deep”, in English).

Karena nila setitik rusak susu sebelanga (one drop of poison ruins the whole bucket of milk): small mistakes ruin everything.

My personal favorite:
Gaja dipelupuk mata tidak kelihatan, kuman diseberang lautan terlihat (literally: You can’t see an elephant in front of you, but you can see a bacteria across the ocean): you can’t see the obvious.

I’ll write next from Bali!


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 🙂 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.

A Busy Few Weeks at Peduli Anak

31 Oct

So many things have been happening at Peduli Anak since I got back! My first week back was so busy – every day I did something with the kids! In addition to teaching and the extracurricular stuff I planned for, the weekend had two important events that deserve their own post. I’m also going to make a very concerted effort to post once a week, so we’ll see how it goes!

Last Saturday, a group of dentists took over the auditorium and provided free dental checkups to all the kids at YPA, as well as anyone from the local village and anyone involved in the social services program that is connected to YPA (about 90 families are involved). Many teeth were pulled and tears were shed, but everyone was done in a few hours! I comforted many kids, younger and older, most of whom were just crying because they were scared or uncomfortable. Most of the problems the kids encountered were that they had gingivitis from not brushing enough, so their gums would bleed a little which scared them. The good news is gingivitis is totally preventable at their age! The dentists were very kind, amazingly kept everything sanitary, and were extremely thorough – they did everything from cleaning to teeth pulling 🙂 The group was from the Netherlands – one of the dentists lives in Senggigi (a touristy city north of Mataram, the capital) and organizes the whole group to come to YPA and other villages/areas once a year. This is their tenth year coming to YPA! The founder of YPA, Chaim (also from the Netherlands) also got a free check-up 🙂

On Sunday, part of my donated funds paid for 40 kids and myself, Marjolein and Pak Muklis (one of the YPA counselors) to go to the beach for the day (the total cost was all of $24…not bad!) Little did I know how hard it would be to keep everyone both happy and safe! Luckily around 20 of the kids could swim by themselves and some others were not so into going into the water, but most of the time I had five kids begging me to swim with them and clinging to me. I joked with them that “pulau Christina ramai” which means “Christina Island is crowded”. I felt like an island with so many kids attached to me! I would usually have two on the back, one under each arm, and one in the front with their arms around my neck. Nana, a 4th grader, got mad at me because I wasn’t paying enough attention to her, but then later she got tired of being mad and came back and cuddled with me. Hanging out with all of them made me realize how much I myself want kids someday! Seeing how happy they are almost every day, it’s hard to imagine what they felt like before they came to live at YPA.

This week progressed as normal. I taught my kids a little about Halloween – we talked about ghosts, witches, zombies and vampires, I learned about some Indonesian ghosts, and after they asked the question “Trick or treat! May I have some candy?” I gave them a piece of candy! On Monday, my fellowship application for the Shansi is due, which will be awesome to have out of the way 🙂

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This weekend has also been fun – Friday night, Martina, Marjolein and I went to a great coffee shop and ate dinner and had a work party/talking about love and life. Saturday in the morning, Marjolein and I decided to go to Gili Air, which is a small island in a trio of islands (the others being Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan, which is the biggest/most famous). We dived together once and say some amazing fish, and then today, Sunday, I dived and saw 4 sharks, 2 sting rays, and 2 turtles! I forgot how much I loved diving, and how much I want to buy an underwater case for my camera and a dive computer! We came back from Gili Air this afternoon (it takes around 3 hours round trip to get there if you time it right). Tomorrow night we’re hoping to get together with Jen and/or Jess, the two ETAs teaching in Mataram, to watch Hocus Pocus in honor of Halloween! Now I’m just preparing for the week (which will include editing the current English curriculum, making a guide for future English teaching volunteers, researching potential grants for YPA, and making a video of the kids sharing their dreams) and putting the finishing touches on the Shansi application – wish me luck!

Peduli Anak Updates

20 Oct

Sorry I’ve been so bad at updating! I have no excuse – with the exception of 5 days on the road in various places, I have had excellent internet access. People have just been so awesome and wonderful, yet again.

In the past few weeks I’ve been figuring out my role at Peduli Anak, and I’ve already established a few activities that I’ll be doing every week. First, I am teaching English to all six elementary school grades, but this only takes up 6 hours of my time. I’ve also been organizing 3 English clubs (which may become 2), helping kids who go to the junior high school at night do their homework, training Syafaat and Agus on how to give tours (they gave one without me the other day and I was so proud!), and giving a teacher training class once a week on Saturdays to all the elementary school teachers with Pak Ali. It’s been going well so far, but it’s a lot different than last year. I’m speaking more Indonesian in class this year because my students speak less English because they’re younger, and most of the teachers I teach with don’t speak English because they teach all classes at the elementary level. This means I have to improvise a lot in Indonesian, which is making my language acquisition a little better everyday. I also sing A LOT more – it keeps the little kids from getting bored. I’m excited too because the teachers are learning more fun ways to teach English, and I can already see the English of some of the teachers improving. It also means each class is an adventure! I’ve been teaching anything from learning how to say “Good morning, good afternoon and goodnight” through song to the 1st graders to describing celebrities (are they tall, thin, athletic, etc.) with 6th graders.

The entrance to the Foundation - it's a really nice place.

A view from the school, where I teach.

Emily and her assistant Esmi came to visit! Nurul (on the left), Dian and Kiki hung out with us for a while 🙂

English Club is also interesting – last year the only disruptions I had were students talking, but this year I have to keep them really interested otherwise they get out of their seats! I end up with six or seven kids who really want to be there (out of about 10-15) which is totally fine – right now we’re playing games and dancing and occasionally drawing (the younger kids tend to want to do that) so I’ll be working more in the framework of having fun rather than doggedly pursuing skills learning. I am also going to be setting up a volunteer position specifically for English teaching at Peduli Anak so hopefully they’ll have someone there most of the year who’s had experience and is a native speaker :).

In Narmada, where Emily, Jess and Jen (the two ETAs on Lombok this year), Ibu Grace (a lecturer and researcher at the University of Indonesia and also one of the teachers at ETA Orientation) and I went one afternoon.

All the kids lined up for a school photo 🙂

One of my 4th grade students, Nana, took pictures during English Club - this is me, Elma (center) and Isnul having a conversation.

Me with Nana on my back!

I’m really enjoying my time there in other ways too. I’ve become good friends with Ibu Dian, Eni and Ina who all work in the office, and have worked a lot with Pak Ali (who is one of the school coordinators, and also a local volunteer!) and am getting to know him better. It’s been nice having Martina here this week to bounce ideas off of, get feedback and clarity on my goals, and hang out! The teachers and I also get along really well – it’s nice because most of them are still under 30 and are not married yet so we have a lot in common :). They tease me about finding a boyfriend in Lombok and have invited me to hang out with them when I get back, so I’m very excited for that. Marjolein and I are very good roommates – she’s so sweet and reminds me a little of Casey because she’s a little quiet but so thoughtful and caring 🙂 The volunteer who is here during the day, Sabrina from Germany, is really great too and we usually get ote-ote (flour and veggies fried together that form a lump, a traditional food generally from the Lombok/East Java area) and Nutri Sari (what I imagine Tang tastes like)/coffee at our morning break together. I’m quite happy here, and plan to do around 3 more weeks of work at the Foundation.

The following photos, including my featured photo above, are courtesy of Martina Natratilova Fetter.

Me teaching 1st graders how to say "Hi my name is _______."

High five, you got it dude!

Me and the kids in 1st grade reviewing a song about good morning, good afternoon and good night - we're singing about night time now, in case you couldn't tell 🙂

I’ll be leaving around November 8th – 10th, depending on what’s going on in Gorontalo and when my visa renewal gets processed. Two people (Mr. Zay, a security guard/general office guy at MAN Limboto, and Mr. Oi, the school driver) are planning on getting married around the 10th of November, the Bahasa Indonesia teacher at MAN Limboto and my former neighbor Ibu Fatma’s daughter is having a mandi lemon (lemon-water bath) ceremony, which I think has something to do with coming of age in Islam, on the 12th, and Ibu Sarkiah and Pak Herson are coming back from haji (pilgrimage to Mecca, one of the five pillars of Islam) on the 14th, so I have a lot of invitations to go back to Limboto and Gorontalo around that time! Unless I pay to expedite it, my visa renewal could take up to 5 days, and once I renew it I have 30 days until I have to renew it again (at which point, if all goes as planned I will be on a plane to Israel). My visa expires around the 7th of November, so I’ll have to extend it before then and before I go to Gorontalo – I have a lot still to figure out with my supervisors at Peduli Anak. I realize now that Gorontalo is a huge priority for me now and I want to spend a lot of time there because after December 5th, I don’t know when I’ll visit Indonesia again – sometime in the next 5 years is all I can say for sure.

Next post: my adventures on my 10 days of vacation! The featured picture above is of me teaching 1st graders how to count to six 🙂

My Second Home, Gorontalo

27 Sep

Greetings from Lombok,

Now that I’ve had a few days apart from Gorontalo, I can tell you all about it.

In so many ways, it felt like coming home, and while I was there, it seemed as though being in America felt like an extended vacation. I swear if I strike it rich someday, I’ll build a house there so I can visit whenever I want. I lived with my Indonesian mother, Ibu Sarkiah, and my sisters, Rya and Yheyen, and my little brother Sultan (bad-ass name, huh?). I saw so many people I loved. I met the new ETAs, Lisa and Marjorie, who are so much more prepared and adaptable than I was when I first came to Gorontalo and Limboto. I went to my school and saw all my old students, teachers, and friends who work there. I hung out with my friend/former student Tyara and went to the house of Mr. Marwan, the guy who cleaned my house, to drink coconut water and give his family baby clothes. I went to MAN Insan Cendekia to see Trisna and Chicha, two of the funniest ladies I know. I had my 25th birthday party at Ibu Sarkiah’s house, and everyone I loved, including the principal of Insan Cendekia, Pak Suwardi and his family, came. I sang karaoke with some amazing Indonesians. I went to a village where few people spoke Bahasa Indonesia and rode horses, snorkeled, and went to the most beautiful beach in Gorontalo province. I got to eat amazing food like milu siram/corn soup, ikan bakar/grilled fish, gurita sate/octopus satay and gohu/(banana “heart”, coconut, lime, and chili). And, perhaps best of all, I got to see my best friend Yunus and talk every day about things I rarely talk about with my American friends – religion, peace, and the wonders and horrors of the world. It was extremely hard to leave, and I cried on the plane rides to Lombok. People from there say that they will miss me, but they don’t have to, because I’ll always come back. While I was there, I also did some work on some essays for the Shansi Fellowship (two-year fellowship to do outreach and mobilization in northern India for women and other minorities, funded through Oberlin) – Gorontalo turned out to be a really inspirational place for writing about cultural exchange. I’ve learned that though I would like to spend my time in between both Gorontalo and Boston, there’s almost no way to make that happen in the way I want to. So I must be insane for trying, right? 😉

It’s hard to get specific about being in Gorontalo – not to get sappy, but when I’m there, it’s like I have everything I want. But there’s no way for me to be fully made an insider, and I will always be given special treatment, which, while it’s very nice, is an indicator that I will always be a princess, and will never quite fit in. I went into the ETA experience expecting 9 months to be the perfect amount of time to be at home in a place, and I thought that feeling would disappear little by little once I went home. Now I know that if I let it, it could stay with me forever. Unless I get off the fence, I’ll never been truly happy about where I am at the moment. I am a person that, despite my love of traveling, needs a place to put down roots. I’m not there yet, but I will be someday soon. I’m afraid that if I keep up all this traveling, I’ll be constantly torn between what I know/what I’m comfortable with, and a world that can only exist short term. Then again, I have been told that traveling an exploring the world is exactly what an adventurous 25-year-old should be doing. But people say that as if this is a phase of my life I should be getting out of my system, before I have things that tie me down, like marriage and a job and kids, that prevent me from traveling. What if I don’t want to be tied down, and what if I never get to the point where I’m happy staying in one place?

Here are some pictures of Gorontalo:

Rici and Yunus at my friend Ibu Yuni's house.

Rici, Ibu Yuni, Syifa (her 3 month old baby) and I

In Boalemo, Yunus' second home - all these bananas are going to be fried!

Yunus 1 and Yunus 2 - everyone says the little one could be his brother.

Milu (corn) and gohu (heart of banana, coconut, chili, deliciousness) - I LOVE Gorontalo so much for its food.

They caught this while Yunus and I snorkeled...gurita (octopus) sate later! I should send this photo to the Patriots - I guarantee you their logo has never made it to a place this remote.

Me and half the village 🙂 I love these guys!

I look happy, but there is so much fear of falling under that smile...

This beach is the most beautiful one in Gorontalo province - I just thought the height progression in this photo was hilarious 🙂

Pak Suwardi, the principal of MAN Insan Cendekia, and Yunus decide who's going to karaoke for me first 🙂

Sorry this is from so far away, but I needed to show you how tall the tree is and how that man is climbing it like it's no thing.

Princess Tyara and me 🙂

At Mr. Marwans house again - babies!

Karaokeing with some of Yunus' friends - they are so cute and great singers!

Enough. I’m in Lombok now, at a wonderful foundation called Peduli Anak. I’m going to be teaching here for a few weeks, for an as yet undetermined amount of time. I have about 10 weeks left in Indonesia, and I want to spend about half of that time here at the foundation, and the other half traveling, diving and in Gorontalo. I’ll be teaching 1st through 6th grade English speaking class, running English club, organizing activities for the girls shelter, tutoring and helping with homework, and training Agus and Syafa’at, two 15-year old boys, to be tour guides for the Foundation. I’ll also be training the teachers in how to incorporate more speaking and fun activities into their teaching and probably doing some grant research. It’s nice to have my priorities so clearly mapped out, and to be able to design my own program. I feel really needed here, and it’s been great getting to know the kids, from 3 year olds to 17 year olds. I also have been hanging out with Jess and Jen, two ETAs teaching at high schools in the area, and Marjolein and Sabrina, two volunteers working at PA from Holland and Germany, respectively. Marjolein has a background in anthropology and is thinking about doing research here, and she’s also my lovely roomate! Sabrina just arrived yesterday and she’s going to be working during the day with the kids in the shelters doing various activities – her background is in child therapy. All of us are 25 and get along really well. Everyone here is so nice and my Indonesian is rapidly improving, to the point where I am exhausted just from speaking it all day! I just got an invite from one of the ladies who works at the canteen and the kitchen to come see her family at her house tomorrow, which should be a great time, since I don’t speak a word of Sasak, the local language! In my experience so far, the more you talk to the people around you, the more comfortable everyone feels. I think I’ll start waking up at 6am to get to morning tea with the teachers by 7am, because we all have a lot of work to do together and making friends will get me a lot farther and make me seem less foreign to them.

More later when I get settled! (That’s a picture of my birthday cake up top, by the way.)