Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cabbage Patch Girl

I was recently in North Sumatra. While visiting an orchard, I enjoyed watching and playing with the children.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Farewell and Family Lovin'

Yesterday, a large part of my family took me to the airport to wish me well and see me off. It was a hard day and I still feel like I just arrived in Indonesia and I can't believe I was there for nearly 4 months. I quickly become one of the Napitupulu daughters and the love given to me from my aunties, cousins, and immediate family is incredible. Here are some photos from our last minutes at the airport. Photos are from my cousin/dear sister Priscilla! 

This is the Jatiwaringin (my street) crowd! Pak Edu and Ibu Indah (my host parents), Edwin, Hanny, Priscilla, family!

My aunties! tante Lilit and tante Dottie.

My cousin Catlin and me.

Priscilla and me! We are a good duo!
This is Beatrice and me...we like to have fun!  One of my cousins! 

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Girl Effect (How about the child effect)

About two weeks ago I woke up with 104 degree fever, little did I realize I wouldn't be teaching for the rest of my time here in Indonesia. See here in Jakarta, no matter what I do or how much I try to prevent myself from interacting with mosquitos, they still like to munch on me or rather I should say tap into my veins looking for a little snack. That is okay if I am at home in Alaska, but here the annoying bugs have dengue fever. Well you can guess... that's what I got. Or had, now I am just recovering and trying to regain all my stamina. Laying around the last few weeks has given me much time to think about things... 
One thing I am thinking about is how I miss working with students...and I can't seem to go a day without thinking of all the children in Kampung Bugis (about a 4 hour boat ride from the popular destination island, Batam). There most boys start work and quit school by age 14 and girls are usually married off by the time they are 18. 
In Indonesia, education is not free and available for all children like it was for me growing up. I am not sure how or what it will look like, but I would love to open the doors of education to the poor and to children who are oppressed and are in need of help in the developing world. 

While resting, I don't have access to going to buy the book, but I have wanted to read Three cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time, for sometime now. I am now listening to it audibly. The author helps start schools in remote villages of Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Similarly, the Girl Effect is a campaign to provide girls in the developing world with education or support for their business ventures. I have a big heart for young girls, especially those trapped in sex-slave trade. But really I just want to see us investing in the next children of our future. 
Providing children with holistic education will not just benefit the individual child, but villages and towns will grow and develop. People will have new jobs and opportunities to live longer with a better quality for life. I have gotten to work with students in some of the most privileged of schools (including Sekolah Global Prestasi and St. Fransiskus Asisi, where President Barack Obama spent 3 years of his life studying in primary school) and also with some of the poorest kids who don't have a chance for a future they dream of and they live surrounded by trash, sicknesses and just a hard life from the beginning. I know now, that equality will not be reached in this life time...but I believe we are called to help those who need it. To help the poor, sick, orphans, and widows. 
I remember this boy, Andre, who is 14 and he desperately wants to be a doctor, but he cannot afford to go to school. I sat with his mother on several occasions as she cried about her son's lack of being able to continue school much longer and be a doctor. She cried because she was a single mother, in a shack and she was barely making it. 

This link is to a video is from: The Girl Effect but what if we thought about all children in general. 

 You can go to some colleges in Indonesia for $200 USD a year (including tuition, extra fees, room and board). Some can continue on to their completion of their Master's degree for $700 dollars a semester (at the top university). Really, I don't know if money is the issue. We can always raise money for donations for NGO's...but what about relationships. What about actually investing in childrens' lives. Maybe that means you are a teacher, a neighbor, a mentor....but holistic education equips children to live and walk through all of life's twists and turns. 
Even though I have a mere 4 weeks of in the classroom teaching experience from Jakarta, I have spent more times with lots of children from various villages and islands and I realize now how important it is to be with these kids. Teaching I believe is one of the hardest, overwhelming/stressful, frustrating, rewarding, fun, and enlightening jobs I think someone could have. I will learn a lot more and have more adjectives to describe "teaching" as I continue to work with students. 
I get excited to think about working with kids such as those in Kampung Bugis, or on the streets of Jarkarta, Cambodia...the girls without education in Ethiopia...the struggling students in my neighborhood of 82nd and Glisan (USA). I don't know what or how, but first it starts with getting to know kids individually. What is their story. 
I had my students keep journals and I was impressed with the creativity these used to express themselves and paint a picture of their lives. It was a joy to get to know them. Even tykes and little munchkins have a story. I have met many....

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Indonesian Presidential Election

Last Wednesday, Indonesia came together to vote for their next president. Presidential terms are 5 years in length and serving Indonesia for the last 5 has been SBY (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono). Over 60% of the votes were in his favor and SBY was re-elected for a second term. I had the chance to accompany my host brother, Edwin to the polls for his first time to vote. Here you can vote when you are 17. It was really exciting to see how many people took the opportunity to vote. There were 171,265,442 voters and maybe more ...which is about 74% of the total population of Indonesia! How cool is that! What's even neater is that a lot of the people who voted are considered the uneducated peoples of Indonesia, but they still take their voting privileges very seriously. Each ballot has a picture of each presidential and vice presidential candidate, so even the pre-literate peoples of Indonesia can vote.

After each person votes by checking one of the pictures, the voters dips a finger into purplish-blue ink to show that he or she voted.

Like Edwin:

These are other photos that I thought were neat. I think they reflect a spirit of Indonesians that is strong and that desires to continue to see change brought to their country. SBY has done a good job at minimizing corruption and providing economic growth. And many are excited that SBY will be in office for the next 5 years. The following photos are from the Jakarta Post.

Prisoners' voices: A number of prisoners at Purbalingga, Central Java, show off their inked fingers after voting at the Purbalingga Penitentiary on Wednesday. JP/Agus Maryono

Voting from bed: Dina Sofia, a resident of Pondok Indraprasta in Semarang, Central Java, votes from Elisabeth Hopsital in Semarang on Wednesday after just giving birth.

Made their mark: Incumbent president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (second left) and his family show their ink-stained thumbs after casting their votes at a polling station near their residence in Nagrak village, Bogor, West Java on Wednesday. Unofficial quick count polls show he won majority of the vote.

Pole dance: Child dancers entertain voters at the Patuk voting booth in Yogyakarta on Wednesday.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ambonese Cuisine: Ikan

Ambon is the land of fresh fish!

I ate ikan (fish) every day in Ambon! My friend lives right off the ocean and the fisherman unload their mornings catch near to her house. I loved to wake up early and watch the fisherman out on the water fishing and then watch as they come in and start selling all sorts of fish.

Unloading the fish...come and get a looksy.

I am not sure what kind of fish these little guys are, but I am pretty sure they resemble herring...which I have only used for bait in the past, catching nummy salmon...however, I actually really like these fish...I think I like pretty much any fish. 

More fish and traditional Ambonese food there is mixed vegetable and jack fruit in the large bowl and sweet/hot sambal for the fish in the other bowl. 

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Fascinating Children

Welcome to Jakarta! I am living in East Jakarta with the Napitupulu family and I am also teaching English at two different schools. Lucky for me and my love for children, the house is conveniently shares land with two schools full of anak-anak (children). I have found that with the lack of people I know in this big city, I am making fast friends with the children and teachers at Pilar Bangsa, one of the schools here...and I don't even teach there!


These are some of the primary school students and the K-2 class (in white shirts) I have gotten close to. While I was away for two weeks, the K-2 class drew pictures and wrote corresponding captions and then gave them to me. They were about Ms. Kelly and Ms. T (their teacher and a close friend here in Jakarta. I love to hang out with these kids during their recess!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Be a Modern Day Abolitionist of Slavery

Seth Johnson recently took a trip to SE Asia with friend and photographer, Fritz Liedtke, and together they witnessed first hand the repulsive treatment of women and girls trapped in the sex slave trade.
Fritz took this picture. There are more on his blog and website. He is a gifted photographer.

In grade school, I learned that slavery was an awful time in history. What I didn't learn was that slavery wasn't history, slavery is still occurring today and it is worse than the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade I studied about in textbooks. Slavery isn't something to read about in a book, it is reality, a treacherous reality where books can't contain the depths of human depravity that would even be responsible for such an act. Yet here I am talking about it. I wish so much that it could just end, but change and loosening of chains is a process and requires the many caring compassionate hands. 

I have so many more thoughts and concerns on Human Trafficking, but I wanted to post this quick blurb about it and later I will return to share my heart for those that are caught in the monstrous hands of the devils snare, slavery. Seth Johnson is a friend of mine who is proactively taking initiative to bring about a change, to see the chains loosened for the 27 million individuals enslaved globally (including girls from local high schools in my Portland backyard). Seth will be running a marathon in a week and he is raising money to go towards Transitions Global, a local anti-human trafficking organization in Oregon. I ask you to check out their efforts and give. Seth is hoping to get 1000 pledges of 27 dollars each. This is for the rehabilitation of girls who have been brutalized and trafficked from our own neighborhoods.  

Our economy maybe in shambles, but if we don't put human lives' first, we will only see more and more people falling victim to slavery. Human Trafficking is the second most lucrative illegal money making industry in the world. We spend more money enslaving people than saving them. Help those who don't have a voice.