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....