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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Letter to President Obama

May 15, 2010
Dear Mr. President:
Selamat pagi! We, the 19 Peace Corps trainees in Indonesia, would like to sincerely thank you for the
privilege afforded us to serve in the beautiful country of Indonesia. Due largely to your administration’s
efforts, we are the first group from the Peace Corps in nearly 45 years to be hosted by the Indonesian
people. We arrived in Jakarta on March 18, but unfortunately, missed the opportunity of meeting you.
However, we, along with the rest of Indonesia, are excited that you are coming in June to revisit the land of
your childhood! Everywhere we go, we meet Indonesians who are proud to claim you as one of their own
because of the years you spent in SDN Menteng 01.
We would like to extend to you, Mrs. Obama, Sasha, and Malia, a personal invitation to our swearing in
ceremony, which will be held on June 3. Not only would we be honored by your presence, it would also
be a once in a lifetime opportunity to solidify ties between the United States and Indonesia through
extraordinary circumstances.
We have spent these past two months training near Malang, in East Java, in preparation for our twoyear
assignments as English teachers. We have all fallen in love with this country! Each of us is staying
with host families to learn Bahasa Indonesia, the culture, and education system. We have just completed
practicum sessions at local senior high schools, and are currently planning our community projects, some
of which include painting wall murals, helping underprivileged children, and renovating houses.
It is common knowledge here that you are particularly fond of bakso and sate. In Pandanrejo, one of
the villages which houses four of us, there is a street food vendor who handles his makeshift operation
off his motorcycle. He calls his store “Bakso Obama,” and loves it when we call him by “Obama.” In our
opinion, his bakso is the best in Indonesia. We would love to host our very own Bakso Summit with you
and the first family as our guests, where we will be able to tell you about all the exciting things we have
experienced, and what we hope to achieve during our time here.
We eagerly await your reply!
Peace Corps Indonesia 1
Travis Bluemling
Giovanna Bocanegra
Angela Boey
Lauren Ebersole
Diana Klein
Matt Laszlo
Maggie Lautzenheiser-Page
Scott Lea
Samantha Martin
Andy Makepeace
Luke Milewski
Truong Nguyen
Andrea Norris
Noel Schroeder
Sarah Sheffield
Nisha Skariah
Bart Thanhauser
Erika Wade
Colleen Young Peace Corps Indonesia after a Javanese make-over
Trainees Travis Bluemling and Giovanna Bocanegra teaching high
school in Junrejo
Peace Corps Indonesia at
Borobudur Temple
Obama Statue at SDN Menteng 01, Jakarta Bakso Obama, Pandanrejo

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