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Sunday, August 8, 2010

My average day

I kinow I haven't been posting much lately. Here are some things that I wrote for the next group of volunteers in Indonesia and for Peace Corps National.

Information for Volunteer Activity Description (VAD) - Volunteer Comments

What it’s like to be a PCV in Indonesia or an average day in my life:

I wake up at 4:30 with the prayers from the mosque; by 5:00 I’m out the door. This is the only “cool” time of the day and I like to enjoy it. It’s still dark but there are lots of people out on the street, buying food from the backs of motorcycle carts and bicycle carts. I walk to the singing rice fields – this is the only place near my town where I can be alone and Sing My Heart Out, as loud as I want, then I walk the 25 minutes back to my house, take a splash bucket bath, eat the breakfast that my ibu mama has prepared: white rice, fish heads or fish tails, friend egg, vegetable soup and today a cold guava – tomato juice! I dress for school, long shirt that touches the top of my closed toe shoes, long sleeve shirt with a collar that buttons up to my neck, and the modified jilbab that I negotiated to wear at my Madrasah High School. I cover my hair, my forehead and my ears, but I leave a little neck exposed along with my hands and face. I walk 20 minutes to my school and arrive to shake hands and then put my hand to my heart with all the female teachers and fingertips together, nod slightly to all the male teachers. By 7:00 I am teaching English with one of my two team teachers. I teach 600 students in 15 different classes of 40 students each, 1 or 2 hours of English every week, plus a class of English for teachers and English club for students. I use the time at the end of the day to walk to town, buy minutes for my cell phone, materials for games, occasionally a new jilbab or batik shirt, (Fri and Sat are batik days at my school) print up some pictures from home or print off materials that I need for class from my flash drive, gab with my Indonesian “town friends” and buy Ice Cream – only 30 cents and I figure I walk almost 2 1/2 hours a day, so I deserve it! Then I walk back home for another mandi splash bath, dinner, lesson plans, check email and I’m in bed and reading with a flashlight under the mosquito net and the window open wide by 8:30. Welcome to my world! I hope you accept this invitation from Peace Corp. Because the program here is so new, we’re a small close knit group of PCV’s and would love to have you join us!

Colleen Young, Indo4 2010-2012

Subject: Re: Peace Corps 50th

Quote about how PC has opened my eyes or influenced me:

Before Peace Corps service I was a contented grandmother to 2 grandchildren in my little corner of Salt Lake City. Now I am a grandmother / teacher / story teller / cheerleader / life guide for 579 Muslim High School students (450 of them girls) at a Madrasah in the heart of Indonesia. Every day I ask, "Who is the teacher and who is the student?" My students teach me generosity - After a 3 hour community march they were all given a box with water and 2 little snacks. I saw them share their food with the woman who was collecting the trash. They teach me patience - Even if their teachers do not attend the class, they clean the room and peek out the door watching to see if someone will come. They teach me joy. They insist that I am "beautiful." When I say, "I am already old." They say "No, Oma (grandmother) your spirit is young." I think they are right. I am becoming younger.

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