This blog is for the new Peace Corps volunteers who will be leaving American and heading to Indonesia in one week. (Actually right now they are called "Invitees" and once they sign paperwork in San Francisco they are called "Trainees" and once they "swear-in" after 3 months of learning the language and culture they are called "Volunteers.")
PC Indonesia. Survival Tips – Things I wish I knew on DAY 1
Disclaimer: The contents of this page do not represent the positions, views or intents of the U.S. Government or the U. S. Peace Corps or any other volunteers serving in Indonesia! This is just 1 full page to share with the newbies.
First day with PST family:
With so much going on the first day, I forgot names within seconds. Ask them to write their names Find out what people call each other and write that down too. Also their age so you can figure out later who is your father, mother, brother, sister, aunt, neighbor, etc. My name is = Nama saya. Pangil saya = Call me. What is your name?= Siapa nama anda? How old? Berapa umur?
Essential Javanese: Hello =Mongo Mr or Mrs.= Mbak (for people older than you) Yes = Ngeh No = Ora.
My host family wanted the windows shut at night for security and so I wouldn’t get sick (masuk angina = wind comes in) and because it was cold = dingin. I thought it was hot = panas.
If you can’t get the mosquito net up, you can cover yourself with a double layer of it and still fall asleep.
If the noise from the mosque / weddings /circumcisions is too loud to sleep, don’t worry, you will soon be deaf.
When setting up the water filter: Rinse First, then Assemble. Pour some regular tap water through it first to clean out the dust, then assemble the parts – they need to be put together firmly. Only put a little water in the top the first time so you can swish it around in the clean lower compartment and empty it. Tap the handle to stop drips.
Always eat with your right hand, pass food/papers/money etc. with your right hand (see bathroom tips below)
Very delicious/nice = Enak sekali. Extermely delicious = Lezat sekali. Tambah lagi = add again / take more. I’m full = Saya kenyan. Thank you, enough -= Terimah kasih, cucup
Assalamu alaikum = standard Arabic greeting when coming into a house Response= Waalaikum salam. When leaving the house, say to the father/mother Pamit saya? = May I?
I am not allowed to ride a motor cycle= Saya tidak boleh naik sepeda motor. I am forbidden to ride a motorcycle = Saya dilarang untuk naik sepeda motor. Kenapa = why. Many volunteers dead= Banyak relawan mati (dead for animals, not people, but easier to remember.)
I must wear a helmet (for bicycle) = Saya harus pakai helm.
Things every 3 yr old knows: Cover your mouth if you yawn. Don’t cross your legs so that people see the soles of your feet. Take your shoes off every time you enter a house.
In the bathroom
Where is the bathroom = Di mana kamar kecil? Water is plentiful and very cheap in Indonesia. When you go in turn on the faucet to mask the noise. The squat toilet WILL flush if you pour enough scoops of water in it. Until you get the hang of it pooping is easiest if you are naked from the waist down. Stabilize yourself by putting one foot off the foot rests and one a little farther away so you can put your foot down flat rather than balancing on the balls of your feet. To wipe without toilet paper: while squatting, put your left hand behind you and extend it between your legs, pour water from the scoop with your right hand. Scoop, pour and wipe, scoop, pour and wipe. Do not stand up until your left hand is clean. Your natural tendency is to grab hold of something with it as you stand up. In all my families I kept my own soap on one side of the soap dish. To rinse both hands at the same time tip the dipper up while you are holding your hands together so the water runs from the dipper to your right hand and into your left hand below it. When I see people squatting in my host village in the stream, I avert my eyes and keep walking. Works for me. You will be expected to mandi = bathe by pouring water over you, washing and then rinsing, twice a day. My family always panics when I try to bathe after the sun has set.
I use the first splash of cold mandi water to repeat the mantra that was given to our group at staging: “Embrace the ambiguity.”
Used tampons should be put inside a plastic bag and put in the trash. The sewer water runs into the rivers and irrigates fields. I have a lot of plastic bags to give your group because I remember the panic when we asked the PC doctor where do we get plastic bags and she said “They are everywhere.” They are, but you need a stash to start.
Community / Walking around
Mau ke mana? = Where are you going. (Common greeting, much like we would say “Hello”) Jalan, Jalan = walking or Jalan saja = Just walking. Mampir = come in (to my house) (It’s polite for them to offer.) I always smiled and said Terima kasih, nanti = Thank you, later.
Dari mana? = where are you from. Saya dari Amerika = I am from America But now I live in ____.= Tapi, sekarang saya tingal di _____. People may be asking you where are you coming from= Dari mana? Saya dari sekola = I am coming from school.
It’s good to memorize and write down your full address: street name, number, desun, desa, RW, RT, village, kabupaten, everything people tell you.
Tomorrow = besok = sometime in the future, not necessarily “tomorrow”
For weddings/circumcisions the protocol in my village was to put 20.000 Rp. ($2) in an envelope and “palm it” to the appropriate person.
2010-2012 PCV’s all went with Simpati as a provider. It’s cheaper to contact each other if you are all on the same network. To call home 010171 (area code and number) is LOTS cheaper. I programmed all my USA numbers in that way. For texting you have to do 1 (area code + number) So people I text and call have two different listings.
If you can’t send a text = sms = small message system or make a call, you are probably out of pulsa=cell phone minutes. You can buy pulsa from shops or sometimes neighbors who are set up as dealers. *888# will show you how much pulsa you have left and when it expires. If it gets too low you can’t send or receive messages. The more pulsa you buy, the cheaper it is per minute.
Batu, the big town near PST villages has stores where you can buy cell phones. We got better deals buy going together and buying more than one phone at once.
I'll print some copies of this to give to the next group who haven't yet figured out the PC blog system. See you guys in Surabaya!
Oma Colleen Young (I'll include my phone number in the printed copy.)