The Challenges of Teaching English in Indonesia
Bondowoso / Culture / Daily Life / Indonesia / Language / Peace Corps / People / Religion / Teaching

The Challenges of Teaching English in Indonesia

The other day my counterpart, Pak Warai, sat next to me as I prepared material for English club. Suddenly he asks, Mel, what can we do to make students study outside the classroom? Pak, I laughed, if we can solve that we would improve education all over the world! He sighed. I feel putus asa. … Continue reading

Cultural Observation, #4: God Counters
Bondowoso / Cultural Observations / Culture / Daily Life / Indonesia / Peace Corps / People / Teaching

Cultural Observation, #4: God Counters

Early in my service, I noticed many of my students and teachers at my school had colorful things wrapped around their fingers that they were constantly pressing. These turned out to be a sort of tally counter specially designed to conveniently count – in the case of my Muslim students and teachers – their thoughts … Continue reading

Sunset Silhouettes in Ulu Watu Temple, Bali
Bali / Culture / Indonesia / Peace Corps / People / Photography / Religion / Travel

Sunset Silhouettes in Ulu Watu Temple, Bali

Bali is only a few hours from Java, but culturally, it is a whole world away. The people are primarily Hindu, so small baskets of colorful flower petals and incense—and the occasional cigarette—line streets, sidewalks, steps and cars’ dashboards as offerings to the gods. In Bali, I saw no mosques and heard no call to … Continue reading

On the Twelve Months of Islam
Bondowoso / Culture / Daily Life / Indonesia / Peace Corps / People / Religion / Teaching

On the Twelve Months of Islam

Though I’ve been a fasting wimp during Ramadhan—unlike many of my fellow PCVs—that does not exempt me from learning about Islam during this important month in my community. Last Sunday, August 5th, was the 17th day of the month of Ramadhan, which is the day known as Nozulul Qur’an. This is the day the Islamic … Continue reading

Culture / Indonesia / Peace Corps / People / Religion

The Culture of Religion

That’s what learning is all about where spirituality is concerned: unlearning almost everything you’ve been taught. A willingness to learn and listen. – Anthony de Mello, SJ It is Sunday and there’s an elephant in the room. It’s because of me—of course—but not because I am “American” or not related to this family or because … Continue reading