So I actually have an excuse for not writing the last two months: Google wants me to pay to post more photos. So like a squatter who is now forced to pay for where he sleeps, I'm moving to another dilapidated house. Check it out.
It was a good run blogspot. No hard feelings. It's not you. It's me.
Saturday, December 1, 2012
|New Year's parade livery|
To celebrate, our town had a parade for all of the schools. Pre-schoolers to high schoolers donned their best and brightest and set out across town. Being Indonesia, no permits or traffic control was needed. Also being Indonesia, a parade that was supposed to start around 8AM actually didn't get going until 9AM+. By this time, the sun was pretty intense, and the constant stop-and-go left students dehydrated and scrambling for shade. But it was good to see the cool costumes and marchers. I even wore my shades for the full-effect, because everyone knows no parade is complete without a ridiculous bule. Enjoy the photos.
|Elementary students ready to march|
|Kabaya, traditional javanese wear|
|My students waiting for things to get rolling again|
|Bu Dwi and Bu Ulfah, math and arabic teachers, along the parade route|
|Resorting to more desperate measures to hide from the sun|
|The parade clogged the only route through town|
|More parade related traffic|
|Middle school marching band|
|Yours truly in batik and kopiah hat during the parade. Photo from "Mr Photography" who apparently watched the parade then tagged me on Facebook.|
Friday, November 16, 2012
HIMPALA Cinta Alam (Nature Lover's Club) invited me along for another semi-outdoorsy adventure recently. They would be changing club officers and initiating new tenth graders into the fold. We packed ourselves into the back of a truck and headed about an hour south to Monumen Kresek. The monument commemorates the 17 people who were killed by communists in the late 1950's. Definitely one of the more disturbing monuments I have been too, with a giant statue of a communist with a big mustache beheading someone with a machete. But that wasn't the point of the trip. All we really needed was a place to put up some tents for two days and some rice paddies to trek around in.
There was a navigation presentation by the geography teacher, lot's of group stretching and fitness, and various initiation activities for new members like making them eat gross things (a bowl of instant noodles mixed with bread, crackers, and whatever else was lying around). We also did some "survival" training like looking for things to eat near a stream and repelling from a tree with a homemade harness. I was happy to tag along but made the mistake of getting too photo-happy walking through the paddy. For those that don't know, rice paddy is usually irrigated all the time. So it looks soft and grassy, but it's all mud underneath. I lost my balance and in the process of trying to save my camera, I ended up back down in the mud with my hands and legs up like a upturned turtle. The students laughed. I had to finish the excursion with my whole back side covered in mud. But still good times.
With the changing of the guard of new officers and members, it was time to go home. Everyone piled into the truck again a little more tired than they arrived. HIMPALA has been one of my favorite extracurriculars at school, and I'm lucky my school has the club. They keep my yearning for the Colorado mountains at bay.
|Piling into the truck|
|Getting off then walking a few kilos to Monumen Kresek|
|Awkward and funny group stretching|
|Monumen Kresek: The giant beheading-communist statue is top-left|
|Trekking through the paddy before my fateful slip-up|
|Thumbs up for being a ridiculous and unbalanced bule|
|Wonder why cashews are so expensive? They actually come from a fruit, and at the top of each fruit is one cashew. So a lot of work for just one cashew, but oh-so-delicious when shelled and fresh roasted.|
|The students get to practice repelling|
|Not letting kids come down from repelling makes for good laughs|
|HIMPALA Cinta Alam 2012-13|
|New members celebrate|
|Sleeping standing up on the way home|
Thursday, November 1, 2012
|October 1st, 2012: Sunrise epic fail|
4:45AM- Alarm clock goes off. Hit the snooze. Fall asleep again.
4:58AM- After 3 more alarms, finally get out of bed. Put on my shoes and head out the door for a walk. There's a nice hour-long loop that goes through the rice paddies and is very quiet. Watch the sunrise. Sadly, today was a crappy sunrise. Just an orange disk in a grey-brown sky.
|A woman's work is never done: My ibu sweeping. Note the oh-so-delicious mangoes hanging overhead|
6:02AM- Take a mandi, or a cold bucket bath. Luckily, I don't live in the mountains so my water temp is tolerable (some other volunteers endure icy bucket baths everyday). Indonesians usually take a bath in the morning and before dusk every day. Note: Taking a bath after dark risks masuk angin (a vague catch-all Indonesian sickness) and a reprimand from bapak, ibu, and my neighbors.
|Where the magic happens: Squatty potty and water basin. Note: That is not a bath tub. Water is scooped out with the blue bucket and splashed vigorously over you until you feel a light clean sensation.|
|Mmmmm... breakfast. Note how the green beens and carrots shimmer in their oil.|
|Bule pergi ke sekolah: The monday-tuesday teacher uniform is full kakhi with patches. I added my own custom Peace Corps patch on the right.|
7:04AM- Upacara Bendera: On the 1st and 17th of every month, we have Upacara Bendera (flag ceremony). All the students line up on the basketball court in their respective classes, and participate in a ceremony designed to instill Indonesian national values. The flag is raised while everyone sings the national anthem Indonesia Raya. The Pancasila (five principles of the Indonesian state) is recited and declaration of independence is read. After a couple more partiotic songs, the time is given to a teacher or guest to impart wisdom and advice to the students. Today was special because it was to celebrate Kesaktian Pancasila, (sanctity of the pancasila). So history teacher (and highly-enthusiastic English learner) Pak Aziz gave a speech on the history of the Pancasila. And an integral part of every upacara is students fainting. Today, four students fainted and were carried off to the nurse's office. Theories abound. Indonesians say it's a lack of breakfast and/or rice, while fellow volunteers believe it's a combination of the heat and iron-deficiencies in some of the girls.
|Pak Aziz speaks about kesaktian pancasila|
7:56AM- Technically, the bell rang at 7:50AM but there's no passing periods here. So teachers usually enter and leave classes at their own pace. This used to drive me nuts, but I've learned to work with it as best as I can. Today, my counterpart and I will give a test to Kelas XI-IPA-1 (11th grade science track #1). Cheating is a big issue, so I've found mixed seating and a 3-strikes rule to be fairly effective. Even then I still gave warnings to 6 students and took 25 points off one student's test.
|Test taking: Kelas XI-IPA-1 and my English teaching counterpart Bu Haniek|
9:37AM- Return to school and start grading papers.
|Bubur Ketan Hitam (black rice porridge). And yes I do own an "Angry Birds" pencil case.|
10:52AM- Go to class again to teach one hour of "English Conversation" with Kelas XI IPA-1 again. We are still working on introductions.
11:30AM- Another class. This time Kelas XI IPS-3 (11th grade social track #3). We finish up the first unit in our book and do a short review.
12:10PM- Lunch and prayer time. I usually don't eat lunch at school, but now it is mango season and Bu Haneik gave me a mango.
12:40PM- Go to class again for the last two hours with Kelas XI Agama (11th grade religion track). We play Jeopardy to review for their next test. It is a challenge to continue finding new activities in class for review and practicing material. Students seem to get tired of things after the 2nd or 3rd time, so I'm always searching for new activities. But Jeopardy for test review is always a solid choice. Students get into the competition.
2:00PM- School ends. Most teachers have already gone home. Students stick around for a smattering of activities. There's a schedule for extracurriculars at school, but I've never actually seen this mythical schedule. So usually I don't know what's going on until I stumble upon it. So I've found it pays to hang around after school for the slight chance something happens. Also, after school is the only time I really have to use the internet (if it's working).
3:55PM- I change out of my uniform and into shorts. Grab a book at head out to the front of the house to read. I read a lot in Indonesia. It's become a way to unwind for me lately.
5:08PM- Another mandi. Wait for bapak to return from mahgrib prayers at the mosque so we can eat dinner together.
|Bule membaca buku: The steel doors are the front of my host families toko, or little shop they run out of their house|
5:58PM- I take bapak's plate and do some dishes out back. This is a small victory for me because my host family wouldn't let me wash dishes for a long time.
6:10PM- Grade more papers and start grading the tests from earlier. I never realized how much work a teacher does behind the scenes. Just grading takes up a lot of time, not to mention lesson planning and making materials. You have to be thinking about twenty different things at once just to stay on top of teaching. It's been a steep learning curve for me, and I still suck at teaching now. But entering the classroom and planning is a little less daunting then it was at first.
|Makan Malam: Note some familiar faces who've been hanging out all day.|
Thursday, October 4, 2012
|10th Graders get ready for the pre-Ramadan parade at my school|
|A truck from the local islamic middle school|
|Pre-Ramadan Kids Bicycle Parade (photo taken just before crashing)|
|Kid's Bike Parade-I need streamers for my bicycle|
|Fun with bamboo|
One morning the kids in my neighborhood showed me how to make the little bamboo guns. It's basically just a short hollow tube with a plunger (also made from bamboo). Soak some newspaper in water, make a little spit ball to stuff in the barrel, and voila you have your very own little bamboo musket pop gun.
|Bagus and his bamboo shooter|
|My neighbor Udin with bamboo shooter and his little sister Eva (I promise they're not this menacing in person)|
|Idul Fitri 2012: My complete host family. Upper row left to right: Bu Qom, Pak Susilo, Me, Pak Totok, Bu Rina. Middle Row left to right: host father Pak Darus, Siti, and host mother Bu Darus. Bottom Row: Dini, Tika, and Dana.|