Being in the Peace Corps isn’t easy. I think I’ve made that clear before. But I mention this because the difficulties which volunteers go through are often well-documented and known beforehand. Despite being aware of many of the challenges we’ll face many volunteers still chose to end their service early or ET (early terminate). Twelve, of the original seventy-four in my group of volunteers, have returned home to America. Sixteen percent, and we’ve only been in Indonesia for six months. The reasons why people leave are nuanced and intricate, but no one left because they were having too much fun.
Often, children in public schools in the United States will recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of a school day. Requiring America’s young minds to declare their allegiance to their country and its flag can seem a bit odd, maybe even jingoistic, but in Indonesia most schools take the opportunity to foster a sense of nationalism a step further.
My desa (village) during training, Manisrenggo, has been an excellent place to find my footing here in Indonesia. Everybody I have met has been friendly, hospitable, and generous. I never make it out of someone’s house without having been offered an array of delicious foods and plenty of water. Everyone is always very curious to talk about America and find out what the trainees think about Indonesia, the local food, the people.