It’s that time in my service. Time when I write a reflective piece about how I’ve been in Indonesia for a year but still have one year to go. I’ve been putting this off for a while because I was not sure what there is to reflect upon; but this past weekend the new group of volunteers (ID11) visited their permanent sites and hearing about them making that trip provided some perspective on this topic.
When people think about the Peace Corps they often do so in a somewhat romantic and idealized way. Most of the pictures non-Peace Corps people see are of volunteers in stock photo-esque situations. Leaning over a child and pointing to a new word in a book. Looking at a map with a local and pointing to a remote village that needs clean water. Standing in a field with a farmer pointing off in the distance to the future (I don’t know about you, but I imagine a lot of pointing when I think of stock photography). Perhaps another fitting image that comes to mind is of a volunteer eating an exotic food. But one thought that probably does not occur to people outside of the Peace Corps is the diarrhea that that volunteer will suffer through for eating such an exotic food.
The fifth week of PST was centered around attaining experience teaching at an Indonesian school. Each trainee was paired with another trainee to teach in a school around Kediri. Some schools received up to five pairs of trainees. My partner, Sonam, and I were placed at SMP 4 along with Hilary and Abby.