There are many intersections between Islam and traditional Javanese culture in Indonesia. Tahlilan and yasinan are great examples of one of those intersections. During PST I was fortunate enough to attend nearly a dozen such cultural events with my bapak. My original goal, as my goals so often are, was too ambitious. I had hoped to explain exactly what tahlilan and yasinan are, how they’re different, where they fit into indigenous Indonesian traditions and modernist orthodox Islam. However; even after having queried my community liaisons (CLs), my host family, and many other volunteers about this subject I still find my knowledge about these subjects lacking and my understanding short of what it should be.
On the eighth, and end of the seventh, week of pre service training we taught at a middle school for eight days. We returned to the same middle school we taught at for our first week of practicum on Friday May 13th and worked at the school until Saturday May 21st on all days except the 15th. I still taught with my teaching partner from the first week of practicum, Sonam, and we continued working with our counterpart from the first week.
In Indonesia every Peace Corps volunteer lives with a host family. Originally, before I came to Indonesia, I wasn’t too thrilled with this prospect. I appreciate autonomy and independence. The challenge of inserting myself into a family as an absolute foreigner and trying to find a balance between two very different cultures seemed like something I didn’t want to go through. Now, however, I could not imagine living in Indonesia without a host family. It has been one of the best parts of my time in the Peace Corps thus far.
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