I moved in with my host family last Saturday after saying goodbye to the friends I made during the staging and hotel days. It’s definitely weird to be alone after being with our group 24/7 for a week then suddenly left alone in a stranger’s home that is supposed to be my home for the next three months of Peace Corps Training (PCT.) Each volunteers are staying with a host family to help us engage in the culture, integrate in the Indonesian community, and practice our bahasa Indonesian. I have had host family before so this is nothing new, but still it’s a new different world. I did have some reservations staying with my host family because I wasn’t sure how they’d react to an American that is not Tall-White-Blond-and-Blue-Eyed. But all of those reservations went away the very first night I stayed with my family.
My family consist of my Bapak (dad) Yon, Ibu (mom) Sri, my kakak (older sibling) Arii, his istri (wife) Nunuk, and little kids. They are really nice. The life they have here is nowhere close to how my life in the US is, but that’s okay because Peace Corps is what you make out of this kind of situation. I see this not as a challenge, but rather an opportunity to learn, grow, and be more compassionate.
I have my own room here y’all. My bed is not the most comfortable thing BUT it’s big. I have to use a mosquito net every night as one of the Peace Corps policies, because mosquito yenno. My house does not have a western toilet, hence I must squat. This is one thing I am still trying to get used to. I still haven’t tried using a gayung, a “water scooper”, because it still grosses me out. The other volunteers have told me that it’s really not a big deal, but I just can’t seem to bring myself to do it. Ever since I have gotten here in Indonesia I have been using wipes to wipe my butt. By the end of my PST, I hope to be comfortable using the gayung. I am also running out of flushable wipes.
During PST, we volunteers have a very rigorous and busy days. From meeting people in our villages to learning bahasa Indonesian. Mondays would be the longest because we have Indonesian language class from 7am until 5pm. THAT IS SO LONG QURL. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays our language class is from 7am until 11:30am. We have an hour break then we have to bike to our LINK, training consisting of different workshops, and get there by 1pm. The LINK session goes on from 1pm until 5pm. After LINK we bike home and rest for a bit. Fridays are our HUB day. It’s a full day of workshops with the whole volunteers. ***Today’s our first HUB day and it was definitely really nice to see other volunteers and hear what they have been up to.*** Usually when I get home I hangout with the other volunteers, I live nearby three other volunteers. We usually walk around our desa (village) attracting all sorts of attention. I come home from my jalan-jalan (walk) and eat dinner with my host sister, take a shower, study for a little bit, then I sleep. I often wake up around 3:30am or 4am. My day starts when I start working out around 4:30am. After that I take a mandi (bucket shower), eat breakfast, then get ready for the day. We also have language class on Saturdays from 7am until 11:30am then a one-on-one with our Cultural Liasons (CLs) from 1pm until 2:30. Sundays are our only “free time” throughout our PCT.
This is what my first week looked like and most likely what the rest of my training weeks would look like. Well, let’s make a toast to Manisrenggo! The village of sweet desires.
*Manisrenggo is the name of the village where I am staying and it means Sweet Desires.