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    [post_content] => 	I am sitting on the small porch of my house with my host mom and sisters. My sisters are two years old and five years old. They do everything together-even methodically splitting and sharing donuts each morning. Today I let them play with my Indonesian phrase book. The five year old starts to stare at one particular page, a page with a picture of a car, "cantik" (beautiful). I am bewildered. A car, beautiful? I can understand a high end BMW being called beautiful, but a cartoon drawing of a simple car? For her, an car is a luxury. I look around, and understand why. She lives on an a village supported by stilts and coral. She barely spends any time on land and when she does, it's on foot. Maybe she has never been in a car before. I should of asked. This concept of all cars being beautiful is foreign to me. I drive a car everywhere at home, everyone does where I live. A car is simply a means of transportation, a necessity. She then continues to peruse my book and finds a page with a drawing of a modern bed. "Cantik". This time I could completely understand why she would call a bed beautiful. I hadn't slept well in days and I would at this point call any bed beautiful. Although, in general, at home, I would never of considered calling a basic bed beautiful. The simple things I overlook.
    [post_title] => My Phrase Book in Sampella
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Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

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My Phrase Book in Sampella

Monique Kelmenson,Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

Description

I am sitting on the small porch of my house with my host mom and sisters. My sisters are two years old and five years old. They do everything together-even methodically splitting and sharing donuts each morning. Today I let them play with my Indonesian phrase book. The five year old starts to stare at […]

Posted On

03/30/11

Author

Monique Kelmenson

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I didn't come halfway around the world looking to drastically change my perspective. I was open to the possibility of developing, but mostly I was excited to have an adventure in a place I knew nothing about. These past two months, I have learned countless things about myself and the world we live in. Yes, there have been the formal academic classes where I have learned about our ecological footprint and introductions to coral reef ecology, but by far the most significant learning experience has been what I have learned from my home stay families. In Tana Toraja, we asked the people in Limbong what they need to be happy. When I think about how I would answer that, my brain fills with my family and friends, my health, and all the material possessions I cannot live without - i.e my music, my bed, my clothes, etc. Pak Gusti of Limbong consulted with his townspeople, and answered quietly, that as long as they have a happy family and enough food to eat, that was all they needed. Skeptical at first, I have not stopped thinking about this simple answer and how kind and unselfish it is. When we asked the same question to Andar and the Kepala in Sampella, they too answered that as long as they had a happy family and enough fish to eat and make their livelihood, that was enough to live a happy life. As I have observed these two communities, I see that even though they have fewer possessions and fewer ambitions then we do, they have so much love for one another and are perfectly content being in a community where all there is to do is be together. In Limbong, my family had many wandering in and out of their house, staying for hours, sipping tea while playing the guitar and singing songs about their homeland, a place that they are so proud of. In Sampella, my host mother would spend all afternoon on the porch, washing everybodys clothes and hanging them up to dry on her lines; she would watch all of the neighbors children and carefully put them to sleep when they hit the afternoon lull. These are places where people help each other. Nobody lives to themselves, everyone knows each other, everyone helps each other without a second thought; everyone likes being together.

I don't believe that growing up in the world I live in, I would be able to easily drop everything and seamlessly transition into their societies. Yes, I would miss my phone, my comfortable bed and my sense of privacy, but I know that there is something to be learned from the Indonesian people. Without each other we would have nothing, and I have learned that I need to value the people who I love and who love me much more. Not only do the communities of Sampella and Limbong love and care for each other, but they have also cared and loved us. Everywhere we have gone we have been welcomed with open arms; we have been given the most comfortable rooms, the most delicious food, and the biggest smiles without a single complaint. Everyone has tolerated our prying questions, our broken Bahasa and our take-over of their communities, and not only that, they have showed us around the towns, taken us fishing and working in the rice paddies, they have laughed at our attempts at dancing, and told us 1,000 times that we are beautiful - they all have a benevolence and a selflessness that I am so envious of. Two months ago, I thought that my relationships with my family and friends couldn't get any better. I left feeling that everything was how it should be. Only now do I realize how much more I want to honor and appreciate those I care for. Although I don't think I will resort to living in a bamboo hut suspended a few feet into the air, I do know that the amount I have learned from the Indonesian people will affect the way I live my life forever. I want to strive to have the selflessness that they have, and I want to appreciate and cherish every moment I spend with my family and friends for I know that I have not spent nearly enough time doing so.

With that said, I miss and love you all at home and can't wait to see you again!

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Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

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Going halfway around the world, and coming back again

Anna Porter,Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

Description

I didn’t come halfway around the world looking to drastically change my perspective. I was open to the possibility of developing, but mostly I was excited to have an adventure in a place I knew nothing about. These past two months, I have learned countless things about myself and the world we live in. Yes, […]

Posted On

03/30/11

Author

Anna Porter

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Part I: Operation Eel

Spicy flesh slithers

Teeth split

Wet meat whithers

Market meal

Six tongues conceal

Brains

Stomach

And a Liver

Part II: Hopping Away

The anatomy of a pig excludes sweat glands. I learned this in second grade. Before I had met my pork. My bacon. My Fenway Frank. I had not seen their curiosity smelling me from behind a fence. I had not watched 3 brothers, sisters, or cousins together and then not. I had not heard them cry. Fear. Squeal. Breathe with the second hand. Our pig was black. Fastened on it's side. It had no mud to roll in. It's company was kept by buffalo. Disembowled. Pooled, coagulated blood streams in the court of sacrifice. For Ibu, two years past. Hooves walking on string, puppetted by smiles on small faces. I was served tea by women in green shirts. Who asked me if I was a student. And invited me to another candy. Bathroom break, I said. Stepping off of the bamboo platform. Green suits had eyes for celebration of life. And I saw a panting pig. I sat on the sloping road weaving dry grass. Something mindless. Irrelevant. Transporting.

I have known such slight suffering. A broken arm. A homesick traveller. A pantry slammed disagreement. Death was in coffins. The transition between worlds executed in silence. I could say nourishment asks for sacrifice. And when sacrifice feeds it is life. And I do believe that is beautiful. And I am thankful for this lesson. But still there are those cries. And it makes me think of how many more I am not hearing.

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Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

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Ode to Some Nonsense

Kiara Segal,Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

Description

Part I: Operation Eel Spicy flesh slithers Teeth split Wet meat whithers Market meal Six tongues conceal Brains Stomach And a Liver Part II: Hopping Away The anatomy of a pig excludes sweat glands. I learned this in second grade. Before I had met my pork. My bacon. My Fenway Frank. I had not seen […]

Posted On

03/30/11

Author

Kiara Segal

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    [post_content] => Growing up I always had big dreams for what I would do in the future
but I constantly changed my mind about what my future would hold. I
went from wanting to be a professional ice skater to a princess to
being an orthodontist just about every day. I never thought that along
the way to becoming whatever my future profession may be that I would
learn to speak Indonesian.

Perhaps the rigorous French training that I had in school kept me
focused on European Languages. But then again who am I kidding – I
took French from the fourth grade until I graduated high school and
never even qualified for AP. I also had a few years where I attempted
to learn Spanish but that fizzled out. I guess what I am trying to say
is that languages just aren’t my thing. They never have been and they
don’t even tend to cross my radar but now I find myself communicating
on the daily in a language that is not English, but is, Bahasa
Indonesia.

It is amazing what speaking the local language can do for you. Though
people get very excited to see tourists and shout Hello Mister, they
get even more excited when they learn that you speak Bahasa Indonesia.
They want to ask questions, like where did you come from?, where are
you going?, and how did you learn Bahasa Indonesia?.. What I love most
about Bahasa Indonesia is not only the simplicity of the language -
there is no conjugation - but the fact that you can totally mess up
the word order and people still understand what you are saying, or at
least trying to say. I of course have had my bad luck with languages
follow me and I have said things like, I am dinner instead of I want
dinner and Thank you for letting me stay at your home and Thank you
for letting me stay at my home. I can only be thankful that the
Indonesians I have encountered are as forgiving with my language
mistakes as they are kind and hospitable.
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Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

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Bahasa Apa

Julia Cole,Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

Description

Growing up I always had big dreams for what I would do in the futurebut I constantly changed my mind about what my future would hold. Iwent from wanting to be a professional ice skater to a princess tobeing an orthodontist just about every day. I never thought that alongthe way to becoming whatever my […]

Posted On

03/30/11

Author

Julia Cole

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Every morning in Sampella I would wake up around 5am and listen toeverything that was going on around me. Families were up, maybe eatingbreakfast or getting ready to head out to "cari ikan" or "memancing",look for fish or go fishing.

Breakfast. What do Sampellan's eat for breakfast? Doughnuts. Why Doughnuts? I suspect that part of the reason why people are eating doughnuts is due to the history of the place. The Dutch, the colonizers, may have affected the area in many ways and a tangible oneto this day is eating doughnuts for breakfast. If not doughnuts ikanand nasi puti, fish and white rice, are a part of the normal routine,be it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The reason for eating fish ismuch more obvious, the Bajau people are people of the sea, true seagypsies.


One morning when I came back to my home stay family's house afterhaving breakfast and a Bahasa Indonesia language lesson, I was greetedby my homestay sisters and their friends. After some back and forth, Iwas able to figure out that they wanted to take Langdon and I outfishing. Quickly, we grabbed some goggles and headed out in a canoe.There were seven of us, two paddles and a bamboo pole. We paddled outpretty far and put the net in the water making a kind of circle. Theboys then jumped out of the boat and splashed around in the waterattempting to corral the fish. One girl slapped the bamboo pole on thewater while the others hit the paddles against the boat, making asmuch noise as possible. Soon there after we were hauling in the netand to my surprise we had quite a few fish in our boat by the end.

After fishing and taking a swim in the ocean - they could be considered one in the same - we paddled back to the village. We brought the fish to my homestay mother and I will not forget the lookon her face when I told her that I helped to catch the fish. Her faceseemed just as surprised as mine when I thought about the fact that Inot only caught my dinner but dinner for my entire homestay family.

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Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

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Doughnuts for breakfast…

Julia Cole,Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

Description

Every morning in Sampella I would wake up around 5am and listen toeverything that was going on around me. Families were up, maybe eatingbreakfast or getting ready to head out to "cari ikan" or "memancing",look for fish or go fishing. Breakfast. What do Sampellan’s eat for breakfast? Doughnuts. Why Doughnuts? I suspect that part of […]

Posted On

03/30/11

Author

Julia Cole

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    [post_content] => 	For me, food is comfort. In the U.S., my entire family loves to shop, cook, eat, and do basically anything in connection with food. We always hang out in the kitchen and always have a cup of coffee or a snack in hand. Food brings my family together. As we reached Sampella, I'm going to be honest, I missed home. I missed have a common place to go to relax, hang out, and talk with my family. I immediately found comfort in the kitchen of our village coordinator's house. ( I hope he didn't mind) Woman and children were always in and out and the smell of freshly ground pepper, frying fish, crying children, and laughter filled the air. I felt at home. I spent most of my free time watching and sometimes cooking. At first the woman were hesitant to let me in, but once they did, it was all laughs. I tried as best I could but was constantly making mistakes. Although, none of these mistakes seemed to matter. They would laugh and fix whatever vegetable I had cut up wrong and would continue to help me. My Indonesian was by far weak but it was unimportant. I felt a sort of comfort I had not yet encountered until coming into this small kitchen in Sampella. I loved it. I spent most of my free time in that kitchen and was touched, when towards the end, they asked me if I was coming to cook that day. They wanted me to cook with them! I was not just, as they say, a "tourist" slowing them down. As silly as it sounds, I felt like a part of that community of women. It felt good.
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Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

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Food

Monique Kelmenson,Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

Description

For me, food is comfort. In the U.S., my entire family loves to shop, cook, eat, and do basically anything in connection with food. We always hang out in the kitchen and always have a cup of coffee or a snack in hand. Food brings my family together. As we reached Sampella, I’m going to […]

Posted On

03/30/11

Author

Monique Kelmenson

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The Bajau village of Sampella is a case study in the tension between economic growth and environmental sustainability. The Bajau people only stopped living as nomads on the sea a few decades ago. Their traditional culture, which they are proud of and maintain vigorously despite several decades of sedentary village life and nominal conversion to Islam, is entirely focused on the sea. The ancestors and spirits live in the sea. The sea has always given them a never-ending supply of fish, the basis of both their diet and their economy. They live in a particularly biodiverse ecosystem, where a mangrove swamp along the coasts supports the growth of a coral reef offshore.

Most days, most of our families go out to fish and sell their catch in the local market, a 20-minute canoe ride from Sampella, on nearby Kaledupa. Each day, they usually earn the equivalent of about five dollars – maybe ten dollars on a great day – to support their families of four to seven people. We’ve learned that the ecosystems they depend on – the coral reef and the mangroves – are in decline. Fish stocks have been declining too, so now the Bajau must spend more time on the water to bring in less fish than they would catch a few years ago. Increasing demand from international markets for lobster, shark fin, Napoleon wrasse and other high-value species has led many Bajau to use destructive fishing techniques such as cyanide and dynamite, which kill coral and degrade the reefs. And industrial fishing boats from outside this area take huge catches from the fisheries that the Bajau depend on. And the health of the fisheries here depends on the health of the mangrove and coral reef ecosystems.

We asked Pippa, the Site Director for the local marine research center that works closely with a local conservation-focused NGO (what the rest of the world calls a non-profit organization), what the greatest threat to the coral reefs in this area is. Her answer was unequivocal: global climate change. Coral are extremely sensitive to water temperature, and already the increase in sea’s temperature is causing coral bleaching which leads to the death of the reef. Climate change, according to Pippa, is even more a threat to the reef than some Bajau’s use of destructive fishing techniques, which persist despite the establishment of protected areas because of the market’s demand for lots and lots of fish.

Climate change, of course, is largely our responsibility – that is, the responsibility of the rich, highly industrialized world. Americans have a special level of responsibility for it, seeing as our 5% of the world’s population consumes around 30% of the world’s resources, including fossil fuels. In fact, just the 15 of us on this journey and our families, with our big homes, international flights, cars and appliances are probably responsible for far higher carbon emissions than the over 1000 residents of Sampella. Sampellans paddle canoes to and from work, run a single generator four hours a day to light a bulb or two in some homes and the occasional TV, have no heating or air conditioning, own no motorized vehicles and almost none have ever seen the inside of an airplane.

So it turns out that our lives and the Sampellans’ lives are connected by more than this one week in which they have been generous, friendly hosts and we have tried to be respectful to their culture as we barge through their lives and their village, asking all kinds of questions in our stumbling Indonesian. It turns out that we’re connected by the fish on our plates, and the carbon dioxide coming out of our cars. It turns out that our way of life, based on burning a whole lot of fossil fuels, is degrading the very ecosystem that feeds their children and nurtures their culture.

So…now what?


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Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

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Fish, Corals and Climate Change

Diego Merino,Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

Description

The Bajau village of Sampella is a case study in the tension between economic growth and environmental sustainability. The Bajau people only stopped living as nomads on the sea a few decades ago. Their traditional culture, which they are proud of and maintain vigorously despite several decades of sedentary village life and nominal conversion to […]

Posted On

03/26/11

Author

Diego Merino

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It amazes me that the one major cultural tie we Americans share with the Bajau people, located in the legitimate MIDDLE of the ocean, in southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia – is Justin Beiber. The lyrics, “Baby, Baby, Baby, thought you’d always be mine…” sung with a little uncertainty in pronunciation literally echo in my ears. The children of Sampella follow us around by the dozen saying on repeat – “hello tourist” and “kamu chantik" (you are beautiful,) and “Baby, Baby, Baby…” I have never felt more like my fourteen year old sister at home, for whenever I hear the beginning of that song, I belt out in full volume, jumping at any opportunity to connect with the adorable children who are so willing to ignore my terrible voice and sing along.

Whenever we arrive to a new place, we all laugh and comment that the circus is back in town. Our arrival in Sampella was no exception. Within 30 seconds of landing on the dock, we were swarmed with friendly, tanned faces smiling widely at us while we gingerly made our way along the 3-foot-wide pathway of wooden planks suspended over the sea. If you didn’t catch it before, Sampella is literally a town built on top of crushed coral set a few hundred meters off Kaledupa island. If you fall off those boards, you fall into water, hence the need to walk VERY deliberately. We met with Andar, our homestay coordinator, in his house where he briefed us on the town and our families. With an hour to kill before we met with our homestay families, we decided to take a tour of the village, with the best tour guides yet – the 25 kids who surrounded Andar’s house desperate for a peek at the tourists (their favorite English word). We all had two escorts who held our hands tightly, reminding us to be hati hati (careful) and gave us the best tour of the village. Within one hour I knew all the hot spots in the town. We then met with our families and headed to our individual houses.

When I arrived to my house, I literally stopped and laughed out loud. In order to get to my outside platform, I would have to perfectly balance while walking across two flimsy boards. Now, I am not the most agile person, so I was considering turning right around until my lovely family offered to carry my bags and told me to go pelan pelan (slowly). Once safely across the bridge, I walked into my house. My house has a strong wooden frame and in between there are thin logs of bamboo with about one inch of space between each pair of them. Underneath my feet, I saw the light green water and hundreds of fish swimming in the biggest swarm I had ever seen. The water was reflecting beautiful light on the inside of my house, and the breeze of being on the water immediately cooled me down. The people of Sampella were unbelievably humble, and could not be more welcoming to us.

These past few days in Sampella have been an adjustment. We have all been pushed out of our comfort zone, but nevertheless, our group is handling all issues with maturity and willingness to be challenged further. We have taken advantage of all the resources available, participating in lots of classes with our leaders and meeting with local village people. We are being watched like hawks, and the kids are always ready to play and lead us around the rickety planks. Even with the communication barrier, we have found it easy to make friends and have lots of laughs – whether that be doing a stupid “tourist” thing, stumbling around with our Indonesian, or belting out some Justin Beiber, we are all excited to make more connections and really dive into the culture and daily life of the Bajau people.

Everyone sends their love and hopes everything is happy at home.

D, M, T, L miss and love you!

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Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

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Baby, Baby, Baby

Anna Porter,Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

Description

It amazes me that the one major cultural tie we Americans share with the Bajau people, located in the legitimate MIDDLE of the ocean, in southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia – is Justin Beiber. The lyrics, “Baby, Baby, Baby, thought you’d always be mine…” sung with a little uncertainty in pronunciation literally echo in my ears. The […]

Posted On

03/26/11

Author

Anna Porter

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Hello Everyone!

This is just a quick update to let you know that the group reached Kendari last last night after their all day trip on the Pelni ship from Kolonodale. This morning, they rose and after breakfast, headed down to the port once again to board the smaller boat headed to Wanci, in Wakatobi, SE Sulawesi. Tomorrow morning, they will take one last small speedboat which will carry them to the marine research station on Hoga Island. There, they will be doing some spectacular snorkeling at the pristine coral reef and learning about important local and global environmental issues related to marine environments. From Hoga, they will head to Sampella, a small Bajau (sea gypsy) village which sits between Hoga and Kaledupa islands in the Wakatobi Marine Park.

On Hoga, the group will have some internet access and will get some new firsthand updates from the students and instructors.

Everyone is healthy and looking forward to this next chapter of the program!

More soon!

Jamie Woodall

Indonesia Program Director

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Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

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En route to Wanci

Jamie Woodall,Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

Description

Hello Everyone! This is just a quick update to let you know that the group reached Kendari last last night after their all day trip on the Pelni ship from Kolonodale. This morning, they rose and after breakfast, headed down to the port once again to board the smaller boat headed to Wanci, in Wakatobi, […]

Posted On

03/15/11

Author

Jamie Woodall

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    [post_content] => The group has now emerged from the depths of the Morowali Nature Reserve and are preparing for their first Pelni ship journey from Kolonodale to Kendari first thing on Monday morning. In the meantime, I will some of the photos I have just received from the Iteam of the group's time in the forest...
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Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

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Photos from Morowali

Indonesia Semester Instructor Team,Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

Description

The group has now emerged from the depths of the Morowali Nature Reserve and are preparing for their first Pelni ship journey from Kolonodale to Kendari first thing on Monday morning. In the meantime, I will some of the photos I have just received from the Iteam of the group’s time in the forest…

Posted On

03/13/11

Author

Indonesia Semester Instructor Team

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