Wednesday, June 13, 2012 1 comments

The Joys of Living in the Tropics and Working for the Gov't

So Jakarta continues to push my limits while the Embassy continues to support my growth as a professional. For the past few days I have been dealing with bed bugs and let me tell you, it is not fun. Luckily, there was a unit available and we were moved as soon as it was confirmed that we had them. It's been two days and things seem better, but I am still a little paranoid about the bugs. I expect that with time, the paranoia will ease.

Work has been intense as we get further into the summer and we are planning for July 4th celebrations. Also, a lot has to be taken into consideration for when Ramadan begins as it will affect many of our deadlines because people tend to not be around at this time. I am definitely looking forward to July 4th, live music, food and over 800 people - should be a good time!

Today, I went to a cocktail reception at the DCM's residence that was for young professionals at the Embassy (mainly those on their first or second tours). I was very happy to get to know more of my colleagues outside of work, especially those in other sections or cones. I also had the great privilege of meeting a mid-level management officer who was also part of the Pickering Fellowship when he was younger. The Pickering fellowship is more or less the sister program to the Rangel program that I am in. We hit it off right away and he asked me if I had a mentor. Well in my experience, it takes a village to raise a child and so I believe I have had various mentors throughout my life. Therefore, you can never have enough of them! So I most certainly took up his offer to be his mentee. I am excited to learn more from him and to see him in DC next summer when I start A-100.
Me and officer Clayton

Monday, June 4, 2012 0 comments

Time to Embrace the Good as well as the Bad and the Ugly

Today, it was raining on my way out of the movie theater, which by the way costs THREE dollars a ticket. To an American this may sound like a bargain, but in Indonesia the divide between the rich and poor is truly GREAT as the average income in some places in Indo is 2 dollars a day. As I walked outside, there were these "umbrella boys" outside. These are poor boys who will lend you their umbrella for a donation while you catch a cab. They had no shoes on. Had tattered clothes on and were soaking wet. Some of them were middle school age while others looked like they were in high school. I felt so bad for them and I felt a pain in my chest that I hadn't felt for quite some time. I've tried hard not to let things like this affect me, but my parents didn't raise me to turn a blind eye to injustice. My parents know what poverty looks like as they grew up in it themselves. My mother for example grew up without a father and worked since she was 9 years old in order to help support her family. She had to drop out of school when she was in the 5th grade.
They all looked adorable. Maybe it's because they look so much like Nicaraguan children that I felt like adopting them or perhaps it was simply because these were living, breathing human beings. We gave them a dollar (which is more than most of them get as a "donation" per person. If they are lucky they can make approx. 4 dollars (about 40,000 rupiah) during rainy days. In Indo, that's lunch and dinner for some people.
I truly wish I could do more for these children. I'm actually thinking of volunteering a few weekends while I am here. I don't want to just enjoy the good and comfortable side of Indonesia. I want to embrace its ugly but most real side too.

I always think,
If I die, do I want to die without having given of myself to the world?
If I don't act and give,
Then what was my life worth?
Do I want to live my days in mediocrity?