Tuesday, July 16, 2013

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign language. Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” -Rainer Maria Rilke

MAN Ngraho, where I will be teaching
So I've made it. I was officially sworn in as a Peace Corps volunteer and safely traveled to my permanent site...where I am unbelievably bored. It has been about three weeks since I've been living in Ngraho and I've got nothing to do. School is on break until next week and with the start of Ramadan, the people of Ngraho spend their days resting and doing little else.

My 5 year old host brother
We've been warned that this would happen. It is called a “duka” and I'm in one. The phrase “suke dan duka” is the Indonesian version of “ups and downs” and I've hit the down. We have an amazing medical team who warned us that there is usually a dip in moral around this time, but after an amazing 2 months of training I didn't see it coming. The first few weeks at site have been tough. The environment is different, new relationships need building and I am no longer surrounded by my support team of other volunteers within walking distance.

Men's prayer meeting held at our house for the start of Ramadan

Over the past few weeks I have contemplated why I felt unhappy at site and came to realize that it was because I was looking for an end result, when this is just the beginning. I was feeling so alone and isolated at my new site. I had gotten used to the tight knit community during training and forgot how hard it was when I had first arrived. I was looking for the 2 months of integrating I had accomplished in Batu, to simply appear intact in Ngraho. While that is not the way the world works, there is an entire new village and school community waiting to build relationships at my new site. It is time to put in the work and, while this will never be easy, building relationships now will not only help me integrate into the community, it will also push me towards my happy (whatever that may be).

No one every said the Peace Corps was easy, so I am determined to work through this adjustment period and find the joy in “living the questions now,” whether it is dealing with the mosquito larva in the mandi, the rats running through the walls or the noise from the main state road I live on. This village, my school and my host family have welcomed me into their lives, their community and their hearts, and I will strive to show my gratitude every day of my service. 

No experience is ever perfect. Finding the light in the darkness.

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