CONTENTS A Welcome Letter 1 Core Expectations for Peace Corps Volunteers 6 Peace Corps/Indonesia History and Programs...
THE PEACE CORPS WELCOMES YOU TO
A PEACE CORPS PUBLICATION FOR NEW VOLUNTEERS
JUNE 2013 CCD
A WELCOME LETTER Greetings, ladies and gentlemen: Congratulations on having been selected to join Peace Corps/Indonesia! Since the agreement was signed in December 2009 to re-establish a Peace Corps presence in Indonesia, a dedicated group of Volunteers and staff has been hard at work building the new program here. If you are excited by the thought of helping to create something new and accepting of the uncertainty that goes with it, this may be just the place for you for the next two years. The first three groups of Volunteers to serve in Indonesia in over 45 years have set a high standard for Peace Corps service in Indonesia. They are looking forward to welcoming and supporting you during training and your service. At the same time, they will be looking to you to build upon the work they have started and to uphold the standard they are setting in reference to what it means to be a Peace Corps Indonesia Volunteer. As staff members, we will expect the same. The staff in Indonesia is committed to providing the best safety and security, medical, training, programmatic, and administrative support we can. At the same time, as Peace Corps has for 50 years, we will look to you to be as independent and self-reliant as possible. During pre-service training (PST), you will begin to learn Bahasa Indonesia (and an introduction to Javanese, Madurese, or Sundanese) and to adapt to the culture, which will include living with an Indonesian family. You will develop the community entry skills needed for your assignment, undergo technical training, and discover how to maintain your health and reduce safety and security risks during your service. It is important to realize that PST is a time for both you and the Peace Corps staff to assess your suitability to serve in Indonesia. A two-year commitment should not be entered casually and is one you may need to re-affirm in many ways during PST and, in fact, throughout your service. In fairness to our local partners and to
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safeguard the reputation of the organization, we do periodically make the decision that a trainee or Volunteer is not suited to serve here and arrange for their return home. Often, a trainee will reach the same conclusion on his or her own. As you may have already heard, the extent to which you become an accepted and valued colleague and community member depends largely on you. If you come with an open mind, a warm heart, and a good sense of humor, you will do well. Although we are here to provide support, you are the ultimate architect and builder of a successful Peace Corps service. Please read carefully these welcome memos as part of your preparation for living and working in Indonesia as a Peace Corps Volunteer. We look forward to meeting you in March! Sheila Crowley Country Director
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CONTENTS A Welcome Letter
Core Expectations for Peace Corps Volunteers
Peace Corps/Indonesia History and Programs
History of the Peace Corps in Indonesia
History and Future of Peace Corps Programming in Indonesia
Country Overview: Indonesia at a Glance History
People and Culture
Resources for Further Information
Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle
Housing and Site Location
Living Allowance and Money Management
Food and Diet
Geography and Climate
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Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior
Rewards and Frustrations
Peace Corps Training
Overview of Pre-Service Training
Additional Trainings during Volunteer Service Your Health Care and Safety in Indonesia
Health Issues in Indonesia
Helping You Stay Healthy
Maintaining Your Health
Women’s Health Information
Your Peace Corps Medical Kit
Before You Leave: A Medical Checklist
Safety and Security—Our Partnership Factors that Contribute to Volunteer Risk
Staying Safe: Don’t Be a Target for Crime
Volunteer Safety Support in Indonesia
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Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues
Support from Staff Crime Data for Indonesia
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Overview of Diversity in Indonesia
What Might a Volunteer Face?
Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
Possible Issues for Male Volunteers
Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers
Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
Possible Issues for Married Volunteers
Possible Issues for Volunteers with Disabilities
Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome Letters from Indonesia Volunteers
Contacting Peace Corps Headquarters
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CORE EXPECTATIONS FOR PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS In working toward fulfilling the Peace Corps Mission of promoting world peace and friendship, as a trainee and Volunteer, you are expected to do the following: 1. Prepare your personal and professional life to make a commitment to serve abroad for a full term of 27 months 2. Commit to improving the quality of life of the people with whom you live and work and, in doing so, share your skills, adapt them, and learn new skills as needed 3. Serve where the Peace Corps asks you to go, under conditions of hardship if necessary, and with the flexibility needed for effective service 4. Recognize that your successful and sustainable development work is based on the local trust and confidence you build by living in, and respectfully integrating yourself into, your host community and culture 5. Recognize that you are responsible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your personal conduct and professional performance 6. Engage with host country partners in a spirit of cooperation, mutual learning, and respect 7. Work within the rules and regulations of the Peace Corps and the local and national laws of the country where you serve 8. Exercise judgment and personal responsibility to protect your health, safety, and well-being and that of others 9. Recognize that you will be perceived, in your host country and community, as a representative of the people, cultures, values, and traditions of the United States of America 10. Represent responsively the people, cultures, values, and traditions of your host country and community to people in the United States both during and following your service PEACE CORPS
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PEACE CORPS/INDONESIA HISTORY AND PROGRAMS History of the Peace Corps in Indonesia
Forty-six physical education Volunteers served in Indonesia from 1963–65, working with Indonesians in advancing their sports programs. The program was brought to a close in 1965 as a result of political upheaval and concerns for the safety and security of the Volunteers. In October 2006, the government of Indonesia invited the Peace Corps to send an assessment team to the country for the purpose of re-establishing a program. Assessments were completed in 2007, and the respective governments signed a new agreement regarding the establishment of a Peace Corps program in December 2009, with an initial project in English Teaching and Teacher Training. Public schools in Indonesia are under the direction of either the Ministry of Education and Culture or the Ministry of Religious Affairs. After visiting many interested schools in spring 2010, Peace Corps/Indonesia, with support from the government of Indonesia, determined that Volunteer placement in both types of schools would be appropriate. History and Future of Peace Corps Programming in Indonesia
In March 2010, Indonesia welcomed its first group of Peace Corps Volunteers in 45 years. Since then, additional groups of Volunteers in increasing numbers have come to Indonesia each year. There are many similarities between ―state‖ schools (MoEC) and madrasah (MoRA): both are co-educational with a Monday through Saturday schedule, both are obliged to cover the same national curriculum (including religion as a subject area), and all PEACE CORPS
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graduating ninth- and 12th-grade students are expected to take the same national exam. Differences include how the schools are managed (i.e., centralized versus decentralized) and the quantity of religious instruction. Regardless of the type of host school, Volunteers co-teach seventh- and/or eighth- and 10th- and/or 11th-grade English, work with colleagues to improve English communication skills and teaching methods, and lead extracurricular and community activities of all kinds. Currently Volunteers are placed in either East or West Java. In future years, the English teaching program will grow to other provinces in Indonesia. Peace Corps/Indonesia is also exploring areas of need and partnership that could sustain a second sector of programming.
COUNTRY OVERVIEW: INDONESIA AT A GLANCE History
Historians believe that Indonesia was linked with the Asian mainland during the Pleistocene period (4 million B.C.). This period was also related to the first appearance of the hominids, what is today called ―Java Man,‖ who inhabited Indonesia as early as 2 million to 500,000 years ago. Java Man is a short name for Pithecanthropus Erectus, a human-like species whose fossilized remains were discovered on the island of Java by the scientist Eugene Dubois. Much later, Indonesia developed many well-organized kingdoms. Ruled by indigenous Rajas who embraced the Hindu and Buddhist religions, these kingdoms grew very civilized. This time in history, which lasted from ancient history to the 15th century, is called the period of Buddhist-Hindu Kingdoms. The first Buddhists arrived from India around A.D. 100–200. One of the most famous Buddhist kingdoms in Indonesian history is Sailendra (A.D. 750–850). During this period, the famous PEACE CORPS
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Buddhist temple at Borobudur was built. The dynasty's replacement, the Hindu kingdom of Mataram, began the era of Hindu kingdoms. The mightiest Hindu kingdom in Indonesia's ancient history was the Majapahit Empire. Under the reign of King Hayam Wuruk (A.D. 1331–64), the empire enjoyed tributary relationships with territories as far away as Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Philippines. Gujarati and Persian merchants who embraced Islam started to visit Indonesia in the 13th century. Along with trade, they introduced Islam to the Indonesian Hindus, particularly in the coastal areas of Java. Islam then spread further east to the Bone and Goa Sultanates in Sulawesi, Ternate, and Tidore in the northern part of Maluku, and the eastern part of Lombok. Besides those areas, Islam also expanded into Banjarmasin, Palembang, Minangkabau, Pasai, and Perlak. European influence in Indonesia began when the Portuguese, in search of spices, landed in 1512. Both the Portuguese and the Spanish spread Christianity in Indonesia. Meanwhile, the Dutch established an organized merchant trade called Dutch East India Company in 1602 to tap the rich spice territories. After the seizure of Ambon in Maluku (1605) and Banda Island (1623), the Dutch enjoyed a trade monopoly in the "Spice Islands." In 1814 the British came to Indonesia. During the Napoleonic wars in Europe, when Holland was occupied by France, Indonesia fell under the rule of the British East India Company. After the fall of Napoleon, the British and Dutch signed a convention agreeing that Dutch colonial possessions dating from 1803 onward should be returned to the Dutch administration in Batavia (present-day Jakarta). Thus, the Indonesian archipelago once again became a Dutch possession in 1815. Throughout the period of colonization, Indonesians had been fighting for their independence. This struggle, which started in the 1600s, climaxed with a proclamation of independence in 1945, and continued for a few more years.
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When World War II broke out, the Japanese occupied the Dutch East Indies after the surrender of the Dutch colonial army in March 1942. Three years later, on August 14, 1945, the Japanese surrendered to the Allied Forces. To Indonesia's leaders, the power vacuum in Jakarta looked like an open window of opportunity to proclaim their independence. On August 17, 1945, Indonesian national leaders Soekarno and Dr. Mohamad Hatta proclaimed Indonesia's independence on behalf of the Indonesian people. The proclamation took place at Jalan Pengangsaan Timur No. 56, Jakarta, and was heard by thousands of Indonesians nationwide through a secret radio broadcast from a captured Japanese radio station, Jakarta Hoso Kyoku. An English translation of the proclamation was broadcast overseas soon afterward. Government
Shortly after hostilities with the Dutch ended in 1949, Indonesia adopted a new constitution, providing for a parliamentary system of government in which the executive was chosen by, and accountable to, parliament. Parliament was divided among many political parties before and after the country's first nationwide election in 1955, and stable governmental coalitions were difficult to achieve. The role of Islam in Indonesia was debated. Soekarno defended a secular state based on Pancasila, five principles of the state philosophy—monotheism, humanitarianism, national unity, representative democracy by consensus, and social justice— codified in the 1945 constitution, while some Muslim groups preferred either an Islamic state or a constitution that included a preambular provision requiring adherents of Islam to be subject to Islamic law. Although he remained president, Soekarno transferred key political and military powers to General Suharto in March 1966.
Officially succeeding Soekarno in 1968, President Suharto proclaimed a "New Order" in Indonesian politics and dramatically shifted foreign and domestic policies away from the course set in
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Soekarno's final years. The New Order established economic rehabilitation and development as its primary goals and pursued its policies through an administrative structure dominated by the military but with advice from Western-educated economic experts. In mid-1997, Indonesia suffered from the Asian financial and economic crisis, accompanied by the worst drought in 50 years and falling prices for commodity exports. Amid widespread civil unrest, Suharto resigned on May 21, 1998. Suharto's hand-picked vice president, B.J. Habibie, became Indonesia’s third president. President Habibie re-established International Monetary Fund and donor community support for an economic stabilization program. He released several prominent political and labor prisoners, initiated investigations into unrest, and lifted controls on the press, political parties, and labor unions. Indonesia's first elections in the post-Suharto period were held for the national, provincial, and sub-provincial parliaments on June 7, 1999. Forty-eight political parties participated in the elections. Indonesia’s legislative branch (MPR) selected Abdurrahman Wahid as Indonesia's fourth president in November 1999 and replaced him with Megawati Sukarnoputri in July 2001. The first direct presidential election was held on July 5, 2004, contested by five tickets. As no candidate won at least 50 percent of the vote, a runoff election was held on September 20, 2004, between the top two candidates, incumbent President Sukarnoputri and retired General Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. In this final round, Yudhoyono won 60.6 percent of the vote. Approximately 76.6 percent of eligible voters participated, a total of roughly 117 million people, making Indonesia's presidential election the largest single-day election in the world.
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Indonesia has a market-based economy in which the government plays a significant role. There are 139 state-owned enterprises, and the government administers prices on several basic goods, including fuel, rice, and electricity.
In the mid-1980s, the government began eliminating regulatory obstacles to economic activity. Over most of the next two decades, most analysts recognized Indonesia as a newly industrializing economy and emerging major market. The Asian financial crisis of 1997 altered the region's economic landscape. Although growth slowed to 4.5 percent in 2009, given reduced global demand, Indonesia was the third-fastest growing G-20 member, trailing only China and India. Growth rebounded in 2010 to 6.2 percent and grew 6 percent in 2012. Poverty and unemployment have also declined despite the global financial crisis, with the poverty rate falling to 11.7 percent (2012) from 14.2 percent in 2009 and the unemployment rate falling to 6.1 percent (February 2012) from 6.6 percent in 2011. Indonesia’s improving growth prospects and sound macroeconomic policy have many analysts suggesting that it will become the newest member of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) grouping of leading emerging markets. People and Culture
According to the 2010 census, Indonesia is home to 237,641,326 people, making it the world's fourth most populous nation after China, India, and the United States. In its ethnic groups, languages, culture, and religion, Indonesia is a very diverse nation. This great diversity is reflected in the country's national motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, which means "Unity in Diversity."
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Approximately 300 ethnic groups call Indonesia home, but most (45 percent) Indonesians are Javanese. In addition, 14 percent are Sundanese, 7.5 percent Madurese, 7.5 percent coastal Malays, and 26 percent are of other ethnic groups. There are more than 700 languages and dialects spoken in the archipelago. They normally belong to the different ethnic groups of the population. To make the picture even more colorful, these languages are also spoken in different dialects, while Bahasa Indonesia is the national language. Indonesia's active history has encouraged the growth of many unique cultures. On Java, the Javanese of Central and East Java are known for having several layers of formality in their language. In Javanese, to speak to a boss and then to a child is like speaking two different languages. The Toraja of Sulawesi are famous for their elaborate funeral ceremonies. Often several days long, these ceremonies bring the whole village together in a feast, a procession, and a hillside burial. And the Minangkabau of Sumatra still maintain a matrilineal society. Everything from houses to animals is passed down from mother to daughter. Today, the country maintains this cultural richness, even as it expands into new areas. The traditional music of the gamelan and angklung coexists with new dangdut and rock ’n’ roll. The ancient art of wayang kulit, or shadow puppetry, complements the modern Indonesian film industry. And, while the themes and stories from historic epics like the Ramayana persist, newer literature like that of the author Pramoedya Ananta Toer has become an irrevocable part of Indonesian culture. Six world religions are formally recognized in Indonesia: Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Confucianism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Nevertheless, other faiths can be found, especially in isolated societies. These religions, called traditional faiths, are also accepted. According to recent counts, approximately 85 percent of the population is Muslim, 11 percent is Christian (Protestants and Catholics), and 4 percent is Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, or traditional.
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Indonesia has the world's second-largest tropical forest and the fastest deforestation rate, making it the third-largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, behind China and the United States. Indonesia is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, which include rising sea levels and erosion of coastal areas, increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, species extinction, and the spread of vector-borne diseases. Indonesia is also home to the greatest marine biodiversity on the planet. In August 2007, President Yudhoyono called for the Coral Triangle Initiative, a regional plan of action to enhance coral conservation, promote sustainable fisheries, and ensure food security in the face of climate change. The Coral Triangle region is the global heart of shallow-water marine biodiversity. Natural disasters have devastated many parts of Indonesia over the past few years. On December 26, 2004, a 9.1 to 9.3 magnitude earthquake took place in the Indian Ocean, and the resulting tsunami killed over 130,000 people in Aceh and left more than 500,000 homeless. On March 26, 2005, an 8.7 magnitude earthquake struck between Aceh and northern Sumatra, killing 905 people and displacing tens of thousands. After much media attention on the seismic activity on Mt. Merapi in April and May 2006, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake occurred 30 miles to the southwest. It killed more than 5,000 people and left an estimated 200,000 people homeless in the Yogyakarta region. A 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck Tasikmalaya, West Java, on September 2, 2009, killing approximately 100 people. On September 30, 2009, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck Western Sumatra. No official statistics were released on deaths and injuries; however, press reports indicated more than 1,100 fatalities.
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RESOURCES FOR FURTHER INFORMATION Following is a list of websites for additional information about the Peace Corps and Indonesia and to connect you to returned Volunteers and other invitees. Please keep in mind that although every effort is made to ensure these links are active and current, it cannot be guaranteed. If you do not have access to the Internet, visit your local library. Libraries offer free Internet usage and often let you print information to take home. A note of caution: As you surf the Internet, be aware that you may find bulletin boards and chat rooms in which people are free to express opinions about the Peace Corps based on their own experience, including comments by those who were unhappy with their choice to serve in the Peace Corps. These opinions are not those of the Peace Corps or the U.S. government, and we hope you will keep in mind that no two people experience their service in the same way. General Information About Indonesia www.jatimprov.go.id and www.jabarprov.go.id
These are the official websites of East Java and West Java provincial governments. Information is provided in Bahasa Indonesia. www.countrywatch.com/
On this site, you can learn anything from what time it is in the capital of Indonesia to how to convert from the dollar to the Indonesian rupiah. Just click on Indonesia and go from there. www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations
Visit this site for general travel advice about almost any country in the world. www.state.gov
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The Department of State’s website issues background notes periodically about countries around the world. Find Indonesia and learn more about its social and political history. You can also go to the site’s international travel section to check on conditions that may affect your safety. www.psr.keele.ac.uk/official.htm
This includes links to all the official sites for governments worldwide. www.geography.about.com/library/maps/blindex.htm
This online world atlas includes maps and geographical information, and each country page contains links to other sites, such as the Library of Congress, that contain comprehensive historical, social, and political background. www.cyberschoolbus.un.org/infonation/info.asp
This United Nations site allows you to search for statistical information for member states of the U.N. www.worldinformation.com
This site provides an additional source of current and historical information about countries around the world. Connect With Returned Volunteers and Other Invitees www.rpcv.org
This is the site of the National Peace Corps Association, made up of returned Volunteers. On this site you can find links to all the Web pages of the ―Friends of‖ groups for most countries of service, comprised of former Volunteers who served in those countries. There are also regional groups that frequently get together for social events and local volunteer activities. www.PeaceCorpsWorldwide.org
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This site is hosted by a group of returned Volunteer writers. It is a monthly online publication of essays and Volunteer accounts of their Peace Corps service. Recommended Books
Books About Indonesia 1. Hirata, Andrea. Rainbow Troops (Laskar Pelangi). (Also a film that you may be able to find online.) 2. Pramoedya Ananta Toer. Buru Quartet: This Earth of Mankind, Child of All Nations, Footsteps, House of Glass. Penguin, 1996. (Four works of historical fiction; works well to read with Vickers book, below.) 3. Friend, Theodore. Indonesian Destinies. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003. 4. Vickers, Adrian. A History of Modern Indonesia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005 5. Schwarz, Adam. A Nation in Waiting. Colorado & Oxford: Westview Press, 2000. 6. Taylor, Jean Gelman. Indonesia Peoples and Histories. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2003. 7. Hellwig, Tineke and Tagliacozzo, Eric. The Indonesian Reader. Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2009.
Books About the History of the Peace Corps 1. Hoffman, Elizabeth Cobbs. All You Need is Love: The Peace Corps and the Spirit of the 1960s. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000. 2. Rice, Gerald T. The Bold Experiment: JFK’s Peace Corps. Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1985.
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3. Stossel, Scott. Sarge: The Life and Times of Sargent Shriver. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2004. 4. Meisler, Stanley. When the World Calls: The Inside Story of the Peace Corps and its First 50 Years. Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press, 2011.
Books on the Volunteer Experience 1. Dirlam, Sharon. Beyond Siberia: Two Years in a Forgotten Place. Santa Barbara, Calif.: McSeas Books, 2004. 2. Casebolt, Marjorie DeMoss. Margarita: A Guatemalan Peace Corps Experience. Gig Harbor, Wash.: Red Apple Publishing, 2000. 3. Erdman, Sarah. Nine Hills to Nambonkaha: Two Years in the Heart of an African Village. New York, N.Y.: Picador, 2003. 4. Hessler, Peter. River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze. New York, N.Y.: Perennial, 2001. 5. Kennedy, Geraldine ed. From the Center of the Earth: Stories out of the Peace Corps. Santa Monica, Calif.: Clover Park Press, 1991. 6. Thompsen, Moritz. Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle. Seattle, Wash.: University of Washington Press, 1997 (reprint).
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LIVING CONDITIONS AND VOLUNTEER LIFESTYLE Communications
From a Volunteer: Almost everyone here has a least one cellphone, which is the main means of communication between Indonesian community members, Peace Corps staff, other Volunteers, and internationally with our American families. It’s pay-as-you-go, and vendors who sell minutes can be found anywhere. Dialing 010171 before a 10digit U.S. number is an inexpensive way to call home and the reception is quite good. Internet is easy to access, whether it be Wi-Fi at school, the abundant Internet cafes, or the purchase of a modem. Most of us use Skype either with a headset or with video. Sending letters to the U.S. is relatively expensive, usually the equivalent of $2/letter, and takes about two weeks in either direction. Incoming packages sent through the post office are usually opened by Indonesian customs (there have been reports of items that go missing) and you must pay a customs fee to pick them up at your local post office. FedEx is much more expensive to send, but the packages are never opened, they are tracked, insuring delivery, and they’re delivered directly so you don’t need to pick them up. Housing and Site Location
Site placements are made toward the end of training. Once Peace Corps/Indonesia staff has gotten to know you and the other trainees better, they are in a better position to make decisions about where your skills and abilities would fit best. PEACE CORPS
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To the extent possible, Peace Corps/Indonesia staff takes into account the preferences you have regarding your placement. To date, most Volunteers are within a couple hours of another Volunteer. Peace Corps/Indonesia has no plans to place Volunteers in the capital city or any of the provincial capitals. All Volunteers live with host families for their two years of service. Please see the Working Conditions and Living Conditions sections of the Your Assignment document. Living Allowance and Money Management
During training, Volunteers receive a modest ―walk-around allowance,‖ which covers incidental costs. Once at their permanent sites, Volunteers receive a living allowance, which is intended to cover basic expenses. The living allowance is deposited electronically into your local Indonesian bank account on a monthly basis. The amount of the allowance is determined through an annual survey of expenses by Volunteers. Managing your allowance appropriately is a personal responsibility. Food and Diet
It may be no surprise that the staple food in Indonesia is rice. What may not be as well known is that there is a wide variety of diets among the thousands of islands that make of the Indonesian archipelago and even parts of the same island. Across Java, tastes differ. A popular traditional dish in East Java is pecel which is steamed vegetables in peanut sauce, while in West Java, vegetables are commonly eaten raw in a dish called lalapan. A favorite dish there is karedok, raw vegetables in peanut sauce. A wide range of vegetables are available in the markets, year round. Fruits that are generally available year around include bananas, papayas, oranges, watermelon, melon, and apples. White rice is most common, however brown rice is usually available in big supermarkets in the city, while oatmeal and cereals are generally available at local convenience stores.
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Many people consume tempeh (traditionally prepared soy beans) and tofu (tahu) as their main source of protein. However, a variety of other protein sources are available. Fish is usually available, and cows, goats, and chicken are raised locally. Javanese dishes tend to be oily and spicy. Although vegetables abound, eating in restaurants can be challenging for vegetarians because meat is often mixed in with dishes featuring tofu or vegetables. Eating the food provided by your host family, or cooking your own food, is cheaper and healthier than eating in restaurants. Urban areas offer much more variety. Larger cities such as Surabaya or Bandung have a wide selection of restaurants, from upscale international restaurants to very cheaply priced food carts on the street corners. From a Volunteer: I live with a vegetarian, so there are definitely several alternatives to meat, primarily tofu and tempeh (soy beans). We eat rice three times a day, and a vast majority of the side dishes are fried. Most Indonesians enjoy spicy food, but you can usually ask for the spice on the side. An absurd amount of sugar is typically added to drinks (tea, coffee, juice), and I’ve only seen milk in powder form. Muslims don’t eat pork, so you might need to trek to Bali for some bacon. It’s very common to eat with your right hand, sitting on the floor, but considered extremely rude to eat with your left hand. Vegetables are less common with meals, but easy to find at the market, along with fresh fruit, which is dependent upon the season. The main meat dishes are chicken or fish, but goat, rabbit, and cow are also fairly common. Transportation
From a Volunteer: Transportation is fairly convenient in East Java, but can be frustrating or unpredictable at times. Expect delays, unscheduled stops, heavy traffic, and negotiating with pushy drivers and ticket sellers. Community members travel primarily by motorcycle, which can be inconvenient since Volunteers are not permitted to
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use motorcycles. There are plenty of alternatives for getting around the community, though. Riding a bicycle is the easiest. There are public transportation “angkots” (mini-buses) that travel between villages and the nearest city. From the main city in any regency you can easily find a train, bus, or travel car to other cities in Java. Javanese cities are well connected, which makes traveling to Surabaya or visiting other Volunteers reasonably simple. Angkots are essentially mini-vans that travel back and forth along various routes in Java, from early morning until around 5 p.m., so travel is limited to the daytime. There are not necessarily any regular stops; you just wave the van down anywhere along the street and get off where you like. “Becaks,” or rickshaws, are another option in some areas; they are bicycles with a passenger seat in the front. Using a becak is handy for going short distances or getting around cities. Only major cities in East Java have taxis, so the becak is the alternative to taxis in smaller city settings. Buses are a very comfortable option for traveling long distances. Many are air-conditioned and travel directly from one city to another and depart frequently. Trains have specific schedules, which are more dependable in some cases. Another popular alternative is using a small travel van. There are several travel agencies that operate direct non-stop connections between various cities for a limited number of people, and they will drop you off at your desired location. It’s only slightly more expensive and is a very secure way to travel. Traveling throughout Java can run very smoothly or you can get “taken for a ride” but there are many options and overall travel in Java is efficient and reliable. Geography and Climate
The typical weather in Indonesia is tropical. There are two seasons: rainy and dry. The dry season runs from March to PEACE CORPS
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September with temperatures typically between 84 F and 96 F. The rainy season is from October to March or April with temperatures typically between 71 F and 84 F. The temperature may vary considerably depending on elevation. From a Volunteer: Java is a scenic island with lush green rice paddies, stunning volcanic peaks, and beautiful beaches. The mountainous areas around Malang are higher in elevation and cooler compared with the warmer sea-level coastlines. Java has a tropical climate. There are two seasons in Java—the rainy season and the dry season. The dry season is hot and sunny, but it still rains occasionally. Average temperatures in East Java range from 70 degrees Fahrenheit, on up. The rainy season is sometimes cooler, but still very warm. You may see Indonesians bundled up in fur-lined jackets, but temperatures remain in the 80s most of the time. It generally rains every day, usually in the afternoons. There is a lot of discrepancy about the duration of each season and what months they fall in. The rainy season is commonly from October until April, with the wettest months being December, January, and February. The dry season is from May until October or November. Social Activities
From a Volunteer: Just walking/riding your bike around your community and meeting different types of people has been one of my favorite things. Playing sports (basketball, volleyball, badminton) with the students is another great leisure activity. Cooking together with neighbors to prepare for a large event is one of the best ways to meet the women in your village. There are several holidays where the community comes together, celebrating with a puppet show, (wayang kulit), traditional dancing, or communal eating. Volunteers find that the cities of Surabaya and Malang are relatively easy to get to if they need a weekend/day away with other fellow Volunteers or the modern luxury of a mall, movie, or hamburger.
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Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior
The Javanese value clean, neat, culturally appropriate dress as a measure of professionalism and respect. This is particularly true for teachers. Please see the Cultural Attitudes and Customs in the Workplace and Dress Code sections in the document Your Assignment. Personal Safety
More detailed information about the Peace Corps’ approach to safety is contained in the ―Health Care and Safety‖ chapter, but it is an important issue and cannot be overemphasized. As stated in the Volunteer Handbook, becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer entails certain safety risks. Living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment (oftentimes alone), having a limited understanding of local language and culture, and being perceived as well-off are some of the factors that can put a Volunteer at risk. Many Volunteers experience varying degrees of unwanted attention and harassment. Petty thefts and burglaries are not uncommon, and incidents of physical and sexual assault do occur, although most Indonesia Volunteers complete their two years of service without incident. The Peace Corps has established procedures and policies designed to help you reduce your risks and enhance your safety and security. These procedures and policies, in addition to safety training, will be provided once you arrive in Indonesia. Using these tools, you are expected to take responsibility for your safety and well-being. Each staff member at the Peace Corps is committed to providing Volunteers with the support they need to successfully meet the challenges they will face to have a safe, healthy, and productive service. Volunteers and families are encouraged to look at the safety and security information on the Peace Corps website at www.peacecorps.gov/safety. Information on these pages gives messages on Volunteer health and Volunteer safety. There is a section titled ―Safety and Security —Our Partnership.‖ Among topics addressed are the risks of PEACE CORPS
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serving as a Volunteer, posts’ safety support systems, and emergency planning and communications. Rewards and Frustrations
From a Volunteer: Your service in Indonesia will be a series of rewards and frustrations, highs and lows, ups and downs. At times you might think “What am I doing here?” or “I’m making absolutely no difference” or maybe even “This is terrible. I can’t take it anymore.” Small frustrations may be heightened because you are living in a different place far away from family, friends, and the comforts of home. The important thing to remember is not to let those frustrations blind you from seeing the rewards. There will definitely be rewards. Small differences, small rewards—a child using what little English he or she knows to say hello, a student telling you she had a great time in class—are important and should not be taken for granted. Remembering the rewards will sustain your energy and enthusiasm during the frustrating moments. From a Volunteer: Regardless of where you’re placed, you will be making a difference in at least a handful of lives. That’s one of the best feelings in the world. Also, being challenged in ways you never imagined and succeeding is one of the biggest rewards. One of the challenges is a lack of privacy/independence. Another thing that I struggle with is how to deal with corruption, both at the school and the local level. School cheating is also an issue we have all faced because it’s socially acceptable here. Please also see the Potential Challenges and Rewards and Additional Comments from Volunteers sections of the document Your Assignment.
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PEACE CORPS TRAINING Overview of Pre-Service Training
Upon arrival in Indonesia, all trainees begin an intensive 10-week pre-service training (PST). The purpose of the training is to prepare trainees to thrive as Volunteers during the first months of their service. PST prepares Volunteers to engage safely in their communities, begin their work professionally, communicate easily, adjust culturally, and access needed resources. Throughout PST, you will make adjustments as you learn new ways of doing things; learn to do things you’ve never done before; stop doing things you can no longer do; adjust to new people and their culture; learn to live and work in an environment where a different language is spoken; and get used to various new and unusual (to you!) practices. Welcome to ―the toughest job you’ll ever love!‖ It is a collaborative effort among trainees and staff members, which requires patience, flexibility, and hard work. You will need energy, enthusiasm, patience, and determination. There will be fun, excitement, and joy, as well as many challenges and moments of frustration and exhaustion. The Peace Corps training program, which continues throughout your two years of service, is designed to provide you with the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes that you will need for a successful and rewarding two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Indonesia. Peace Corps training uses an experiential learning model. The experiential approach is learner-centered and allows trainees to take responsibility for their learning. Throughout PST, trainees are challenged to demonstrate to the Peace Corps their desire and ability to live and work in Indonesia as effective and resourceful Volunteers, as professional
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development workers, and as individuals with an enthusiasm for cultural exchange. In addition to reading this welcome book, you might also want to review the Training for Your Job section in the document Your Assignment, which you would have received in your invitation packet. Technical Training
Technical training will prepare you to work in Indonesia by building on the skills you already have and helping you develop new skills in a manner appropriate to the needs of the country. The Peace Corps staff, Indonesia experts, and current Volunteers will conduct the training program. Training places great emphasis on learning how to transfer the skills you have to the community in which you will serve as a Volunteer. Technical training will include sessions on the educational system and expectations in Indonesia and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review your technical sector’s goals and will participate in practicum activities with students and teachers at local schools. You will be supported and evaluated throughout the training to build the confidence and skills you need to undertake your project activities and be a productive member of your community. Language Training
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will find that language skills are key to personal and professional satisfaction during your service. These skills are critical to your job performance: They help you integrate into your community and can ease your personal adaptation to the new surroundings. Therefore, language training is at the heart of the training program. You must successfully meet minimum language requirements to complete training and become a Volunteer. Bahasa Indonesian language instructors teach formal language classes five to six days a week in small groups.
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Your language training will incorporate a community-based approach. In addition to classroom time, you will be given assignments to work on outside of the classroom and with your host family. The goal is to get you to a point of basic social communication skills so you can practice and develop language skills further once you are at your site. Prior to being sworn in as a Volunteer, you will work on strategies to continue language studies during your service. Beyond the national language of Bahasa Indonesia you will be introduced to one of the secondary languages spoken on Java: Javanese, Madurese, or Sundanese, depending on your permanent site placement. Each of these secondary languages have layers of formality and differing degrees of difficulty. Learning even a smattering of these local languages will no doubt endear you with members of your community. Peace Corps will support your efforts to learn the appropriate local language during your service. During pre-service training, our focus will be Bahasa Indonesia as the national language of the country.
As part of your pre-service training, you will live with an Indonesian host family. This experience is designed to ease your transition to life at your site. Families go through an orientation conducted by Peace Corps staff to explain the purpose of preservice training and to assist them in helping you adapt to living in Indonesia. Many Volunteers form strong and lasting friendships with their host families. Cross-cultural and community development training will help you improve your communication skills and understand your role as a facilitator of development. You will be exposed to topics such as community mobilization, conflict resolution, gender and development, nonformal and adult education strategies, and political structures.
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During pre-service training, you will be given basic medical training and information. You will be expected to practice preventive health care and to take responsibility for your own health by adhering to all medical policies. Trainees are required to attend all medical sessions. The topics include preventive health measures and minor and major medical issues that you might encounter while in Indonesia. Nutrition, mental health, setting up a safe living compound, and how to avoid HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are also covered. Safety Training
During the safety training sessions, you will learn how to adopt a lifestyle that reduces your risks at home, at work, and during your travels. You will also learn appropriate, effective strategies for coping with unwanted attention and about your individual responsibility for promoting safety throughout your service. Peace Corps/Indonesia has a comprehensive Emergency Action Plan, which describes the procedure used by staff and Volunteers in the event of an emergency. During safety and security training you will become familiar with the document and understand your role in the event of an emergency. In addition, Peace Corps/Indonesia staff will also train you to identify, reduce, and manage any risks you may encounter. Additional Trainings During Volunteer Service
In its commitment to institutionalize quality training, the Peace Corps has implemented a training system that provides Volunteers with continual opportunities to examine their commitment to Peace Corps service while increasing their technical and crosscultural skills. During service, there are usually three training events. The titles and objectives for those trainings are as follows: In-service training: Provides an opportunity for Volunteers to upgrade their technical, language, and project development
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skills while sharing their experiences and reaffirming their commitment after having served for three to six months. Midservice conference: Assists Volunteers in reviewing their first year, reassessing their personal and project objectives, and planning for their second year of service. Close-of-service conference: Prepares Volunteers for the future after Peace Corps service and reviews their respective projects and personal experiences. To date, Indonesia has held a Sustainability Conference in conjunction with the Close of Service Conference, which brings together principals, teachers, and Volunteers to plan for ways work accomplished together can be continued after the Volunteers departure.
The number, length, and design of these trainings are adapted to country-specific needs and conditions. The key to the training system is that training events are integrated and interrelated, from the pre-departure orientation through the end of your service, and are planned, implemented, and evaluated cooperatively by the training staff, Peace Corps staff, and Volunteers.
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YOUR HEALTH CARE AND SAFETY IN INDONESIA The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every Volunteer. Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative, approach to disease. The Peace Corps in Indonesia maintains a clinic with two full-time medical officers, who take care of Volunteers’ primary health-care needs. Additional medical services, such as testing and basic treatment, are also available in Indonesia at local hospitals. If you become seriously ill, you will be transported either to an American-standard medical facility in the region or to the United States. Health Issues in Indonesia
Most of the medical problems seen in Indonesia are also found in the United States, such as colds, diarrhea, skin infections, headaches, minor injuries, sexually transmitted infections, adjustment disorders, and emotional problems. For Volunteers, these problems may be more frequent or compounded by life in Indonesia because local factors raise the risk of or exacerbate the severity of certain illnesses. It is important for Volunteers to know that counseling services in Indonesia are extremely limited, with no therapists available for extended monitoring of mental health conditions. Also, there are no Alcoholics Anonymous facilities or support groups for recovering alcoholics. The medical problems specific to Indonesia are typical of those in any developing tropical country. Malaria, dengue fever, HIV/AIDS, gastrointestinal infections, typhoid fever, hepatitis, and skin infections (including fungal infections, heat rash, and heat exhaustion) are all common illnesses, most of which are entirely preventable with appropriate knowledge and interventions. Because malaria is endemic in Indonesia, taking anti-malaria pills is required of all Volunteers. You will also be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, meningitis, typhoid, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, mumps, measles, rubella and rabies. If you have had any of these immunizations, please bring PEACE CORPS
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documentation from the providers who administered the vaccines. Without such documentation, the Peace Corps must give you the vaccines again to ensure that you are properly immunized. These immunizations are not optional. Avian influenza is endemic among the fowl population in some parts of Indonesia, especially in East Java. There are reports on human infection in East Java but no confirmed cases of human-tohuman transmission of avian influenza. The World Health Organization (WHO) believes the spread of infection has become consistent with human-to-human transmission. WHO is monitoring the situation very closely in Indonesia, where most cases have occurred to date. Peace Corps/Indonesia provides Relenza to each Volunteer as a precaution. Peace Corps headquarters will continue to monitor avian influenza and will keep the post advised. Helping You Stay Healthy
The Peace Corps will provide you with all the necessary inoculations, medications, and information to stay healthy. Upon your arrival in Indonesia, you will receive a medical handbook. At the end of training, you will receive a medical kit with supplies to take care of mild illnesses and first aid needs. The contents of the kit are listed later in this chapter. During pre-service training, you will have access to basic medical supplies through the medical officer. However, you will be responsible for your own supply of prescription drugs and any other specific medical supplies you require, as the Peace Corps will not order these items during training. Please bring a threemonth supply of any prescription drugs you use, since they may not be available here and it may take several months for shipments to arrive. You will have physicals at midservice and at the end of your service. If you develop a serious medical problem during your service, the medical officer in Indonesia will consult with the Office of Medical Services in Washington, D.C. If it is determined
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that your condition cannot be treated in Indonesia, you may be sent out of the country for further evaluation and care. Maintaining Your Health
As a Volunteer, you must accept considerable responsibility for your own health. Proper precautions will significantly reduce your risk of serious illness or injury. The adage ―An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure‖ becomes extremely important in areas where diagnostic and treatment facilities are not up to the standards of the United States. The most important of your responsibilities in Indonesia is to take the following preventive measures: Malaria: Indonesia is a chloroquine-resistant malarial endemic country. All Volunteers are required to take prophylactic medicine against the disease (one 250 mg tablet of mefloquine once a week or one 100 mg tablet doxycycline daily). Malaria is treatable, but there is no vaccine or treatment for dengue. The only prevention is to avoid being bitten. All Volunteers are advised to use mosquito repellant lotion, such as DEET, at all times and to sleep under mosquito nets. Avian flu: WHO has confirmed human cases from avian influenza (H5N1) in Indonesia. Confirmed cases come from 12 provinces, namely West Java, East Java, DKI Jakarta, Banten, North Sumatra, Central Java, West Sumatera, Lampung, South Sulawesi, South Sumatra, Bali, and Riau. There is no report of transmission from human to human at the date of this printing and Volunteers intending to travel to those areas for shorter periods are at the lowest risk of infection. As a preventive measure, Volunteers should avoid contact with any types of birds, including chickens and ducks, to minimize risk of exposure to avian influenza. It is wise also to avoid all poultry farms, contact with animals in live food markets, and any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals.
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Diphtheria: All trainees/Volunteers are encouraged to get their diphtheria vaccination (e.g., Tdap, DTap) prior to their staging. Diphtheria is an acute bacterial infection of the upper respiratory tract, which results in the formation of a thick coating across the throat, preventing swallowing and, in many cases, the ability to breathe. If left untreated, diphtheria can damage the nervous system and cardiac muscle, leading to chronic heart disease or heart attack. It is a highly contagious disease, spread from one person to another via touching, coughing, or sneezing. Prevention can be done by proper handwashing, covering one’s mouth when coughing or sneezing, and by vaccination.
Rabies: All trainees/Volunteers will receive pre-exposure rabies vaccination series during PST. Rabies is endemic in 24 of the 33 provinces in Indonesia. In Bali, rabies is endemic with the highest mortality rate nationwide. Rabies is a rapidly progressing virus that causes death. It is almost always spread by an animal bite but can also be spread when a rabid animal’s saliva gets directly into the eyes, nose, mouth, or broken skin. The primary sources of human infection worldwide are dogs and certain wildlife species, such as foxes, raccoons, mongooses, and bats. The best protection is to avoid exposure; don't pet any dogs or pick up street cats or kittens. Pets in-country are not always vaccinated against rabies. Air pollution: Indonesia has many of the world’s most polluted cities. It is important to be honest with the Peace Corps medical officer about any history you may have of asthma, reactive airway disease, or other respiratory conditions that could be affected by high levels of air pollution. Respiratory infections: These are common occurrences. To prevent them, you are encouraged to get enough sleep, maintain good eating habits, refrain from smoking, get a moderate amount of exercise, practice stress management, and wash your hands
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frequently. Also, do not share a dish (using same spoon/fork) with someone who has a cold. Diarrhea: Your medical officer will discuss specific standards for water and food preparation in Indonesia during pre-service training. It is also important to pay close attention to the sanitary conditions of restaurants, wash your hands frequently, and carry potable water with you at all times. Stress: Successful strategies for stress management include exercise, journaling, listening to or playing music, talking to peers, and reading. Dental problems: The best way to avoid broken fillings, receding gums, and other dental problems is to maintain a regular regimen of brushing and flossing correctly. Always check rice that you eat or prepare for foreign bodies, such as small pebbles. Many illnesses that afflict Volunteers worldwide are entirely preventable if proper food and water precautions are taken. These illnesses include food poisoning, parasitic infections, hepatitis A, dysentery, Guinea worms, tapeworms, and typhoid fever. Your medical officer will discuss specific standards for water and food preparation in Indonesia during pre-service training. You are taking risks if you choose to be sexually active. To lessen risk, use a condom every time you have sex. Whether your partner is a host country citizen, a fellow Volunteer, or anyone else, do not assume this person is free of HIV/AIDS or other STIs. You will receive more information from the medical officer about this important issue. Volunteers are expected to adhere to an effective means of birth control to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. Your medical officer can help you decide on the most appropriate method to suit your individual needs. Contraceptive methods are available without charge from the medical officer.
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It is critical to your health that you promptly report to the medical office or other designated facility for scheduled immunizations, and that you let the medical officer know immediately of significant illnesses and injuries. Women’s Health Information
Pregnancy is treated in the same manner as other Volunteer health conditions that require medical attention but also have programmatic ramifications. The Peace Corps is responsible for determining the medical risk and the availability of appropriate medical care if the Volunteer remains in-country. Given the circumstances under which Volunteers live and work in Peace Corps countries, it is rare that the Peace Corps’ medical and programmatic standards for continued service during pregnancy can be met. If feminine hygiene products are not available for you to purchase on the local market, the Peace Corps medical officer in Indonesia will provide them. If you require a specific product, please bring a three-month supply with you. Your Peace Corps Medical Kit
The Peace Corps medical officer will provide you with a kit that contains basic items necessary to prevent and treat illnesses that may occur during service. Kit items can be periodically restocked at the medical office. Medical Kit Contents
Ace bandages Adhesive tape American Red Cross First Aid & Safety Handbook Antacid tablets (Tums) Antibiotic ointment (Bacitracin/Neomycin/Polymycin B) Antiseptic antimicrobial skin cleaner (Hibiclens) Band-Aids
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Butterfly closures Calamine lotion Cepacol lozenges Condoms Dental floss Diphenhydramine HCL 25 mg (Benadryl) Insect repellent stick (Cutter) Iodine tablets (for water purification) Lip balm (Chapstick) Oral rehydration salts Oral thermometer (Fahrenheit) Pseudoephedrine HCL 30 mg (Sudafed) Robitussin-DM lozenges (for cough) Scissors Sterile gauze pads Tetrahydrozaline eyedrops (Visine) Tinactin (antifungal cream) Tweezers Before You Leave: A Medical Checklist
If there has been any change in your health—physical, mental, or dental—since you submitted your examination reports to the Peace Corps, you must immediately notify the Office of Medical Services. Failure to disclose new illnesses, injuries, allergies, or pregnancy can endanger your health and may jeopardize your eligibility to serve. If your dental exam was done more than a year ago, or if your physical exam is more than two years old, contact the Office of Medical Services to find out whether you need to update your records. If your dentist or Peace Corps dental consultant has recommended that you undergo dental treatment or repair, you must complete that work and make sure your dentist sends
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requested confirmation reports or X-rays to the Office of Medical Services. If you wish to avoid having duplicate vaccinations, contact your physician’s office to obtain a copy of your immunization record and bring it to your pre-departure orientation. If you have any immunizations prior to Peace Corps service, the Peace Corps cannot reimburse you for the cost. The Peace Corps will provide all the immunizations necessary for your overseas assignment, either at your pre-departure orientation or shortly after you arrive in Indonesia. You do not need to begin taking malaria medication prior to departure. Bring a three-month supply of any prescription or over-thecounter medication you use on a regular basis, including birth control pills. Although the Peace Corps cannot reimburse you for this three-month supply, it will order refills during your service. While awaiting shipment—which can take several months—you will be dependent on your own medication supply. The Peace Corps will not pay for herbal or nonprescribed medications, such as St. John’s wort, glucosamine, selenium, or antioxidant supplements. You are encouraged to bring copies of medical prescriptions signed by your physician. This is not a requirement, but they might come in handy if you are questioned in transit about carrying a three-month supply of prescription drugs. If you wear eyeglasses, bring two pairs with you. If a pair breaks, the Peace Corps will replace them, using the information your doctor in the United States provided on the eyeglasses form during your examination. The Peace Corps discourages you from using contact lenses during your service to reduce your risk of developing a serious infection or other eye disease. Most Peace Corps countries do not have appropriate water and sanitation to support eye care with the use of contact lenses. The Peace Corps will not supply or replace contact lenses or associated solutions
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unless an ophthalmologist has recommended their use for a specific medical condition and the Peace Corps Office of Medical Services has given approval. If you are eligible for Medicare, are over 50 years of age, or have a health condition that may restrict your future participation in health-care plans, you may wish to consult an insurance specialist about unique coverage needs before your departure. The Peace Corps will provide all necessary health care from the time you leave for your pre-departure orientation until you complete your service. When you finish, you will be entitled to the post-service health care benefits described in the Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook. You may wish to consider keeping an existing health plan in effect during your service if you think age or pre-existing conditions might prevent you from re-enrolling in your current plan when you return home.
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Safety and Security—Our Partnership
Serving as a Volunteer overseas entails certain safety and security risks. Living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment, a limited understanding of the local language and culture, and the perception of being a wealthy American are some of the factors that can put a Volunteer at risk. Property theft and burglaries are not uncommon. Incidents of physical and sexual assault do occur, although almost all Volunteers complete their two years of service without serious personal safety problems. Beyond knowing that Peace Corps approaches safety and security as a partnership with you, it might be helpful to see how this partnership works. Peace Corps has policies, procedures, and training in place to promote your safety. The Peace Corps depends on you to follow those policies and to put into practice what you have learned. An example of how this works in practice—in this case to help manage the risk of burglary—follows:
Peace Corps assesses the security environment where you will live and work Peace Corps inspects the house where you will live according to established security criteria Peace Corp provides you with resources to take measures such as installing new locks Peace Corps ensures you are welcomed by host country authorities in your new community Peace Corps responds to security concerns that you raise You lock your doors and windows You adopt a lifestyle appropriate to the community where you live You get to know neighbors You decide if purchasing personal articles insurance is appropriate for you You don’t change residences before being authorized by Peace Corps You communicate concerns that you have to Peace Corps staff
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This welcome book contains sections on Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle; Peace Corps Training; and Your Health Care and Safety that all include important safety and security information to help you understand this partnership. The Peace Corps makes every effort to give Volunteers the tools they need to function in the safest way possible, because working to maximize the safety and security of Volunteers is our highest priority. Not only do we provide you with training and tools to prepare for the unexpected, but we teach you to identify, reduce, and manage the risks you may encounter. Factors that Contribute to Volunteer Risk
There are several factors that can heighten a Volunteer’s risk, many of which are within the Volunteer’s control. By far the most common crime that Volunteers experience is theft. Thefts often occur when Volunteers are away from their sites, in crowded locations (such as markets or on public transportation), and when leaving items unattended. Before you depart for Indonesia there are several measures you can take to reduce your risk: Leave valuable objects in U.S. Leave copies of important documents and account numbers with someone you trust in the U.S. Purchase a hidden money pouch or "dummy" wallet as a decoy Purchase personal articles insurance After you arrive in Indonesia, you will receive more detailed information about common crimes, factors that contribute to Volunteer risk, and local strategies to reduce that risk. For example, Volunteers in Indonesia learn to do the following:
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Choose safe routes and times for travel, and travel with someone trusted by the community whenever possible Make sure one’s personal appearance is respectful of local customs Avoid high-crime areas Know the local language to get help in an emergency Make friends with local people who are respected in the community Limit alcohol consumption
As you can see from this list, you must be willing to work hard and adapt your lifestyle to minimize the potential for being a target for crime. As with anywhere in the world, crime does exist in Indonesia. You can reduce your risk by avoiding situations that place you at risk and by taking precautions. Crime at the village or town level is less frequent than in the large cities; people know each other and generally are less likely to steal from their neighbors. Tourist attractions in large towns are favorite worksites for pickpockets. The following are other security concerns in Indonesia of which you should be aware: Petty theft is common, particularly on crowded public streets. Thieves on motorcycles may snatch handbags from pedestrians. Volunteers in Indonesia have experienced thefts, generally when they were away from their site and particularly while taking public transportation. Volunteers are trained in how to mitigate such theft during PST.
Female Volunteers have reported touching or groping incidents while traveling alone. There is no indication that Volunteers are being specifically targeted; Indonesian women report such incidents as a common occurrence. In addition, PEACE CORPS
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these acts do not appear to be a precursor to more serious levels of sexual assault. The vast majority of Volunteers report feeling safe and secure within their communities and receive training throughout their service on how to reduce the risk from these and other types of crime. Alcohol consumption is culturally suppressed in Indonesia, and in many places it is considered a serious violation to local norms and traditions. In addition, there are news reports of deaths in the general population caused by ―homemade‖ (and therefore unregulated) alcohol and spirits. Volunteers are trained so that they understand the risks and ramifications of consuming alcohol. With more than 35 million motor vehicles in Indonesia, traffic accidents are common. The danger of congested streets is compounded by drivers who may not know or heed traffic regulations. Traffic safety issues are discussed during training. Indonesia experiences periodic acts of political violence, civil unrest, and terrorism. Peace Corps/Indonesia, with strong support of Indonesian government counterparts, places Volunteers in areas of the country where their exposure to such acts is relatively remote. The prime targets of terrorist activities have not been individuals, but rather institutions such as the police and governmental offices. Sentiment toward the United States, while trending in a positive direction over the past few years, could potentially pose a risk. Terrorism is, unfortunately, part of Indonesian’s recent history. Among the terrorist attacks in the last decade have been the Bali bombings in 2002 and 2003, and in Jakarta in 2009. During training, Peace Corps staff and guest speakers fully inform Volunteers about the targets and perpetrators of these events, as well as steps the Indonesian government has taken in response. Provinces or districts which have a record of political unrest are not considered for Volunteer placement. After training, Volunteers receive relevant updates and alerts, as needed. PEACE CORPS
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Indonesia is geographically situated in the ―Ring of Fire,‖ an area of the Pacific basin where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. Sites located within a 10kilometer radius of an active volcano, or those which are prone to flooding or landslides, are not considered for Volunteer placement. During training, Emergency Action Plans are presented and practiced. After training, Volunteers receive relevant updates and alerts, as needed. While whistles and exclamations may be fairly common on the street, this behavior can be reduced if you dress conservatively, abide by local cultural norms, and respond according to the training you will receive. Staying Safe: Don’t Be a Target for Crime
You must be prepared to take on a large degree of responsibility for your own safety. You can make yourself less of a target, ensure that your home is secure, and develop relationships in your community that will make you an unlikely victim of crime. While the factors that contribute to your risk in Indonesia may be different, in many ways you can do what you would do if you moved to a new city anywhere: Be cautious, check things out, ask questions, learn about your neighborhood, know where the more risky locations are, use common sense, and be aware. You can reduce your vulnerability to crime by integrating into your community, learning the local language, acting responsibly, and abiding by Peace Corps policies and procedures. Serving safely and effectively in Indonesia will require that you accept some restrictions on your current lifestyle. Support from Staff
If a trainee or Volunteer is the victim of a safety incident, Peace Corps staff is prepared to provide support. All Peace Corps posts have procedures in place to respond to incidents of crime committed against Volunteers. The first priority for all posts in the aftermath of an incident is to ensure the Volunteer is safe and
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receiving medical treatment as needed. After assuring the safety of the Volunteer, Peace Corps staff response may include reassessing the Volunteer’s worksite and housing arrangements and making any adjustments, as needed. In some cases, the nature of the incident may necessitate a site or housing transfer. Peace Corps staff will also assist Volunteers with preserving their rights to pursue legal sanctions against the perpetrators of the crime. It is very important that Volunteers report incidents as they occur, not only to protect their peer Volunteers, but also to preserve the future right to prosecute. Should Volunteers decide later in the process that they want to proceed with the prosecution of their assailant, this option may no longer exist if the evidence of the event has not been preserved at the time of the incident. Crime Data for Indonesia
Crime data and statistics for Indonesia, which is updated yearly, are available at the following link: http://www.peacecorps.gov/countrydata/indonesia Please take the time to review this important information. Few Peace Corps Volunteers are victims of serious crimes and crimes that do occur overseas are investigated and prosecuted by local authorities through the local courts system. If you are the victim of a crime, you will decide if you wish to pursue prosecution. If you decide to prosecute, the Peace Corps will be there to assist you. One of our tasks is to ensure you are fully informed of your options and understand how the local legal process works. The Peace Corps will help you ensure your rights are protected to the fullest extent possible under the laws of the country. If you are the victim of a serious crime, you will learn how to get to a safe location as quickly as possible and contact your Peace Corps office. It’s important that you notify Peace Corps staff as soon as you can so the Peace Corps can provide you with the help you need. PEACE CORPS
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Volunteer Safety Support in Indonesia
The Peace Corps’ approach to safety is a five-pronged plan to help you stay safe during your service and includes the following: information sharing, Volunteer training, site selection criteria, a detailed emergency action plan, and protocols for addressing safety and security incidents. Indonesia’s in-country safety program is outlined below. The Peace Corps/Indonesia office will keep you informed of any issues that may impact Volunteer safety through information sharing. Regular updates will be provided in Volunteer newsletters and in memorandums from the country director. In the event of a critical situation or emergency, you will be contacted through the emergency communication network. An important component of the capacity of Peace Corps to keep you informed is your buy-in to the partnership concept with the Peace Corps staff. It is expected that you will do your part in ensuring that Peace Corps staff members are kept apprised of your movements incountry so they are able to inform you. Volunteer training will include sessions on specific safety and security issues in Indonesia. This training will prepare you to adopt a culturally appropriate lifestyle and exercise judgment that promotes safety and reduces risk in your home, at work, and while traveling. Safety training is offered throughout service and is integrated into the language, cross-cultural aspects, health, and other components of training. You will be expected to successfully complete all training competencies in a variety of areas, including safety and security, as a condition of service. Certain site selection criteria are used to determine safe housing for Volunteers before their arrival. The Peace Corps staff works closely with host communities and counterpart agencies to help prepare them for a Volunteer’s arrival and to establish expectations of their respective roles in supporting the Volunteer.
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Each site is inspected before the Volunteer’s arrival to ensure placement in appropriate, safe, and secure housing and worksites. Site selection is based, in part, on any relevant site history; access to medical, banking, postal, and other essential services; availability of communications, transportation, and markets; different housing options and living arrangements; and other Volunteer support needs. You will also learn about Peace Corps/Indonesia’s detailed emergency action plan, which is implemented in the event of civil or political unrest or a natural disaster. When you arrive at your site, you will complete and submit a site locator form with your address, contact information, and a map to your house. If there is a security threat, you will gather with other Volunteers in Indonesia at predetermined locations until the situation is resolved or the Peace Corps decides to evacuate. Finally, in order for the Peace Corps to be fully responsive to the needs of Volunteers, it is imperative that Volunteers immediately report any security incident to the Peace Corps office. The Peace Corps has established protocols for addressing safety and security incidents in a timely and appropriate manner, and it collects and evaluates safety and security data to track trends and develop strategies to minimize risks to future Volunteers.
DIVERSITY AND CROSS-CULTURAL ISSUES In fulfilling its mandate to share the face of America with host countries, the Peace Corps is making special efforts to assure that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are serving in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent history. Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race and to
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establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other despite our many differences. Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways, however, it poses challenges. In Indonesia, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyle, background, and beliefs are judged in a cultural context very different from their own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Indonesia. Outside of Indonesia’s major cities, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What people view as typical American behavior or norms may be a misconception, such as the belief that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. The people of Indonesia are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to cultural differences that you present. To ease the transition and adapt to life in Indonesia, you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises in how you present yourself as an American and as an individual. For example, female trainees and Volunteers may not be able to exercise the independence available to them in the United States; political discussions need to be handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs may best remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques and personal strategies for coping with these and other limitations. The Peace Corps staff will lead diversity and sensitivity discussions during pre-service training and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own. Overview of Diversity in Indonesia
The Peace Corps staff in Indonesia recognizes the adjustment issues that come with diversity and will endeavor to provide
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support and guidance. During pre-service training, several sessions will be held to discuss diversity and coping mechanisms. The Peace Corps looks forward to having male and female Volunteers from a variety of races, ethnic groups, ages, religions, and sexual orientations, and hope that you will become part of a diverse group of Americans who take pride in supporting one another and demonstrating the richness of American culture. What Might a Volunteer Face?
From a Volunteer: Indonesians are very forward when it comes to commenting on your looks. It is, therefore, extremely common for both men and women to comment on your weight whether they see you as thin or large. This might be accompanied by laughter or even by some gentle poking. Although this sounds terrifying, it’s important to understand that their intention isn’t to hurt you. Moreover, oftentimes being called gemuk (fat) or kurus (thin) isn’t really about your weight but about whether they see you as happy or not. If you’re called gemuk, they mean to say that you look at home and comfortable. They’re very pleased when a foreigner is happy in their country. Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
From a Volunteer: Although it’s ever-changing with this next generation, there are certain gender roles the older generation still holds onto. For example, women are expected to marry and start having children in their late teens/early 20s, so being 25 years or older can be considered “an old maid.” Also, living in a Muslim society, women are not expected to “act like men.” This varies in each community, but ranges from playing soccer, to wearing pants, or doing anything that might be physically straining. Oftentimes local men may feel entitled to tell you what, when, where, or how to do something. Jogging is not forbidden, but may be deemed inappropriate for young women to do alone. There may be pressure to look “beautiful,” which can mean wearing a skirt, lipstick, and doing your hair in a certain way. It’s also frowned upon for a woman to walk around unaccompanied after sunset. PEACE CORPS
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Possible Issues for Male Volunteers
From a Volunteer: In most communities it is considered inappropriate to have a girl/woman over at a man’s house without any older supervision. In general, men are not supposed to spend one-on-one time with young, unmarried women; it is frowned upon. Therefore, male Volunteers should be a bit cautious and try to avoid these situations. Although men experience significantly less dress restrictions than women, male Volunteers may want to refrain from wearing shorts except when exercising or at home. Wearing shorts is uncommon among men and might be excessively informal (despite the hot weather). That said, each community is different, and if you see other men wearing shorts on a hot hot day, it’s not the worst thing in the world to wear shorts too. Also, male PCVs should make sure their hair isn’t too long. Long hair is looked at as unprofessional. Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
From a Volunteer: It's hard to make a generalization about the way Indonesians regard people of different ethnicities and backgrounds because, just like in the U.S. and other countries, people have a variety of attitudes toward, and reactions to, diversity. For the most part, Volunteers have found Indonesian people to be extremely accepting of Volunteers of color (especially since many Indonesians are the same colors). Many Indonesians have never really thought about the fact that Americans come in different races, so Volunteers may find themselves explaining about the diverse backgrounds of Americans. Fairly regularly Volunteers receive comments that, in the U.S., would be considered rude or insensitive (e.g., "Why don't you use lotion to make your skin lighter?" "You should straighten your
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hair"). While this may be perceived as insensitive, it is intended to be helpful. People here are not malicious, and they are genuinely curious about our differences, presenting a wonderful opportunity to increase understanding. From a Volunteer: As a Volunteer of color, I am often asked "Are you really American?" This question is sometimes followed by more questions related to family history. From a Volunteer: As an Asian-American Volunteer, you will have to explain yourself (the how and why you are American) to many Indonesians. While doing this day in and day out can be tiring, it’s helpful to remind yourself that to each of those people asking, it may very well be their first discussion about diversity in the U.S. I’ve had many good talks come out of this. From a Volunteer: Sometimes people in my village refer to darker-skinned people as being more primitive, or descendants of Papua. It is not considered taboo or rude to make fun of people based on the color of their skin. Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
From a Volunteer: Indonesians have a great deal of respect for age so it may come as a shock to be treated as an incompetent child—told when to take a bath, how to eat, and to be “careful” when you leave the house. Language acquisition will likely be painfully slow as the brain synapses no longer have the youthful speed they once had. The amount of daily new information may be overwhelming. Not only will you need to learn Indonesian, and a little Javanese and Arabic, but possibly Facebook, thumb drives, text messaging, and blogging.
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You may discover that you now need to use reading glasses due to the low-level lighting available. Or perhaps your hearing is based a lot on the context of words and suddenly you wish you had hearing aids. Recent college graduates thrive on competition and it may be hard to find yourself at the bottom in the inherent classroom comparisons. Your "peer" support group within the Peace Corps community may consist of people you previously would classify as "kids." Diarrhea/constipation and squat toilets are harder with aging leg muscles! Indonesians will ask your age and be amazed at your stamina. You will probably be viewed as a cross between a movie star and a superhero.
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Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers
From a Volunteer: Indonesians can be tolerant, welcoming, and accepting of many differences; bhinneka tunggal ika (unity in diversity) is the national motto. However, GLBTQ Volunteers in Indonesia should remember that Indonesia is a largely conservative and religious country. In rural areas where community culture tends toward the homogenous, sexualities or gender identifications that fall outside the Indonesian norm are not commonly discussed or acknowledged. While transvestitism (waria) is popular in Indonesian entertainment culture, and displays of physical affection between same-sex friends are perhaps more common here than in the U.S., non-normative sexualities and gender identifications are just that: non-normative. In rural Indonesia, foreign visitors can be conspicuous. Volunteers should strive to maintain credibility and integrity in the eyes of host country nationals and counterparts. A decision to behave publicly in accordance with the norms of the host culture can be a valuable approach to a Volunteer's integration into his or her community and workplace. Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
The 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia guarantees the freedom for any Indonesian to hold and practice any religion. In 1965 a presidential decree mentioned that six religions are practiced by the majority of Indonesians: Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism; this statement is sometimes interpreted as official recognition of these faiths. News media cover issues of religious freedom and tolerance regularly, often in response to local demonstrations or attacks against particular groups of believers. Like many other features of culture, the role of religion in Indonesia is simply not the same as that in the United States. For example, routine paperwork in the public sphere often asks for one PEACE CORPS
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to state a religion, and Indonesian job applicants typically include their religion on résumés. Although personal and specific questions about faith may be less common (and are often asked of Volunteers simply out of curiosity or an interest in accommodating any needs), all Volunteers should think carefully about how they will respond to questions about religious beliefs and observance. If a Volunteer is interested in identifying him/herself as part of a particular religious group, staff will support you. However, Peace Corps/Indonesia encourages you to discuss this thoroughly with staff prior to any disclosure so you understand possible consequences. Note that Volunteers might put themselves at risk if they choose to disclose their beliefs to someone they don’t know well. Possible issues for Christian Volunteers From a Volunteer: Being a practicing Christian in Indonesia is very different from being a Christian in the U.S. Indonesian Muslims on the whole are very tolerant of different religions. The experience of being in the religious minority has been extremely eye-opening and valuable to Volunteers, and has made them look at religion in the U.S. from a different perspective. Apart from some very specific questions (“What is your religion?” “What can Christians eat/do?”), religious differences aren't often discussed. The most difficult conversations for me have been ones in which well-meaning Indonesians suggest conversion. For example, you may have students who are genuinely worried because you don't join them for prayers, or you may be approached by strangers on the street who see you going into a church. These “suggestions” have never felt threatening, just part of a social interaction. It has been possible for Christian Volunteers (either Catholic or Protestant) to attend church in many communities, though the language barrier can initially (and subsequently) be an issue. Indonesian Christians have been very welcoming.
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Possible Issues for Jewish Volunteers Christian and Muslim staff members at Peace Corps/Indonesia believe there are significant issues that a Jewish Volunteer may face in Indonesia. There is a general lack of familiarity with Jewish traditions, such as holidays, religious practices, or dietary needs. The word for Jewish in Indonesian, yahudi, is commonly used as an epithet meaning a bad, manipulative, or lying person. Religion teachers at school, and clerics during Friday prayers, use verses from the Koran to vilify Jewish people, particularly as it relates to Israel’s actions in the Middle East and a perceived suppression of Islam. Students are expected to know these verses for exams. As a Volunteer (regardless of your background), you may hear anti-Semitic comments that range from being mildly to violently hateful. You might also at times feel that you cannot adequately defend your political, religious, and cultural views for fear of being rejected by your community, and that you are failing at creating meaningful cultural exchange. From a Volunteer: When asked about my personal beliefs, I usually present myself as Catholic without going into detail. My mom is Catholic and she sometimes took me to church growing up so I have some knowledge about that. I don't know how useful this might be to other Jewish PCVs but it's how I approach the religion question. Possible issues for Muslim Volunteers As practices within the faith of Islam can vary, being Muslim as a Peace Corps/Indonesia Volunteer may result in pressure to behave differently or discuss things that are uncomfortable to the Volunteer. From a Volunteer: Being a Muslim Volunteer in Indonesia has provided a unique experience for me. I have been able to participate in religious events as another member of the congregation, as opposed to a curious bystander. It has also made certain Indonesians more comfortable with me than they would have been if I were not a Muslim. However, being a Muslim does come with its own sets of
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challenges. Many Indonesians assume that I am Arab because they don’t believe that there are any Muslims in the United States who are not immigrants. In addition, growing up non-Muslim in America has led me to have different opinions than are generally held by Muslim Indonesians. Normally this would not be an issue, but sometimes Muslim Indonesians assume that since we are of the same religion, we will see eye-to-eye on everything. I am often asked my opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is a touchy subject in any country. Serving as a Muslim Volunteer in Indonesia does afford you a different perspective in certain cases, but for the most part you will still be going through the same experiences as non-Muslim volunteers.
From a Volunteer: One of the main tenets of the Indonesian state is the belief in one God. For those Volunteers who are not monotheists, expressing their religious beliefs or unbelief can be a sensitive issue. Monotheism is equated with morality in Indonesia, and nonmonotheists may be considered immoral. Until you attain a very high level of trust with an Indonesian colleague, you are very strongly advised to avoid a situation in which you express your disbelief because that will compromise your standing in your community and school. This is not to say you should lie about your beliefs, but it is oftentimes better to avoid discussions on your religious beliefs or give non-committal answers. People who are religious but non-practicing are common here, so you will likely not be pressured to go to any religious services. Indonesians are very accepting of many religions, and will accept your belief in any of the accepted religions without hassle. Possible Issues for Married Volunteers
If you are joining Peace Corps/Indonesia with your spouse, you will experience rewards and frustrations similar to any Volunteer; however, your marital status will add a dimension—sometimes enjoyable, sometimes not—to your community integration. Your Indonesian host-family, school colleagues, and neighbors will be curious about your marriage, and topics such as gender roles,
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family planning, and degrees of independence or privacy may become points of frequent discussion. You should know that during the 10 weeks of PST, you will live in the same community as your spouse, but in a different household. This is meant to facilitate rapid language learning and cultural adaptation. At the end of training, you and your spouse will live together with a host family at your permanent site, where you will be assigned to teach at different schools. From married Volunteers: Living with your spouse in your host families’ home, you will only have one bedroom for the two of you. Sometimes, you would like privacy for yourself, and having alone time may require more work than it did back home. Find something that you enjoy doing alone, an activity that your spouse does not participate in. This is especially great when you have just had an argument and need some time to decompress. Living with a host family can be a wonderful experience, but the drawback is definitely privacy. Many Indonesian homes are full, with not only the immediate family, but grandparents and other family or friends as well. Indonesia is hot enough that closing doors and blocking airflow makes the environment uncomfortable. This may also decrease the opportunities to be intimate with your spouse.
Being married, you automatically have a friend and helper! You will be exposed to more activities, invited to more community events, and your schools will enjoy getting to know you both. You are almost seen as two people in one, double the fun, and you can keep each other comfortable during those super-awkward moments. Since you are both teachers, you can bounce ideas off of each other and create lesson plans together. Working as a team, you can share in any progress or difficult situations.
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Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities
As part of the medical clearance process, the Peace Corps Office of Medical Services determined that you were physically and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable accommodations, to perform a full tour of Volunteer service in Indonesia without unreasonable risk of harm to yourself or interruption of service. The Peace Corps/Indonesia staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations for them in training, housing, jobsites, or other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Indonesia?
Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds those limits. The Peace Corps has its own size and weight limits and will not pay the cost of transport for baggage that exceeds these limits. The Peace Corps’ allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 80 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds for any one bag. Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their overseas assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers. This is an important safety precaution. What is the electric current in Indonesia? 220 V/230 V How much money should I bring?
Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. You will be given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which should cover your expenses. Volunteers often wish to bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are preferable to cash. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs. When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
Each Volunteer accrues two vacation days per month of service (excluding training). Leave may not be taken during training, the first three months of service, or the last three months of service,
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except in conjunction with an authorized emergency leave, or, under exceptional circumstances, as approved by the country director. Family and friends are welcome to visit you after preservice training and the first three months of service as long as their stay does not interfere with your work. Extended stays at your site are not encouraged and may require permission from your country director. The Peace Corps is not able to provide your visitors with visa, medical, or travel assistance. Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for personal effects; Volunteers are ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. However, you can purchase personal property insurance before you leave. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, insurance application forms will be provided, and we encourage you to consider them carefully. Volunteers should not take valuable items overseas. Jewelry, watches, radios, cameras, and expensive appliances are subject to loss, theft, and breakage, and in many places, satisfactory maintenance and repair services are not available. Do I need an international driver’s license?
Volunteers in Indonesia do not need an international driver’s license because they are prohibited from operating privately owned motorized vehicles. Most urban travel is by bus or taxi. Rural travel ranges from buses and minibuses to trucks, bicycles, and lots of walking. What should I bring as gifts for Indonesia friends and my host family?
This is not a requirement. A token of friendship is sufficient. Some gift suggestions include knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; or photos to give away.
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Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
Peace Corps trainees are not assigned to individual sites until the later stages of pre-service training. This gives Peace Corps staff the opportunity to assess each trainee’s technical and language skills prior to assigning sites, in addition to finalizing site selections with ministry counterparts. You will have the opportunity to provide input on your site preferences, including geographical location, distance from other Volunteers, and living conditions. However, keep in mind that many factors influence the site selection process and that the Peace Corps cannot guarantee placement where you would ideally like to be. Most Volunteers live in small towns or in rural villages and are usually within a few hours from another Volunteer. How can my family contact me in an emergency?
The Peace Corps Counseling and Outreach Unit (COU) provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, instruct your family to notify the COU immediately if an emergency arises, such as a serious illness or death of a family member. During normal business hours, the number for the COU is 855.455.1961; then select option 2. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the COU duty officer can be reached at the above number. For non-emergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 855.855.1961, select option 1, then extension 2414. Can I call home from Indonesia?
Calling home is easy. In most areas, cell reception is good. Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
If your American phone has a changeable SIM card, you can bring it, though it is very easy and inexpensive to buy a phone in Indonesia. If you do not bring one, you will likely buy one within the first month.
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Will there be email and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
While the Internet is widely available in East and West Java, it can be difficult to access in the more remote communities where the Peace Corps is increasingly placing Volunteers, Even when the Internet is available, connection times can be slow. While you don’t need to bring a computer from home, many Volunteers appreciate having one with them. Computers can be purchased at prices comparable to those in the United States.
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WELCOME LETTERS FROM INDONESIA VOLUNTEERS Please see the welcome letter from Peace Corps Indonesia’s Peer Support Network, sent separately.
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PACKING LIST This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Indonesia and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything on the list, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Indonesia. Some General Notes on Clothing: Many of you, male and female, will be given a uniform by your school. Knowing this may reduce the amount of ―teaching‖ clothes you feel you need to bring. Tailoring is very cheap here, so don’t be afraid to pack lightly for service and plan on having some things made once you arrive. Indonesian teachers dress very well; don’t expect to wear T-shirts, jeans, and flip-flops to school. Higher-quality clothes that can withstand two years of handwashing are preferred. You’ll also appreciate clothes made of lightweight and/or fast-drying cloth. You can find most clothing you need here, although average (or above)-sized Americans may have difficulty and will need to get things made. Leather bags or jackets may mold quickly here. All clothing should be clean upon arrival.
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Female Volunteers comment that women shouldn’t bother bringing anything low cut as you’re unlikely to wear it in your communities.
Recommended Items for Women: Pants: Dressy pants for school and events; jeans and casual pants for outside of school. Shorts/capris for around-the-house wear or vacation Skirts: Skirts that fall below the knee. Black is a safe, conservative color choice. Some Volunteers will be at conservative schools that require long (to the ankle) skirts; if you have them, bring them. If not, and you end up needing them, they can be made here. Shoes: Comfortable, black, closed-toe, ideally slip-on dress shoes. Assume you will be on your feet all day and walking in them, and taking them off when you enter homes. Athletic shoes, flip-flops, nicer sandals. If you wear a large size, consider bringing extra pairs. Shirts: Dress shirts with three-quarter to full-length sleeves, that button to the collar; other nice shirts; T-shirts for outside of school Other: Cotton underwear; undershirts (to soak up sweat); extra bras; bathing suit; tank tops and shorts as pajamas (assume you may not wear these outside your house, or perhaps even your bedroom) The Diva Cup or a large supply of tampons. (Tampons are rare in Indonesia and pads are a hassle due to difficulty of disposal.) Naproxen or your favorite menstruation-related pain reliever Rain jacket, a light jacket and/or sweatshirt (it can get cold at night or in higher elevations)
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Recommended Items for Men: Pants: Black pants and other khaki-type pants for school; jeans and casual pants for outside of schools Shoes: Comfortable, black, closed-toe, ideally slip-on dress shoes. Assume you will be on your feet all day and walking in them, and taking them off when you enter homes. Athletic shoes, flip-flops, nicer sandals. If you wear a large size, consider bringing extra pairs. Shirts: Long and short-sleeved button-down shirts (but can buy them here too); T-shirts for outside of school Other: Cotton underwear; undershirts (to soak up sweat); shorts and T-shirts; bathing suit A quality razor or a supply of disposable razors Rain jacket, a light jacket and/or sweatshirt (it can get cold at night or in higher elevations) Sunglasses
Other Items to Consider Bandana Books (tried-and-true TEFL resources, and your favorite literature) Camera Coloring supplies /markers Daypack/small backpack for overnight or shorter trips Deck of cards/card games Deodorant (good quality can be hard to find)
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Dictionary: English-Bahasa Indonesia Duct tape Frisbee Gifts for your two host families (during training and at site): e.g., U.S.-themed pens, pencils, stickers, key chains, calendars (no need to go overboard with large quantities) Headphones iPod/MP3 and speakers Laptop/netbook (with extra battery, external hard drive for media if desired) Notebook to be used for learning Bahasa Indonesia during training Photos of friends and family Pictures and postcards of the U.S. Planner/calendar Rechargeable batteries (with charger) for any device you bring Sewing kit Sheets, flat (one or two) Small mirror Soap box Teaching materials: Assume beginner or low-intermediate level learners (magazines, pop music, puzzle books, ―Mad Libs,‖ ―Eye-Spy,‖ stickers) Towels, fast-drying (one or two) Umbrella (small) U.S. and world maps (in English) Utility knife Wristwatch Zip-close bags in assorted sizes
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PRE-DEPARTURE CHECKLIST The following list consists of suggestions for you to consider as you prepare to live outside the United States for two years. Not all items will be relevant to everyone, and the list does not include everything you should make arrangements for. Family
Notify family that they can call the Peace Corps Counseling and Outreach Unit at any time if there is a critical illness or death of a family member (24-hour telephone number: 855.855.1961, then select option 2. Give the Peace Corps’ On the Home Front handbook to family and friends. Passport/Travel
Forward to the Peace Corps travel office all paperwork for the Peace Corps passport and visas. Verify that your luggage meets the size and weight limits for international travel. Obtain a personal passport if you plan to travel after your service ends. (Your Peace Corps passport will expire three months after you finish your service, so if you plan to travel longer, you will need a regular passport.) Medical/Health
Complete any needed dental and medical work. If you wear glasses, bring two pairs. Arrange to bring a three-month supply of all medications (including birth control pills) you are currently taking.
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Make arrangements to maintain life insurance coverage. Arrange to maintain supplemental health coverage while you are away. (Even though the Peace Corps is responsible for your health care during Peace Corps service overseas, it is advisable for people who have pre-existing conditions to arrange for the continuation of their supplemental health coverage. If there is a lapse in coverage, it is often difficult and expensive to be reinstated.) Arrange to continue Medicare coverage if applicable. Personal Papers
Bring a copy of your certificate of marriage or divorce. Voting
Register to vote in the state of your home of record. (Many state universities consider voting and payment of state taxes as evidence of residence in that state.) Obtain a voter registration card and take it with you overseas. Arrange to have an absentee ballot forwarded to you overseas. Personal Effects
Purchase personal property insurance to extend from the time you leave your home for service overseas until the time you complete your service and return to the United States. Financial Management
Keep a bank account in your name in the U.S. Obtain student loan deferment forms from the lender or loan service.
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Execute a Power of Attorney for the management of your property and business. Arrange for deductions from your readjustment allowance to pay alimony, child support, and other debts through the Office of Volunteer Financial Operations at 800.424.8580, ext. 1770. Place all important papers—mortgages, deeds, stocks, and bonds—in a safe deposit box or with an attorney or other caretaker.
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CONTACTING PEACE CORPS HEADQUARTERS This list of numbers will help connect you with the appropriate office at Peace Corps headquarters to answer various questions. You can use the toll-free number and extension or dial directly using the local numbers provided. Be sure to leave the toll-free number and extensions with your family so they can contact you in the event of an emergency. Peace Corps headquarters toll-free number: 855.855.1961, press 1 or the extension number (see below) Peace Corps mailing address:
Peace Corps Headquarters 1111 20th Street NW Washington, DC 20526
Responding to an Invitation: Office of Placement Country Information: Ryan Schreiber Desk Officer Indonesia [email protected]
Plane Tickets, Passports, Visas, or other travel matters: CWT SATO Travel ext. 1170 202.692.1170 Legal Clearance: Office of Placement
Medical Clearance and Forms Processing (includes dental): Screening Nurse ext. 1500 202.692.1500
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Medical Reimbursements (handled by a subcontractor): 800.818.8772 Loan Deferments, Taxes, Financial Operations: ext. 1770
Readjustment Allowance Withdrawals, Power of Attorney, Staging (Pre-Departure Orientation), and Reporting Instructions: Office of Staging ext. 1865 202.692.1865 Note: You will receive comprehensive information (hotel and flight arrangements) three to five weeks prior to departure. This information is not available sooner. Family Emergencies (to get information to a Volunteer overseas) 24 hours: Counseling & Outreach Unit ext. 1470 202.692.1470
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