Monday, August 29, 2016
Very, Very, Very, Very Different Culture (Indonesia)
In 2012, I visited the country of Indonesia. We stayed at Universita Pelitas Harapan, a Christian university in Tangerang district.
I went with Athletes in Action and when we landed in Manila, Philippines, I could tell this place (Asia) was like no place I had ever been.
Before I left, I would see, smell, taste and experience things that you do not see in the West.
The bathrooms were not western, you had to squat over them and my first experience with this was in the Singapore airport bathroom. I didn't have to use it, but I saw one there like that.
When we landed in Indonesia, the language was so hard to distinguish words than I had done in Eastern Europe and Iceland (Icelandic may have been just as hard to understand though).
The food was, well, I am a picky eater and I ate a lot of rice and chicken while there if that explains anything.
But I saw children playing by large dumps of trash with rats close by on their property living in the median of an Interstate.
I saw huge, multi million buildings housing schools for rich people and children right next to some of the worst slums I have experienced.
The contrast in the two worlds there was different, distinct and not separated.
Here, we have poor people, we have slums, we have some of the worst conditions in the world, but we tend to hide them, if possible, so that we don't have to see them.
They didn't worry about that there.
I also felt a little more reserved in walking down the streets.
First, I looked different. At 6'0 and white, I stood out in a group of people.
Second, when it came to our faith, we were not allowed to even mention it unless asked about it first. Because Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world and with Christians being the minority, they are not allowed to proselytize.
Again, the people were warm and caring and a consistent feeling I have gotten outside of this country is much more warm.
I very much appreciate my experience there and the friendships I formed, but seeing some of the things I did there, changed the way I see my every day life here in the USA.