From June 27th to July 11th, I went to Indonesia through the CBNU overseas volunteer program. In Indonesia, I experienced indescribable things. Not only was the volunteering job we did meaningful, but the times that I spent learning about the meaning of devotion were also wonderful. Now, let me share the priceless memories that I made through the overseas volunteering program.
● Kumaha Damang!
Kumaha Damang, which means ‘How are you’ in the Sundanese language of Java, was my volunteer team’s name. My team was formed of 29 teammates and five different smaller teams. Each smaller team took charge of teaching their parts such as arts and crafts or Korean. The main subject of our teaching was the third-year elementary school students in a village called Pangalengan in Bandung. As a member of the Korean team, I taught simple Korean words such as animal words, body words, and basic Korean expressions. In addition, my team was very lucky to do volunteering with Indonesian university students helped us by translating English into Indonesian and Sundanese, which the class used.
Many of the students we taught were unable to communicate with us right away, but as we spent more time together, we learned how to understand each other with body language. At recess, I was playing some kind of Indonesian traditional game with the students. Even though I didn’t know the rules at all, I could simply follow the students’ movement and singing. As the time passed, I could play just like the students.
At the end of our volunteer service, we threw a village festival. At the festival, the volunteers and also the local children we taught performed all kinds of mesmerizing shows. As for myself, I was the emcee of the festival. However, I could not reach out to the audience well since it was so crowded with the village people and the electricity was on and off too frequently. Nevertheless, with everyone’s help and attention we could finish the village festival amazingly. Right after the festival was over, the times that we had spent in Indonesia over two weeks flashed back in a second in my mind. I could be really close with my fellow teammates since we were going through the same challenges that we had to overcome. After all the journeys we went through, I now think volunteering isn’t just about doing the educational work that we were meant to do but also about challenging the hardships that we have with passion in everyday life.
● Indonesia, Land of Diverse Colors
Indonesia is a multicultural society. I experienced this while preparing to teach the class. We prepared some Indonesian words to communicate with the students. However, some of the students wouldn’t understand what we were saying. That was because some of the students were Sundanese and they didn’t understand Indonesian language. Indonesia is formed by around 300 ethnic groups. This is the reason why the title of this article is called “Indonesia, Land of Diverse Colors.” Even though the Indonesians have various ethnic groups, they all share the same value and have unity that can be directly seen. In Indonesia, one must have a religion when born. 80 percent of the Indonesians are Muslim and others are Christian, Catholic, and so on. They all have strong belief in their religion. However, when our team went to Indonesia, it was Ramadan, so we could experience more of Muslim life. There were two things that were impressive to me about Muslim culture. First is self-control. For instance, even though the students were only little children, they dealt with themselves with strict fasting. Second, the respect that they had for their teachers was, quite frankly, surprising. After the first class was over, the students began to form a line and started to take our hands and gently took them to their heads. It was very surprising at that time, but now, I can feel their tradition of respect for their teachers.
Did you feel the same emotions I felt in Indonesia while reading this article? Volunteering is an act of taking part in the responsibility of mankind. Furthermore, from an individual’s point of view, it’s linked with your own happiness, too. Why don’t you go on a volunteer trip to make your heart throb the next chance you get?