Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day To Day

Okay my little sister has complained that no one knows anything about what I'm doing because I don't write anything here. In my defense I have limited access to the internet and when I do have access I usually only have a few precious minutes to send e-mails.

Today Mary took on the responsibility of doing the food shopping so that I could have a little more time online to tell you a little more about this place and what I'm doing.

I am in Nurobo, West Timor. It is a small village in the hills. It is very small and not much goes on there. Mary and I teach English several times a week to the girls at the local vocational school, to the sisters at the convent, and to the aspirants (those wishing to become priests or join the convent). Teaching English is a difficult task because I have no clue what I'm doing. As I have said many times speaking English does not necessarily make someone qualified to teach it but, oh well, I'll improve as teacher.

Mary and I are also supervising the local guy band group. We have to just be present while the music teacher gives electric guitar, bass, and drum lessons to some of the guys. We actually start with the band today. We will be doing more with the community as time goes on. Right now we are just trying to adjust.

Life here is not greatly difficult. It's not as convenient as living in the U.S. but it's not unbearable. Presently we have no running water at the volunteer house because our well is dry. We have to carry buckets of water from the sisters' convent to our house so that we can bathe and do our laundry and wash our dishes. We get dirty water from this other well which is not safe to drink so we just use that for toilet flushing.

The electricity here is pretty consistent. Except that it goes out practically everyday for a little while which I don't mind so much since we don't use the light during the day since we have many windows in our house. It is only when the lights go out when we are making dinner that I get upset. Mary and I end up burning food because we can't see. We also leave food on the counter because we can't see it which attracts ants and bugs in the following morning.

Speaking of bugs there are many here. Ants come in all the time as do cockroaches and scorpions and giant fist sized spiders. The cockroaches, spiders, and scorpions usually die as soon as they enter the house because we have sprayed bug poison everywhere.

Mary and I awaken on a daily basis to cocks crowing and pigs snorting and two horrible little children that cry as if they are dying every single morning! The children are not starving or ill by the way, I've checked. Apparently, they're just "spoiled" kids.

Every morning after being unpleasantly awakened in one form or another Mary and I attend daily mass which starts at 5:30 am which is not really as horrible as I originally thought it was going to be. The entire village wakes up by 6 am which sucks, so sleeping in for us usually means waking up at 6:30 am at the latest. Trying to sleep later is kind of impossible. We usually go to sleep by 9:30 pm since we get up so early and are exhausted by 7 pm anyway.

Oh about bathing. Mary and I pour clean water into big buckets and use a water scoop to pour over ourselves to bathe. The water is cold of course and it always leaves me gasping with the shock of the first scoop of water. We call this kind of bathing a mandi.

About learning the local language of Bahasa Indonesia, just don't ask. It is a relatively easy language to learn as there are no conjugations but as it is nothing like Spanish or Italian I find it difficult to remember the necessary words. I have hopes that within a year I'll be able to speak it with little difficulty, though.

Okay I think that's it for today. Let me know if any of you have any questions. If I remember next time I'll tell you about how cheap everything here is...well mostly cheap.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Hi everyone! I'm in my mission village of Nurobo, Indonesia now.

I was in Jakarta for about 3 days. Jakarta is a very humid and crowded city where the driving is even more insane than that of Rome. It is also very Americanized.

Anyway, I start teaching English on Monday at the all girls school. There's a few more things I'll be doing too but those things aren't yet clear to me. The Sisters at the convent are nice. They mostly speak Bahasa there but the Mother Superior wishes them to start learning English so Mary and I will be teaching the Sisters at the convent as well.

Not much to tell yet as I've only been in Nurobo for about 3 days. The journey to this place took about a week with almost a full days travel from Rome to Jakarta, 3 days in Jakarta, then a flight to Kupang on the island of Timor with a one day stay there and a drive of 6 hours to Nurobo.

I will unfortunately probably be unable to post pics for a long time because I don't have internet access at the village. I must travel 40 min to an internet point in the near by town of Atambua and that I can do only once a week. I would attempt to upload pics here except that I'm told these computers are full of viruses and I do not wish to infect my laptop with any viruses by way of a flashdrive or something. Anyway that's it for this week. I'll write more as life gets underway here.