it’s not about mangoes…

Indoland has since heated up with the arrival of musim kemarau, dry season, and mangoes are plentiful.

Ramadan and Idul Fitri celebrations came to an end and the re-start into the first school semester has official begun! Repeat into round 2…on Shuffle. I’m jazzed and already feel a slight change and it’s started with the semester. I’m sure it won’t disappoint with a random school cancellation in the near future, but I intend to roll right along with my exaggerated eye rolls at any inconsistency and take time to care for the little things.

And as always I’ve come to re-realize that being present is hard. Like really hard. Seated for 10-minutes of meditation to later wake up an hour later from a comatose dream and dried droll on the side my face… and when I do wake up it seems I wake into this “second life.” Here–where I have the time to mediate, hand wash clothes, read in a hammock, volunteer at other schools other than my own…what a dream. And sometimes it can feel that way, but it’s not as fulfilling as it sounds. I have a routine here along with extra time to give and pick mangoes.

Excerpt from my journal: April 9, 2011- I will take time away from the growth of my life so I can aid the growing lives of others. Sure I’ll make a life here: one that starts and ends here. I want my energies and mind to be driven, it’s only 2 years. I’ve always thought of this experience as a service and way to give back to all that I’ve been fortunate and capable of in my life. Learn about a different culture, educate and be educated and primarily, be put to work! Constantly I heard stories that volunteers seem to take away more than they give. Certainly I see that possibility approaching but I yearn to really make differences, possibly visible ones. Those chances are still possible, although more importantly, after a year it’s times to concentrate on the improvements made and ask, which will continue to ripen and which will fall and be left to rot?

Will I have made a change? Visible or not. Will my time be sufficient after 2 years? What will become of this place that I hope to one day return to?

A question I recently stumbled upon on the website ‘Yogin’ it’ presents the following:

“The question we can all ask ourselves is: Is the world a better place by our presence in it?”


What a juicy bite and a question I’ve been searching for all along. How do my very actions affect the world? Then by taking that enormous question down a few enormous notches we can ask ourselves this…

“What are we personally doing to leave a place a little better than when we arrived?”

And then there it was…that question…it struck me, just as quickly as sambal strikes my digestive system, because that is exactly my tujuan, my purpose here. My expectations for myself and this place are limitless, but when I think deep down, where a pool of honesty leisurely sunbathes, it’s apparent that my service will be a minor step towards this places’ vision that I hold for it. Now that I’ve lived and learned and taught here for an entire year, I can confidently point out this places’ potential that it just sits and stares at every single day doing nothing to reach it. This conclusion I cross every single day is as palpable as the fried tempe I eat up in my dreams. My opportunities to help and work within my community never quite feel like enough from all that I witness however plentiful. And although I can’t say that I’m making the world a “better place,” I’m certain that I’m doing everything to leave THIS place a little better than when I arrived–even if it’s only on its way to planting a few more mango trees.

So I leave you with this…because not only should I be the one questioning myself into insanity :)….

“…what are you currently doing and what are you creating to make a positive footprint in the world?”

link to Yogin it:

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