Saturday, December 15, 2012

To my students...

By now I'm sure that most of you have heard about the events which occurred yesterday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut.  I'm sure that like most of us, your minds are racing with all kinds of questions on a variety of social, political, religious, and possibly even economic topics which are related to the events of yesterday.  Having such questions, having emotional reactions, are natural and you should not be discouraged from having them.

My purpose in writing to you today is to let each and everyone of you know that I love you.  I value each of you as a special gift that God gave to this world and that has been entrusted into my educational care for a brief period of your life.  I may not always be happy with your performance in class, your less than stellar behavior, or the fact that you sometimes don't realize your own potential for life.  However, I will always love you.  Even if I get aggravated at times, I will always love you and I pray daily for you to obtain the best that life has to offer.

While you are under my care and watchful eye, this love for you compels me to unquestionablly seek your protection from harm.  I will do my best to make sure that while you are in school, especially within my classroom, that you are safe.  And if need be, I would even put myself in harm's way to help save you ... each of you.

So even while you think of yesterday's events, while you see the images, while you express your emotions, know that you will be as safe as I can possibly make you while you are in my care.

Also ... do your homework this weekend <wink>.  After all, APHuG has the multiple choice portion of their Unit Three Test (Cultural Geography) and APUSH has the essay portion of their Unit Six Test (Civil War and Reconstruction).

See you Monday!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Moving Forward

I've been silent on this platform for a while, too long of a while.  I'm not totally sure why, but that was not my plan nor do I plan to keep it such.  I intend to keep blogging away!!

I'm not 100% sure the direction which this blog should now go.  The initial reason for setting up this specific blog was to chronicle my journey to Indonesia as part of the Teacher for Global Classrooms program.  As of the August 1 at 1:15 AM the Indonesia trip was over and as of the Global Education Symposium II in early October the TGC program has also come to an official end.

Despite the coming and passing of my TGC and Indonesia experiences, the "spirit" of this blog should live on.  I never intended this platform to just be about those experiences and then let this blog come to an end (like many of my TGC colleagues have allowed theirs to do).  I want this blog to continued to be about exploring life through a variety of perspectives whether through physical travel or just the simple observations about life that come to my mind.

There may be changes coming.  I know some changes will probably be to remove the listings of TGC country blogs.  While those writings had their place, most authors stopped their reflections with the conclusion of their trips.  I'll keep links active for those blogs which have continued.

I hope that those who have roamed these remote roads will continue to do so.  I'm sure I'll have much more to share!

Respectfully Giving Thanks

Those of you on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, or other social networking platform have either been participating in or have friends posting updates during the "Thirty Days of Thanksgiving" by writing or posting a picture each day of November representing something for which they are thankful.  One posting from a friend today really got me thinking.  Here is the post:
Day 25 - I am thankful for refrigerators, microwave ovens and leftovers.  Seriously, without fridges we couldn't store food.  Without microwaves we couldn't quickly reheat food.  I haven't cooked since [T]hanksgiving thanks to leftovers.
This friend doesn't know how wise he/she is.  Here in the U.S., or elsewhere in the developed world (even the move developed neighborhoods/homes in the developing and underdeveloped world), we often fail to realize or forget 1) how drastically our collectively lives have changed due to technological innovations and 2) that much of the world doesn't have access to such innovations.

How likely would our family Thanksgiving celebrations be to produce such an over abundance of food if we had no where to efficiently store/preserve that which was eaten during the meal?  Would we only prepare just enough to make sure all were able to eat but making sure not to have too much knowing that the remnants would spoil?  Even if we had the storage/preservation abilities, would we make so much knowing that the preserved leftovers would have to be reheated in a similar method as originally cooked?

I'm reminded of a precious woman who worked hard to prepare a meal for me while I was in Kenya in 2002.  One of the students at Kima International School of theology invited myself and another students to venture the 10 or so miles to his mother's home (used the local public transport of a "matatu" get there).  I didn't get to witness the cooking process, but I know that much of the meal was prepared in a boiling pot (or collection of pots) over a wood fire.  No stove, no microwave, no electric oven, no...well, none of those technological innovations for which my friend (noted above) is thankful.  We ate and ate and ate and I know there was food left over and this made me feel bad.  This family shouldn't have prepared so much just for me, but I also know that I was considered an honored guest in their home and they wanted to make sure I was cared for.  I know that my student had several siblings and that after our departure I'm sure the remnants of the meal were saved from them; I'm hopeful that there was no waste from the abundance in that there was no cold storage place to preserve the items for a later time.

Like my friend, I am highly thankful for those things that I have and use as part of my daily life.  And yet, I am filled with an awesome sense of respect to those throughout the world who do not have access to the blessings of these innovations.  The struggles endured by countless many are worthy of our respect and our compassionate attention.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

To My Indonesian Friends...

In light of the recent events involving protests within Muslim majority countries, including my recent host of Indonesia, I wanted to present some of my thoughts.

If you reply, I ask that you do so in the comments section on this blog entry rather than through Facebook, twitter, or other platform on which you have found this entry linked. I'd like all comments to remain in one place.

In July 2012 I had the amazing opportunity to visit Jakarta and Bandung and to meet some wonderful friends, especially friends with the teachers, administrators, and students I meet at Krida Nusantara High School; I am still in contact with many of them through Facebook and twitter.  Ever since I learned that I would be heading to Indonesia as part of the Teachers for Global Classrooms program I relished every opportunity to learn about the history, culture, political structure, economics, and society of this diverse land.  And the experiences I had in person will always hold a special place in my heart.

And yet, despite all of these wonderful things, over the past couple of days my heart has been sad due to some of the news that I've heard.  Due to protest rallies which have already turned violent the U.S. consulate in Bandung and the U.S. embassy in Jakarta have each closed (only temporarily I hope).  Additionally, U.S. owned businesses, such as McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and KFC, have also been targets of the protests.

I do understand that there is much offense taken over a video which was made in the United States and has been placed on the Internet.  I understand that this video mocks your faith, its teachings, and especially your prophet.  When something mocks my faith I too find great offense.  I am in no way suggesting that you should not be outraged at this video.  I also understand the vast overwhelming majority of Muslims in Indonesia and other parts of the world are not participating in the current violent expressions of outrage.

My concern is 1) the form of the expression of the outrage and 2) the targets of the outrage.  While, yes, it was an American who produced the video in question, this video is not something that was created by or endorsed by our government.  Further, the American based businesses that are targets of protest were also not involved with the video project.  In fact, the news here in the United States even suggests that the actors who portrayed characters in the video were not aware that the video even had a connection to Islam when they were filming; a lawsuit filed today claims is that the actors thought they were acting in a desert themed video and that it was after the filming was complete when the producer edited their words to present the message that is found to be so offensive.  I have attempted to watch the online trailer to this video (because I want to be educated about this issue) and the editing was so poor that I had to stop watching.

I know that from many of the protests around the world, one of the demands have been that the U.S. government require Google and YouTube and other online video hosts to remove the video.  Please understand that in our country our history has such a strong link to the concept of a near 100% respect for the freedom of speech and freedom of the press (Internet would fall under both), that our government has such strong legal restrictions in trying to censor information and images...even those which some people or LOTS of people might find to be offensive.  This history goes back even into the historic legacy of the development of civil liberties within British history.  I remember having conversations within Miss Betty's political science class about imagery which might offend people (Mr. Daniel, my fellow U.S. teacher at Krida, showed Internet pictures of each President Obama and President Bush being depicted as Hitler...each image would offend many Americans) and that while such images might be censored in Indonesia the government cannot legally censor such images  in the United States.

I do have some questions I would like to ask of my Indonesian friends, even though you are not involved with the violent protests.
  1. Why are businesses and government buildings which are in no way connected to the production of the video targets of the outrage?
  2. Why do some people feel that it should be acceptable to use violence as part of a protest?
  3. What are some other methods to express frustration and discontent with this situation or other situations which offend you which might be more constructive or appropriate to communicate the legitimate claims of offense?
My ultimate goal in this blog entry is to increase our mutual exercises in learning to understand people throughout the world who come from backgrounds dissimilar to our own.  To help read more about my quest to promote understanding on this topic I invite you to read my message these same events titled "To My American Friends..."

To My American Friends...

In light of the recent events involving protests within Muslim majority countries, including my recent host of Indonesia, I wanted to present some of my thoughts.

If you reply, I ask that you do so in the comments section on this blog entry rather than through Facebook, twitter, or other platform on which you have found this entry linked.  I'd like all comments to remain in one place.

Allow this phrase of St. Francis' famed prayer to be a guide: "Grant that I might not so much seek to be ... understood as to understand."

We as Americans, especially those who claim to be Christians, should be slow to rush into judgement of the events that have been occurring.  We often make judgements based upon our own cultural, historic, political, and religious biases without first seeking to understand.
Many Americans are so quick to rush to judgment and ranting about the "uncivilized" members of the "alleged peaceful" Islamic faith rioting in the streets of their homelands, threatening American (and other Western nations') embassies, consulates, and businesses.  Yet these Americans are so quick to forget such expressions of discontent, often conducted by Christians, within our country's history: Bacon's Rebellion, Paxton Boys Riot, Shays' Rebellion, Whiskey Rebellion, a Civil War, Homestead Riot, etc. "But those were in our past" some might scoff...and the riots at the 1968 Democratic convention, the 1992 riots in the wake of the "Rodney King" trial in Los Angeles, allegations of violent outbreaks at each Tea Party and "Occupy" rallies of the last couple of years.  Have we Christians forgotten the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:3?

Please don't misunderstand me.  I'm not providing a justification for the current streak of violence or saying that it is acceptable.  I am just asking for some perspective and for an attempt at understanding.

Additionally, while we as Christians in the United States may express our indignation in other ways, we too are apt to become highly offended when we experience an affront to our faith.  Waves of online protest and church sermons flooded out in response to Dan Brown's best selling novel, The Da Vinci Code, especially after it was turned in a movie starring Tom Hanks.  My own Senior Pastor felt the need to have a special sermon series on "blasphemous" topics raised within the book.  There is also wide spread outrage regarding issues pertaining to homosexuality and the church, especially regarding marriage and ordination of clergy; and this isn't even an issue upon which the entirety of Christianity can agree in that some denominations are ordaining homosexual clergy members and performing "gay" marriages.

Finally, don't lump all Muslims into the category of "terrorist" because of the actions of a few (in comparison to the total Islamic population, those performing such radical acts of violence are, indeed, a few).  Just as there are so many variations within the larger Christian umbrella, there are also wide-spread variations within Islam.  I had wonderful experiences and made some special friends with the Muslim teachers, administrators, and students who I meet in Indonesia this past July.  I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.

Having presented my thoughts, I invite you to respond in a respectful manner (even if you disagree).  Also, please visit my similar post titled "To My Indonesian Friends...".

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Leadership Summit

On Thursday and Friday, August 9th and 10th, I had the opportunity to attend The Global Leadership Summit.  This live simulcast event was based at Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago and broadcast worldwide; I attended the hosted event at Crossings Community Church in Oklahoma City (my home church).  This summit brings together some of the topic leaders in business, politics, social activism, etc., so as to equip leaders to be better.

As a leader in multiple venues, I have felt the need to attend this annual summit for several years and this year I finally went.  I found multiple concepts to help make me a better classroom teacher, colleague with my faculty, department chair with my teaching team, advisor to my student council student officers, advisor to my local and district administration, etc.  Here are some of my key take-aways from each of the speakers.

Bill Hybels: Founder and Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church
  • leaders must clarify the organization's vision and values, inspire and motivate others, and go the extra mile
  • leaders must humble themselves and learn from others; everyone wins when a leader gets better
  • using "Parable of the Sower" from Luke 8 in The Bible: there may only be a 25% success rate for your efforts (seed sown) and this means you just need to "plant more seed" in order to "grow a forest"
  • most important asset of a leader isn't "time", but rather energy and ability to energize others
  • a leader's role is not to "preside" or "pontificate" but to build a case that "here" is not good enough and that "there" is better and then to help motivate a team to move from the here to the there
Condoleezza Rice: Former U.S. Secretary of State
  • "freedom" doesn't equal "democracy"; a mature democracy requires more than just institutionalization of "rights" or defining of "freedoms"--must include a respect for minorities so that the strong don't exploit the weak
  • every life is worthy: in a democracy there are no permanent stations in life, we are not confined to the life into which we were born, we have an obligation to provide a situation where everyone has an opportunity for greatness
  • although many things a government can give it can't give compassion--this must come from people who believe that every life is worthy
  • best way to show compassion is to provide an individual with the opportunity to transform his/her future...with an education; education isn't about where you come from but where you're going
  • a great leader is an irrepressible optimist; keep perspective on what your circumstances truly are
  • today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same
Jim Collins: Nationally acclaimed Thinker and Author (Good to Great)
  • Why do some leaders prevail and others fail in the midst of similar difficult circumstances? used example of 2 competing expeditions to South Pole in 1911
  • the "X Factor" of great leadership is humility combined with will
  • we need "fanatic discipline" (manage well in the good times so as to help in the bad times), "empirical creativity" (test and validate new ideas before jumping head first into their use), and "productive paranoia" (the only mistakes you can learn from are the ones you can survive)
  • greatness is not a matter of circumstance but a matter of choice and discipline (what do you do with the those events which you couldn't predict, didn't cause, and yet had a significant consequence??)
  • an organization is not truly great unless it can be great without you: true test of your leadership is that the organization successfully survives without you
Marc Kielburger: Co-Founder of "Free the Children" and Co-CEO of "Me to We"
  • in middle-school co-founded (with brother Craig) international social activism organization; inspired by story of Pakistani boy forced into slavery in a rug factory...escaped and spoke out about former owners...tracked down and murdered by former owners; organization builds schools, drills water wells and provides micro-loans
  • #1 reason why sub-Saharan African girls don't attend schools is because they have to help carry water jugs for family and village
  • using your gift/talent to draw attention to a significant issue which tugs your heart can help build a better world ( gift + issue = better world)
  • today = 1 billion people aged 12 to 16 with 9 out of 10 of them living in the developing world
  • only our action can solidify our understanding: "We can do no great things, but we can do small things with great love"--Mother Teresa
Sheryl WuDunn: Pulitzer Prize winning Author, co-author of Half the Sky
  • primary moral challenge of 21st Century is gender inequality (19th Century = slavery; 20th Century = totalitarianism)
  • when resources are scare females tend to go without (girls under 5 years have 50% greater mortality rates than boys)
  • education and jobs for girls will help improve the overall world economic situation (case study of Pakistan v. Bangladesh)
  • perspective: estimated that 70,000 to 80,000 Africans were brought to Western Hemisphere as part of slave trade in 1770s-80s and yet THIS YEAR about 800,000 women and children will be transported across a national border as part of the international sex trade
  • contributing to something larger than yourself helps bring happiness and happy people tend to live longer
Craig Groeschel: Founder and Senior Pastor of
  • Message to older generation: 1) don't resent, fear, or judge the next generation--believe in them because they need you, 2) God values maturity--if you're not dead you're not done leading, 3) don't delegate tasks to create followers but delegate authority so you can create leaders, 4) embrace the season of life you are in--authenticity trumps "cool" with the younger generation
  • Message to new generation: 1) don't ignore those with experience because you need them, 2) "entitled" is the most common "e" word among younger people--you've received too many trophies for just participating rather than excelling, 3) tend to over estimate what you can do in the short run and yet grossly under estimate what you can do in a lifetime, 4) showing public honor to older leaders produces private influence with them--dishonor tears down and devalues--respect is something that might be earned but honor should be automatically given, 5) if you ever want to be "over" then you first need to be "under" with integrity, 6) tend to prefer a calling to a job and prefer making a difference to making a pay check
  • For generations to work together if must be planned and intentional, if cannot be by accident
Patrick Lencioni: Founder and President of The Table Group
  • organization health is the key way to maximize your potential for success
  • must be smart (strategies, marketing, finances, technology) but this is only 1/2 of the success equation but typically gets 98% of the focus in an organization
  • must be healthy (minimal politics and confusion, high morale and productivity, low turnover)
  • Six imperative questions to ask yourself:
    • Why do we exist? core purpose (might have nothing to do with what they do/sell...i.e. Mary Kay Cosmetics is to economically empower women, not to sell make-up)
    • How do we behave? values statement, actual values and not the ones you aspire to, the values you are willing to get punished for not pursue, to violate the value is to sell your soul (i.e. Southwest Airlines has a company value to maintain a sense of humor, they'd rather lose a customer than to violate this principle)
    • What do we actually do?
    • How will we succeed? what are the strategies to get "there"?
    • What is the most important thing to do right now?
    • Who is responsible for doing what?
William Ury: Co-Founder and Senior Fellow of Harvard University's Program on Negotiation
  • negotiating is a constant process throughout a daily routines and is, thus, central to our decision making
  • conflict is not innately bad; it's how we constructively deal with conflict that is key
  • one of the greatest powers in negotiating is the power NOT to react
  • Focus on interests and not on positions; two examples:
    • If two people both want the last orange the best solution might NOT be to simply cut the orange in half. What if one wanted the orange for the peel/zest so as to bake a cake and the other wanted to eat the fruit inside? Cutting in half might result in the baker throwing away half the fruit and the eater throwing away half the peel.
    • In the 1970s Egypt and Israel each wanted the Sinai Peninsula.  Simply drawing a line down the middle was not acceptable to either side.  Egypt linked the SP to its long standing history and sovereignty; Israel linked the SP to security from a belligerent neighbor.  Solution from Camp David Accords, based on each country's interest and not their position of "we want it all" lead to returning the SP to Egypt for historical sovereignty issues but demilitarizing it for Israel's security concerns.
Pranitha Timothy: Director of Aftercare in the Chennai, India office of International Justice Mission
  • Office seeks to locate, rescue, and provide long-term aftercare for those impacted by forced "contract" bonded slavery
  • a benign brain tumor left her mute for 12 years, now has a voice
  • even the "feeble" can become "powerful" leaders
  • no matter what your sphere of influence, you are called to serve in some capacity
  • special note: my youngest sister, Becki, spent a year working in Chennai with IJM and worked with Pranitha; my mother and I were able to meet Pranitha when we visited Chennai in June 2009
Mario Vega: Senior Pastor at Mision Cristiana Elim in San Salvador, El Salvador
  • our actions during our defining moments can reveal our internal character
  • personality, talent, charisma, skills are not enough for effective leadership; integrity and character are far more important
John Ortberg: Senior Pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church and Author
  • presentation on "A Leader of Unimaginable Influence"; introduction to his new book titled Who is this Man? regarding the global legacy and impact of Jesus upon human life and culture

Geoffrey Canada: President and CEO of Harlem Children's Zone
  • uses the word "contamination" to describe Harlem before his work began: a zone of hopelessness and despair which was losing millions of kids
  • must "recontaminate" the neighborhood with positive messages and environments; change the culture
  • too often the goal of U.S. education has been the question "What is the shortest period of time and the smallest among of money for us to engage a student?"
  • we often need to provide resources beyond just "education" to help engage children, such as food and medical care...this is important far beyond the legitimate way it can help education, it's just the "decent thing to do"
  • we must commit to trying again when we fail; learn from the failure and fix what needs to be fixed so as to try again
  • in education we sometimes forget who we are working for; it's not for the staff it's for the kids!--don't fear to demand a certain level of excellence from your staff and then hold them accountable; making staffing changes when needed
  • we as the U.S. know how to accomplish what we truly set our minds to do (we just put a robot on Mars)--we just haven't truly committed our collective minds to the goal of educational reform in this country; we don't have time to wait--the time for change is NOW
If you actually took the time to read through all of this then I applaud you!!! The summit was two long days, but totally worth my time.  As you can see, I did get LOADS out of it and I hope you have as well from my notes.

What thoughts, comments, or questions do you have? FEEL FREE to leave them here for others to contemplate as well.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Diversity of Mosques

One of the aspects of my visit to Indonesia which most impressed me was the variety of mosques which could be seen in all directions within the cities I visited.  Most of the schools I visited also had an on campus mosque.  While I was not able to personally visit more than a couple of locations, their diversity and (in most cases) their beauty captured my attention. I hope the video below helps to offer some of the visual beauty of Indonesia's mosques.

Additionally, I've also mentioned my reaction to hearing multiple calls to prayer being heard simultaneously (see "Good-Bye J-Kart & Hello Bandung" and "Debrief Session"). In Christianity, the closest tradition for summoning worshippers is the ringing of church bells; a craft which is not at all common anymore.  However, I do find the human voice to be a much greater and more complex instrument than the majestic bells.  The music I used to accompany the video is "Call to Prayers" from the musical The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace by Karl Jenkins (previously referenced in the posting titled "The Armed Man").

Regardless of your personal religious persuasions, I do hope that you can enjoy the wonders of the Mosques of Indonesia.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

No Place Like Home

I finally arrived home in Oklahoma City at 2:45 AM yesterday morning.  It was a long time of traveling from Jakarta to Hong Kong to Los Angeles to Oklahoma City; nearly 36 hours of travel including layovers.

I had turned the air conditioner off during my time away, which has initially seemed like a mistake when I arrived back to Oklahoma and temperatures of 112+.  My A/C is still struggling to catch up.  It was showing 91 in my house most of yesterday but was down to 82 when I woke this morning.  So, due to the heat I'm still processing the validity of "home sweet home".

One definitely positive about being home is my new iPad. My district had funds to place some iPad-Apple TV-LCD projector combination. I am a one of 30 recipients at Southmoore and was able to pic up my pad this morning; in fact this posting is being typed on that very iPad. So perhaps homecoming is sweet after all.

So I guess this is a new adventure in remote road roaming for me: a new step in my quest for using technology effectively with my students.  I hope you continue to help me roaming the roads of lands remote.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Final Moments in J-Kart

It is nearly time to end this experience in Indonesia.  We depart from our hotel before 5:00 AM so as to get across Jakarta to the airport.  Here are some final images from my time in this city.

Inside the top of the closet is this sign to indicate the direction of Mecca.
The hotel is in a Muslim majority country and has a lot of Muslim guests.

Signage for Ramadan over the entrace to hotel's restaurant

Restaurant for our final meal together

I ordered the Nasi Kapau from the Padang Sumatera region of Indonesia

I'm was not able to finish eating all of it, but it was wonderful!

Debrief Session

All of the morning and much of the afternoon for our final day in Indonesia, the eleven TGC teachers were guided by a representative from IREX (organization which facilitates the TGC program for the US Dept. of State) in a session to debrief on our time here.  While I felt as much of the session could have (and probably should have) been facilitated at a later date and once we were back home in the United States, there was one portion of the session that I found rather meaningful.

We created a "T-chart" for some of our experiences while in Indonesia.  In the narrow left-hand column we listed a one or two word emotion or thought as a theme and then in the right-hand column we placed several bullet points with detail of an event during our time "in country" which relates to that theme.  While Blogger makes it difficult to replicate the T-chart here, I'll do my best to present a few of my take-aways:

  • mysterious harmony of a least seven different simultaneous calls to prayer from a variety of local mosques
  • store racks filled with Batik clothing filled with vibrant colors
  • "Lady Gaga" horse at the volcano near Bandung
  • students "animal club" at Krida with owls, hawks, and snakes
  • being constantly saluted by students at Krida
  • long drives EVERYWHERE even when distance was close
  • being told "it's closed because of Ramadan"

It's always good to provide appropriate reflection on the experiences that we have.  Roaming the roads of lands remote does not come without its challenges, but the encounters are often filled with amazing opportunities.  Reflection on such allows us to let our experiences become a deeper and more meaningful part of our lives and to help us grow and mature into our future.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Return to J-Kart

We rose early and left Krida and Bandung around 7:30 AM.  We then made the 150 km trip in just over two hours which included a pit stop for "the facilities" and a morning pick-me-up at Dunkin Donuts.  Each Betty, Daniel, and I selected to tasty eats and a coffee drink.  Betty had pre-cleared it with our driver for us to eat in the car as we continued on to Jakarta; our driver was, like most Indonesian Muslims, fasting as part of Ramadan but was ok with us eating in the car.

We arrived at the Park Hotel shortly before 10:00.  The original schedule which TGC had given us called for all of our pairs to be at the hotel by 1:00 and then we would continue with events as a collective group.  Somehow a message had been circulated amongst the host teachers to arrive earlier and then have more city site-seeing time.  However this message was not clearly received by one pair and they ended up not being with us for most of the afternoon.

We went to the old colonial capitol building in Jakarta which has now been turned into a museum.  This area of J-Kart is called "the old city" and there have been some attempts to spruce it up as a tourist attraction.  Some sprucing might have occurred a decade ago but I'm not sure how many tourists were actually informed.

Following our time in the museum we were hungry and found a place to grab a small lunch.  The "chicken sate" that I ordered...and even photographed before eating...wasn't exactly what I thought I was getting.  It was cold and far from tender and upon closer examination the collective conclusion was that it was intestine (possibly from a bird) but NOT anything close to what any of us had come to know as chicken sate.  Let's just say the "mystery meat" was a bit too far outside of my comfort zone.
David, Jodi, Daniel, Susanna, Heather, Jeanne, and Cora

My described above...was NOT enjoyed or finished

Monkey in the restaurant.  I gave him a lime to eat; he seemed to like it.
After lunch, the old town square in front of the old capitol (now museum) was bustling with activity.  People from a select "counter-culture" within Jakarta had gathered for a concert by the music group Slank.  We people watched for a while.

Yep, that's me in this gang of young ruffians

Oh, Susanna is now a Slank fan
Our group finally returned to the hotel at which point we were finally reunited with the final pair in our collective delegation.  After getting settled in to the hotel, most of us departed for some shopping at a gem market and a Batik store before finally catching a late dinner.  Tomorrow will be a time for our cohort to debrief as a team on our experiences at our host schools.  I think their could be some interesting stores (some have already been shared).

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Out and About in Bandung

Here are some images of being out about in Bandung, Indonesia over the past week.
Ramadan food specials for the non-fasting hours (dark)

motorcycles EVERYWHERE

scarves and head hijabs for the ladies
Batik prints for the men

for the faithful and fashion conscious girls

helmet fashion

a taste of home

the shops on "Jeans Street"

Dim Sum

Ramadan movie and snack package at the theater

Ramadan gift baskets

if you see this traffic sign BE VERY AFRAID

variety of bananas

dragan fruit