Recently, I’ve been discovering just how transitive life can be for many people in Indonesia. Let me explain…we have heard of at least five deaths in our neighborhood or affecting our immediate neighbors in the past two weeks. In most of the villages, if someone dies the whole village shuts down to mourn.The day someone dies an announcement is made over the loud speaker from the mosque in the kampung (neighborhood). Immediately the men in the community begin building a wooden box for burial and then they set up plastic chairs and a large tarp so people can come over and be with the family. Most of the neighbors will not work but go to the house of the family in mourning and pay respects/give money or food to the family. This week we have been to two different homes of families in mourning. We sit on the dusty concrete floors surrounded by the grieving and other neighbors to offer our condolences as well as our time, which means so much in this culture. It seems that death, or at least the prospect of death, is before our friends on most days.
Two days ago Jess had an assignment from school to ask our neighbors about insurance in Indonesia. She went to her close friend, our next-door-neighbor. After an interesting discussion about health insurance in Indonesia our friend began to cry. She shared that she is the youngest of five children and that all four of her older siblings have already died, leaving her nieces and nephews motherless or fatherless. Through tears of a truly broken heart our friend shared her disappointment with health care in our area and how it cost her dearly. She said she wished that her sister, who died young of cancer could have had the opportunity to travel to another country to receive medical care. She said she still wonders why things couldn’t have gone better for her siblings in terms of health care. She said that many nights she still misses them and cries for them. The longer you live here the more you see it, death is so much more a part of everyday life and hope is hard to come by. Continue reading Things To Remember