Some days, living on a tiny island in the Pacific, are actually really exciting and look quite different than life in the States. Some days, however, are mundane and are probably like the lives of many women living in America.
As an MAF wife in Indonesia, I feel the freedom to do as much or as little of volunteer work outside the home as I want. MAF wives are not required or expected to work. I, personally, am not a big homebody, so I enjoy getting involved in the community. But I have also had seasons where I spend more of my time at home, due to my family’s needs.
Here are some things that I do with my time in Indonesia (though not all in the same day, or even in the same month):
-Teach English to neighborhood kids, college students, and women who I’ve met in the daily course of my life. I am not a teacher, but I am a native English speaker, which is rare and valued in Indonesia. I get way more requests to teach English than I ever have time to accommodate. I teach in my home, once or twice a week to groups of students.
-Volunteer at a clinic for women and children that meets once a month in my neighborhood. I have no medical training, but I join some other Muslim women in my neighborhood to weigh and measure the kids, while Indonesian nurses give the kids vaccinations.
-Visit sick patients that Brad brings in on his airplane to the local hospital. I bring them rice, water, fruit, and other food to help make their stay in the “big city” of Tarakan more comfortable. These are people who come from tiny villages to get medical care in the town in which we live.
-Spend time with my Indonesian Muslim friends, either in my home, their home, or at the local mall, monkey forest, eateries, or beach.
-Make food from scratch. I wasn’t much of a cook before coming to Indonesia. But I’ve since learned, out of necessity, to make my own bread, yogurt, tortillas, pizza, pickles and other meals from scratch.
-Take care of my baby. This has been a new part of my daily life. Though it can be tiring, it is one of the things that brings me the most joy, and which is definitely worth my time. I really do enjoy being a mom.
-Make a peaceful home for my husband. Brad is such a hard worker, giving his all to the people interior, as he flies them around all day. His work is exhausting, though fulfilling. When he comes home, we enjoy spending our evenings together in a peaceful, loving home.
-Cook, clean, kill cockroaches, answer email, blog, write prayer letters, Skype with friends and family, grocery shop, buy fresh food at open-air markets, bargain for the things I buy, etc.
-Go to weddings, funerals, birthday parties, Muslim feasts, circumcision parties (to celebrate the circumcision of my Muslim friends’ children) and other events as a way to spend time with my Indonesian friends.
-Sweat! (It's about 90 degrees most days!)