The Home Stay Experience: Learning Through Living, Growing Through Sharing

The last two nights of the TRE Course were spent in the local village. While the class was sad to leave the rainforest and all the beauty it offered we were excited to spend time with some community members. The class was broken up into groups of two to four and each went to five different families for home-stay. The logistics and timing of the home-stay was a bit complicated seeing as the community was in the middle of celebrating Hari Raya. Regardless this did not stop the families from welcoming us into their home and providing delicious meals. The families still took the time too open their hearts to us. Overall the experience was a beautiful exchange between us and the families. It is overwhelming and humbling to have someone not only share their home, but welcome you into their lives.

The Host-Dad in my home took the time to welcome myself, Phil and Allen. He greeted us with a big smile and welcomed us into his home with a hug. He repeatedly told us that his home is our home and to consider them family. It’s inspiring to have someone be so kind to you, especially in a world that at times can be so cruel and judgmental.  We often place an irrational fear and uneasiness to people and cultures that are unfamiliar to us. Even us Americans, who typically grow up in a diverse communities, can still feel uneasy when faced with a lifestyle, language, and customs that aren’t like our own. In our home-stay we joked with out host mom, played with the kids, treated them to ice cream, and had insightful conversations with both host parents. They shared their Muslim traditions and values and asked us about ours. Everyone was so open-minded and listened to each other. It was very special to be sharing such intimate aspects of each other and everyone genuinely cared to learn more.

Here is a recap of activities during those days:

Friday afternoon; Said good bye to the rainforest and headed back to Kopel. There we had a briefing on host-family logistics. Martin reveled who was staying at which family.

Friday Evening: Each group left to meet their host family. After each group had time to meet their hose family and get situated everyone headed to the Kopel community center for a cultural night. The cultural night consisted of dance performances, music and a feast. All of it was from from the culture of the community and was performed by the locals.

Saturday: Because we had to prepare for presentation on the work we did during our two weeks, Saturday we were only able to spend breakfast and lunch with our host families. However, in the evening we had the privilege to join them for the celebrations of Hari Raya.

The TRE students and professor would like to send a special thank you to all the families who allowed us into their homes. Overall it was a humbling and truly rewarding experience!

Jantung (love). Keluarga (family). Rumeh (home).

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