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Religious Youth Service

RYS Participants Brightens Up Schools in Indonesia

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Indonesia—Each day began with a 30-minute introduction to a particular faith followed by time for questions and answers. After breakfast, participants moved to the work site to make full use of the cooler morning temperatures. The project involved leveling a local schoolyard, laying a bed of sand and cement, and positioning new paving bricks. Also six “restoration teams” (of eight people each) gave the classrooms a much-needed face-lift. Others created colorful murals and information boards to brighten up the school and surrounding area.

It was moving to see the school children “rolling up their sleeves” to assist. They were happy to take ownership of the jobs at hand and participate in the renovation of their school.

Each day after lunch, volunteers divided into teams to participate in various activities, which were not only fun and entertaining but also educational and instructive in nature. There was time most afternoons to visit various places of worship within the local vicinity. Indonesia, although predominantly an Islamic country, promotes a policy of “unity through diversity” and has many different cultures and ethnic groups among its population. This was evident from the different places of interest visited within a two kilometer radius of the work site: a Buddhist temple, a Catholic church, a Confucian temple, a Hindu temple and mosque - all within walking distance of the RYS base-camp.

After dinner, there were lectures, skits and discussions on topics such as team building, conflict resolution, drug abuse, AIDS prevention, family values and life coaching. Each evening, there was a cultural program mined from the rich vein of talent among the participants. The day closed with everyone holding hands in a “circle of prayer.”

To mark the conclusion of the project, there was a special celebratory concert at the Confucian school. A stage was erected for the colorful two-hour program of song, dance and reflections. Many members of the community attended, including some of the local dignitaries.

Participants: 40
Religions Represented: 7
Nations Represented: 15

Duration: July 5-11, 2005

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