Day 4!

Time flies by and it has been 6 days since the arrival of the US participants. We have done so many things and a lot has happened. The excitement is felt until this very day.
Today we were split up into two teams: The Lehigh team, which consisted of Jack, Fulvia, Anne Marie, Annisia, and myself; The Michigan team, which consisted of Kate, Carrie, Ellen, Fikar and Binar. Earlier this morning each teams went to different Mosques: Masjid Syuhada and Masjid Perak Kotagede. My team went to Masjid Syuhada. It is said that Masjid Syuhada was a gift from the first president of Indonesia, Ir. Soekarno. He was also the person who designed the building. This Mosque is not only historical but it is also center for Islamic Education: from kindergarten right up until higher education. We were greeted warmly by one of the committee of the board. He is now an English teacher in the High School, and is also working as the secretary of the board. Our visit there was delightful, and everyone was so nice. After being greeted, the Muslim men left for Friday prayer and the rest of us went on a short tour of the elementary school. We met a very nice English teacher. She took us around and explained what this and that was, and we actually got the chance to talk to some students (who are mostly in kindergarten). It was a great school and they were lucky to have such loving teachers. The children were also nice, well, they were adorable. We saw a couple of girls wave to us from behind a fence. It seemed like they want to know more about the bules (foreigners). It’s a shame that we didn’t have that enough time. We went back to the main building (or Mosque, should I say) and waited for the Friday prayer to finish. A couple of minutes later, the prayer finished and we had a small and short discussion over light snacks. It wasn’t long until it was time for us to go.
Personally, I think the next destination is more interesting. It may be due to the fact that I go to a Mosque every day, and I have never been in such a place which was our next destination. Guess what it is? It’s a church! So my first visited church is Gereja Ganjuran in Bantul. This church is very unique, it was quite overwhelming, remembering the fact that this is my first time in church and everything is different from the “usual”. Gereja Ganjuran is a church formed or built based on the Catholic and Javanese teaching. One interesting thing is that the statue of Jesus is in the form of Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono, and most of the figures there were inculturated with Javanese imagery. Another interesting thing is the presence of a temple located somewhere at the back of the church. People pray inside the temple, in which a Jesus statue sits (also in the form of the Sultan). The place was really shady with lots of trees around. One weird thing is that Christmas tree also grows there, whereas it is so far from mountains, where the pines really live.
I learned so many things today, both in the journey to the Mosque and the Church. One thing I remember most and will hopefully always remember is that we have to see who people are, how they live, and what they believe before making any judgements. Thus no misunderstandings happened.
I cannot wait for a another day of fun. See you tomorrow guys, ciao!

-Zafira

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