Just Another Day In Indonesia…

The Ramadan Diaries

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I borrowed the entry for this blog post from an ID5 volunteer, Elle (thanks Elle!). It’s one of those “day in the life” posts with all my thoughts and ramblings during fasting. Hopefully it gives you a glimpse of what it’s like here during Ramadan!


1:55 AM. What is that noise? I wake up to loud music. I had heard rumors that during Ramadan there’s groups of boys who roam around beating loudly on drums to wake up the neighborhood for breakfast…although they usually come around 1 or 2, well before the 3 AM (or later) Sahur (morning meal). Is that what the noise was? Still mostly asleep I realize, no, there’s too many instruments, it must be coming from a stereo somewhere. I put in my earplugs, roll over, fall back asleep.


2:55 AM. My fan suddenly shuts off and I hear that obnoxious loud music again. My earplugs have fallen out. The electricity died, which is why my fan stopped. I hear my bapak knocking on doors, “Sahur!” as he works his way down the hall to my room.


3:05 AM. I stumble into the kitchen to find that my ibu has already prepared a bowl for me full of (left over) fried rice and an egg. She hands me a mug of tea. The rest of the family is there, except for Farid who is thirteen and notoriously difficult to wake up for Sahur (it usually takes the entire family’s efforts to get him out of bed). We eat by candlelight, which is actually a really nice way to enjoy a 3 AM breakfast.


3:30 AM. Too full to sleep, too tired to do anything…I start typing up the Ramadan diaries. I realize it’s awfully quiet, usually there’s loud calls from the mosque right about now saying, “SAHUR, SAHUR.” The electricity must be out everywhere. This is the quietest night of all of Ramadan so far. I’ve learned to tell the time in my half-asleep state between the hours of 3 and 6 AM, just by listening to all the noise. Around 3:30 or so is the call for Sahur. Around 4:15 is the call to prayer. This continues for what feels like eternity, but is probably about a half hour, as all the mosques in the area start the call at slightly different times. Then around 5:15 or 5:30 I hear Farid running around getting ready for school. I don’t get up until 6.


3:50 AM. Back to sleep. It’s Sunday, I get to sleep in a little (meaning I will wake up at 7).


3:55 AM. The electricity turns on again. The mosque promptly begins blasting “SAHUR.” Oh well, the calm was nice while it lasted. I sleep again.


6:30 AM. I wake up to Rafa, my 2 year old host nephew, repeatedly beating on a drum outside my door. I don’t get much sleep when he’s around but he’s cute, so I guess that makes up for it.


8:28 AM. I am thirsty.


9:30 AM. My family and I go on a shopping trip to Tulungagung. They mention popcorn and peanut butter, so I imagine we are going to a food store.


10:14 AM. I was wrong. We are shopping for new clothes for Idul Fitri, which was such a crazy experience, it deserves its own blog post.


1:15 PM. Finally we are food shopping. I’m so hungry and so thirsty. This might be my hardest day of fasting, but that’s probably because it’s the only day when I’ve gone food shopping at the height of my hunger. Cruel.


2:00 PM. We come home. I drink some water, which I allow myself on days when I’m sweating a lot – like today, thanks to the crazy crowds at the department store – and collapse into bed.


3:00 PM. Awake again. This has been a long day. Only two and a half more hours until we buka puasa (break fast).


5:12 PM. Ok, half an hour to go. Today has been a busy day and I’ve had really low energy. I can’t wait to eat and drink! Most days I am not hungry by this time…my hunger goes away around 3 PM. Today, though, I am still hungry and very thirsty.


5:25 PM. Bu Wiji flips on the television to check the time of Maghrib. Only 8 minutes to go, and we are watching a cooking show, of course.


5:52 PM. Saya kenyang (I’m full)!  A delicious dinner of rujak (which we’ve had probably 10 times in the last two weeks), sayur, and tempe chips has filled me up.


6:57 PM. The mosques are blaring. Time for evening prayer.


7:42 PM. I’m getting sleepy. Still trying to drink water. I can never drink enough at night to feel hydrated the next day.


8:15 PM. I go to bed.


8:20 PM. Bapak comes back from the mosque and there’s a guest. I don’t know who but my room is directly outside the guest room so only 5 feet and a thin wall separates me from the guests. Whoever this is has a booming voice and is smoking, I can smell it in my room. Gross. I hope he goes away soon.


9:15 PM. No sign of him leaving yet, and my earplugs, using my fan for white noise, and covering my head with my pillow can’t drown out his voice. Don’t people sleep here? This is the closest I’ve come to complaining about my house which has really been a fantastic set-up, but man, having guests over when I’m trying to sleep…my patience is wearing thin. There are also cats copulating outside my window. Less than six hours til Sahur.


9:38 PM. I leave my room for a trip to the mandi and a chance to show The Loudest Guest in the World that I am sleeping right next to the guest room. When he sees me, he apologizes and says I probably want to rest. I say, “Tidak apa apa” (No problem) because this is my standard answer to everything. Though he apologizes, he remains as loud as ever. I resort to listening to my ipod to drown out the noise.


10:07 PM. The Loudest Guest in the World finally leaves. Sleep.


3:30 AM. “SAHUR.” Up again, and I find out that our guest was the kepala desa (head of the village). Good thing I didn’t say anything rude! I guess when you’re the head of the village you can be loud whenever you want. Anyway, it’s far too early to be eating but here I am. Ready to start all over again.


Author: Sarah

I'm Sarah and I like many things starting with the letter "S," including (but not limited to) Seattle, springtime, summer, sunshine, swimming, sunrises, surprises, and sociology. For anything else you want to know, you will have to read my blog!

One thought on “The Ramadan Diaries

  1. Pingback: Ramadan 2012 (East Java, Indonesia) [Updated through August 8, Day 19] [Now with TRIVIA!] « PC Indonesia Raya (Jay)

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