Here's the plan--fly out of O'Hare Airport to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles I will be meeting the other teachers and we will take off for Indonesia via Hong Kong. Once in Indonesia, me and my TGC fellows will be spending a few days in the capital city of Jakarta getting acclimated to the culture, visiting historic sites and meeting with officials from the US Department of State.
After spending a few days in Jakarta, our group of teachers will fan out to our host destinationwhich are located in various places on the Indonesian archipelago. Jeff Nichols (a Global Perspectives teacher from the Latin School in Chicago) will visit the city of Pangkalpinang located on the island of Bangka. There we will team with our host, English teacher Akhmad Faisal (Second from left below).
The island of Bangka and its next door neighbbor Belitung (referred to as "BaBel" for short) is located off the coast of Sumatra north of Jakarta. In 2009, Belitung was the filming site for Indonesia's highest grossing feature film in history, Laskar Pelangi. This film dramatically increased tourism to BaBel. The Island is also known for its production of tin. According to
the The Guardian, "If you own a mobile [phone], it's probably held together by tin from the Indonesian from the Island of Bangka."
Bangka has a rich multi-ethnic, religiously plural history with Hindu, Buddhists, and Muslim rulers occuring throughout its history.