By: Kaitlyn Joines

Greetings from Indonesia, 

I am here to report that autism is autism – even across the world. Each child here reminds of a child I work with back home. The behaviors are the same – the only difference is the lack of support and resources. After hearing the personal stories of how many children are seeking services but unable to find them, I feel very drawn to this cause. I know that the work being done at Rumah Tiara is meaningful. 

My time here so far has been nothing short of AMAZING. The women at Rumah Tiara are literally incredible and have so much knowledge of ABA. They inspire me to be a better therapist and give all that I can to my client. I find that sometimes I am there with my client physically but not always engaging mentally or not always mentally present. My goal when I return is to have more energy working with my kids at home but to also actively try to stay engaged and present. 

Aside from working at the center – we have been able to sight see and eat a ton of GREAT food. I did not anticipate how much I would love this food. I have ventured out of my comfort zone and tried chickens’ feet, fish (with the head attached – wow, I know), and basically anything they offer me. I have yet to find something that I’ve found disgusting. Overall, I would rate the food 10 out of 10 – without a doubt. 

The culture here is also very interesting to me and I do believe they have a special way of making you feel welcome. Every day when we go to the center Rani and Papa Rani drive 30 minutes out of their way to pick us up and drive us to the center when they could have just as easily called us a taxi. When we arrive, they always have brunch food waiting for us as well as Mama Rani bringing us a hand cooked meal for lunch every day.

The leaders at the center, Rani and Hotek, answer all of (what I think are silly) questions about the culture, the center, their religion, and more. They never make me feel dumb or like I shouldn’t be asking. I have learned so much about this place from them and I am so grateful for their openness of my curiousness.

It’s very heartwarming to see how much they care about us and making us feel at home. While getting to know the staff at Rumah Tiara, I am also still getting to know my Skillcorps members as well. I feel like all eight of us work really well together and brainstorm unique ways to improve the center.

I can’t help but think about how lucky I am to be here in this country, growing and learning from these people. I am looking forward to the rest of this trip and I have a feeling it will be hard to leave these wonderful people.