By Jill Hickey, a member of the SkillCorps Indonesia July 2016 team

My face hurts. 

I think each of us has said (or at least thought) this at some point during our trip so far. I know that I haven’t laughed so much and so hard in a very long time, and it has been something I needed. I think it has partially been a way for us to deal with the stress involved in traveling, the constant new and often unexpected experiences, and the challenges involved in getting to know a group of new people in a short period of time. Mostly, I think it has been a bonding experience. When we were exhausted from 24 (or more) hours of travel, we laughed. When we got stuck in a monsoon-like downpour with no umbrellas or rain jackets, we laughed. When we experienced personal stress or frustrations, someone made a joke, and we laughed.  

When our team met each other for the first time last week in Brooklyn, we came from different parts of the country, with different personalities, and different life experiences. Then we came and met the educators at the Hi5 Center, who live on the other side of the world and speak another language.  In spite of all the potential communication challenges, I think that laughter has been a kind of universal language that has helped us all to connect.


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