Sean On Leave

Changing the World…One Vacation At A Time.

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Sean In Indonesia

Originally posted on March 31st.

So what’s all this about a trip to Indonesia?  After my wonderful trip to Nepal in 2007 with the Leave for Change program at the University of Guelph, I was invited by my Uncle Kiam to volunteer at a non-profit training centre he founded in Malang, Indonesia.  As you can see it took  a couple of years to put the trip together, but it’s finally happening!  Unlike my trip to Nepal, this journey is a Do-It-Myself project.  It is very interesting to take on all the work that the U of G, Uniterra and Fair Trade Group Nepal did for me and has helped me develop an even greater appreciation of their contribution to my last trip.

Another huge difference with this trip is that I will be in Indonesia for three weeks before I begin my work.  I will be spending that time travelling with my father, Dr. Ignatius Yo, visiting the country he was born and raised in for the very first time.  I will also be meeting my Indonesian family for the first time – or at least the majority of them who haven’t visited us in North America.  My father immigrated to Canada in 1972 and has only been back to Indonesia 4 or 5 times since then.  This trip is very exciting for both of us, and I’m particularly excited to have the chance to have a long period to acclimatize to the local culture and context before I start my work, a luxury I did not have in Nepal.

I remember hearing the President of our University, Alastair Summerlee, talk about how Leave For Change was a program that he wasn’t intending for repeat participation…but he did hope that people found a way to continue international volunteer work on their own.  That message was inspired me and is in no small way a part of why this trip happened.  In fact this entire trip is a direct result of the amazing opportunity of the Leave For Change program and the amazing people at U of G, Uniterra and Fair Trade Group Nepal, all of whom have my thanks.

However, I must save the greatest gratitude for my amazing family…especially my wonderful wife Jennifer.  She delivered our beautiful daughter Lillian on January 11th of this year, our second daughter.  Her patience and consideration amazes me – she is so generous in support of my trip which leaves her with our two girls for five weeks.  Without her this trip would not be a possibility.  The running joke is that every time we have a baby – I leave the country…since when I went to Nepal, our first girl was just over a year old <grin>.  Thank you J – I love you.

This blog will be a record of my trip and my work in Indonesia.  You can expect lots of pictures (especially of what I eat :) and updates along the way.  I hope you enjoy the ride.