Poverty in Kupang

It’s a common sight in Kupang—a thirteen or fourteen-year-old boy collecting fare money from uniformed school children as they pile out of his crowded bemo. The boy, like many others his age or even younger, works as a konjak, riding around on the bemo (minivans that serve as Kupang’s public transit system) that buzz around…

An incident at Kupang Harbor

One night I was enjoying a beer while watching the sunset by the harbor near my house. I had met some of my students there, so I sat with them while they ate bakso (a hot meatball soup) and drank Pepsi. An elderly woman sat down next to us and began listening to our conversation.…

Thoughts on Indonesia from an Inevitable Optimist

Since my arrival in Indonesia, I have been pressed with this elusive question: Why did I choose to apply for a Fulbright in this country, out of the dozens of other countries that I could have selected? There was something appealing about this diverse nation, something that has attracted many a traveler before me, but…