Midterm Report from Jakarta

July 19, 2023

“Salam dari Jakarta!” that’s how we say “Greetings from Jakarta” in Indonesian. I’m at the mid-point of my Fulbright stay now after three months of hard work and no play in this big metropolitan city. Jakarta is called “A city of cities” because its metropolitan area includes neighboring cities with a combined population of about 30 million people.

View from my apartment (Photo by Elizabeth Lokon)

This means that the first topic of conversation is often about traffic. For example, to go in the morning between two Atma Jaya campuses, I need to allow 1.5 hours to cover the less than 20-mile distance. The medical school is a bit closer; I only need to allow one hour to cover the 8-mile distance. Luckily, I can walk to Atma Jaya’s main campus from my apartment. But if I could not get a Grab car (like Uber), I have to walk with all OMA art supplies, behind cars.

Transporting OMA art supplies
from campus to my apartment
(Photo by Citra Benazir)

OMA Programming at Rukun Cipete

We just completed a five-week OMA programming at an adult day center for people living with dementia at Rukun Cipete. We served 11 older adults living with dementia paired with Atma Jaya psychology interns and medical students who recently graduated with their MD degrees. The atmosphere in the room is joyous, just like OMA programs back home. Even their comments are similar to what I have heard in Ohio, such as, “Duh, ini jelek…” “Tapi lama-kelamaan kalo diliat makin bagus ya?” [“Oh, this is ugly…” “But over time, if you look at it, it gets better, don’t you think?”]. Here is the group of students and volunteers at the back of the adult day center, Rukun Cipete, by an empty pool.

OMA volunteers and facilitators, behind Rukun Cipete (Photo by Justin Purnadhi)
Ms. Evie and Amoreta, working on “Dream Catcher” at Rukun Cipete (Photo by Justin Purnadhi)

The First OMA Facilitator Training in Indonesia at Santa Anna

The first 3-day fully in-person OMA Facilitator Training was held on May 26-28, 2023 at Panti Lansia Santa Anna. Fifteen people attended the training, representing the Alzheimer’s Indonesia (ALZI), Atma Jaya’s Faculty of Psychology, its Medical School, and doctors from Atma Jaya’s clinic. We added a step in the facilitator training in Indonesia: Following the three-day training, all trainees must complete two practice sessions of doing OMA with someone living with dementia on their own and attend a debriefing session before they are certified as an OMA trained facilitator. Residents of Santa Anna helped with the training by participating as OMA artists.

Trainees showing off their partners’ paintings (Photo by Justin Purnadhi)
Tika and Mira (on the left), Indonesian OMA trainers with all trainees and their artwork (Photo by Justin Purnadhi)
Sister Feli, the administrator of Santa Anna, with one of its residents (Photo by Dipa Mulya)

Guest Lecturing and Language School

I have also been giving guest lectures both inside Atma Jaya’s Psychology department and the medical school, as well as at Universitas Indonesia. In the psychology of older adult classes, I spoke about OMA volunteer training. At the medical school, I made the case for including the arts, and OMA specifically, in its curriculum. At Universitas Indonesia, I spoke about the potential of OMA and ScrippsAVID to reduce ageism and loneliness. Although Fulbright provided me with a 2-week intensive Indonesian language and culture training (63 hours of one-on-one tutorial with five teachers) in Yogyakarta, I still had to do all these lectures in English. Outside of class, I feel a whole lot better about using Bahasa Indonesia. I hope I can continue to recover my native tongue. It’s not easy to catch up after 45 years of linguistic dormancy!

At Wisma Bahasa language school with our teachers (Photo by Wisma Bahasa staff)
Learning how to make Batik Tulis as a cultural activity (Photo by Wisma Bahasa staff)
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Elizabeth Lokon

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