Rachmad and The Missing TEFL Organizer.
*The people in this story are loosely (loosey goosey) based off of real people I know (i.e. I took their names); however the events, character traits, views expressed, and hairstyles are not real. This is a work of FICTION. The views expressed in this piece do not reflect the views of The Peace Corps, or The United States Government. Actually, I don’t think there are any views.
Rachmad enjoyed his nasi pecel on a smoggy, dinggin (for Indonesians), Monday in the bustling town of Malang. Kind of in a daze, or maybe it was a case of the Mondays, Rachmad dreamed of Rossa, the Indonesian pop princess, and just leaving it all behind to pursue his own dreams of becoming an Indonesian pop sensation. Rachmad was actually an experienced tap dancer who won a scholarship in high school to go to New York City to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Sure, he had experience with modern and hip hop, but tap dancing was his true passion. If he ever quit his job with the Peace Corps, he would for sure bring tap to the forefront; something akin to Justin’s revival of the sexy back.
Abruptly, Gwen Stefani’s “Rich Girl” ringtone blared over the noise from the street, the music from the warung, the music from the warung next door, the music from the party angkot, and the call to prayer. This was probably the loudest ringtone in existence (if you’d like to purchase this ringtone TELKOMSEL has a special offer press *363# now).
Rachmad looked down at his hp and saw that it was Sultan calling. He pressed “ignore” and looked at his handsomely oversized watch to inspect the time.
“If I were a rich girl, “sounded again, and it was indeed Sultan calling poor Rachmad on his lunch break. Rachmad answered the phone, placing Sultan on speaker:
Rachmad: Hello, uh, yes, this is Rachmad
Sultan: Rachmad, uh, yes, this is Sultan. We have like a kind of a problem I think?
Rachmad: Yes, the problem is what?
Sultan: It seems as if there is a possibility that there is a like kind of a missing TEFL organizer. Puji and I were playing like a friendly game of darts last night and I won. Then I tell her to bring me the organizers so we read the materials and then like a guess whose organizer is whose. It’s a great game. I also play this game in Jordan but it’s a game that comes from America. I believe the game is like called “Guess Who”. I love flipping the little pictures over when I have guessed. Anyways, Puji counted and we are missing a TEFL organizer.
Sultan’s voice slowly dropped five octaves as it faded out. There was a ringing in Rachmad’s ears, not caused by all the noise pollution, but because he was about to faint.
When he came to, he had a flash back of his last year at his university. His girlfriend, Fitri, had just broken up with him to date a shadow puppeteer, a popular and esteemed profession in the Batu/Malang area. All he had left was a pile of rancid tahu, and his master’s thesis on TEFL organization. It would be this thesis that would earn him a degree in TEFL Organization and Methods and Materials as well as earning him a job as the TEFL person (?) in the Peace Corps.
How could he be mad at Fitri? If that selfish [insert your own expletive here] didn’t get up and get on, he wouldn’t have been able to spend ridiculous hours making flip charts to design what is now The TEFL Organizer.
He also bought a cat around Christmas time that year, despite the fact he does not celebrate the birth of baby Jesus. He named his new buddy Relative Clause to keep in line with the season and his love for English grammar. He used the tips from the bar tending job he had serving a non-alcoholic drink he named after himself, “Rachmad body on the beach”. If you’d like to make it the traditional, spring break in Panama City way, all you need to do is add a whole lotta Malibu rum to jus nanas and sprite. This is called, “Really Rachmad body on the beach”.
Rachmad immediately gathered his things and naiked the hell out of his motorcycle. He didn’t really know where he was going, or how to get there. Not unusual for most of the other drivers who seemingly had no direction on their motorcycles, just that they like it fast. He was just gonna zig-zag his way somewhere, and somewhere fast.
After being in traffic for close to two hours, and only moving 5 km, he decided to go to someone nearby.
Yos, was a psychic and a language guru who lived in Yogja and was originally from Flores. He had a blind iguana and a zebra throw rug. Neither of which are important to this story. Yos also once speared a whale with his bare hands in a dream he had earlier that year. Rachmad knew Yos would have the answer he was looking for.
Rachmad entered through the mouth of a sperm whale skeleton to reach the living room. Yos was siting, reading Readers Digest and drinking White Kopi. It is important to mention, that Yos developed an Australian accent from the many Australians he taught in Bali one year.
“Yooooossss”, Rachmad said with his voice quavering. Before he could get anything else out, Yos bellowed in an Australian accent,
“I know you are searching for an organizer, and I think you need to mind the preposition and its object?. Please leave?”
With rising intonation at the end of his most certainly declarative sentences (from the Australian influence no less), Rachmad stood there confused as to whether he should respond.
After a stare down and some awkward hand and facial gestures, Rachmad decided to leave. He went home and slept in a pile of PCV flash drives.
The outlook was bleak. It’s not like he could just ask the PCV whose organizer was missing if the PCV had actually turned it in. He actually didn’t know whose TEFL organizers he had because Puji and Sultan peeled off the names so they could play “Guess Who”. Valya had already left for the Ukraine, obviously.
Back to the library he went to copy some more files on flash drives. He had an epiphany as he clicked ‘okay’. The lone TEFL organizer was indeed okay. “Mind the preposition and its object” he heard Yos’ voice in his head. I am in the library, clicking okay on the screen in the library”,he shouted! In his mind he was highlighting the prepositional phrases and then underlining their objects. Alhamdulillah linguistics.
He immediately remembered that he was scanning the best TEFL organizer and had left it in the scanner on accident.
Who knew the missing TEFL organizer could be in the library where Rachmad spends all his time? Why, it’s almost as obvious as all of the information that is given to us at link.
Now, form two groups and discuss the ways in which Rachmad could have better handled the situation. In what ways has Rachmad supported someone with a background different than his own? Discuss the X-Factor in Indonesia. Finally, describe whether or not you pour the milk first and then add the cereal, or pour the cereal first and then add the milk.
You will need to prepare a flip chart with your responses and elect a group leader to discuss your answers. I realize most of you are reading this at site and cannot get into groups, just find an Indonesian to read this to, regardless of their English proficiency. No experience to low experience is preferred.