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A Day in the Life of an Indonesian During Ramadan

Ibu in Indonesia

2:00 am:

Nur slowly wakes up to the sound of the alarm. It is pitch black outside. The house is quiet as her family is still asleep. She rolls out of bed and groggily walks outside to the kitchen. She begins making rice, cooking chicken and cutting vegetables. Nur reminds herself that the fasting month is only 30 days. This is day 10. Only 20 more days of waking up this early to cook for her family.

3:00 am:

The loud speaker at the village mosque begins blaring. This is the village wake up call. She hears her 3 kids and husband begin to stir as they wake up. The chicken is almost done cooking.

3:30 am:

Nur serves her family breakfast (sahur) and gives an extra portion to everyone so they can have enough energy throughout the day as they fast. They eat slowly and listen to her youngest daughter, who is 10, chatter on and on about her plans for the day. No one else feels up to talking this early in the morning.

Mosque in Indonesia - prayers for Indonesia

4:00 am:

After they finish breakfast, they begin to change into their prayer clothes. Her husband and 2 sons put on their peci (black hats) and sarung (covering that looks like a long skirt) and walk to the mosque. Nur and her daughter put on their hijab (head coverings), roll out their prayer mats and begin the Subuh prayer. This is the first prayer of the day.

5:00 am:

Nur starts doing the dishes from breakfast as her husband and oldest son leave to work in the fields. They grow vegetables and spend most of the day harvesting potatoes and cabbage. They sell the produce to the village market. The other kids go back to bed to get some more sleep before school.

6:00 am:

Nur wakes up her kids and gets them ready to school. Then the three of them squeeze on the motorbike and she drives them along the dusty village road to school. She stops by the market on her way back home to pick up some more rice, meat and tofu for dinner.

12:00 pm:

The mosque blares again to remind them it is now time for the 2nd pray time (Dzuhur). The men pray at the mosque, while the women pray at home. Nur continues her chores; sweeping, washing and hanging clothes and watering the plants.

A Day in the life of an indonesian

3:00 pm:

Nur picks up her kids from school and everyone prays again for the 3rd prayer time (Asar). Afterward the kids play soccer in the street with their friends. Nur walks next door to her cousin Indah’s house. They chat outside with the other women in the neighborhood. This is her favorite part of the day. The afternoon activities (ngaburburit) distract them from their hunger and thirst. “Only a few more hours,” Nur reminds herself.

4:30 pm:

Nur and the other women go home to begin preparing dinner. She cooks duck, rice and tofu. The food looks so tempting but she resists eating it.

6:00 pm:

Nur’s husband and son return from work and take a shower. She had already showered herself and bathed her two youngest kids. When everyone is ready, they break fast together by eating a sweet snack and drinking water. After that, they they go and pray for the 4th time (Maghrib).

6:30 pm:

Finally they get to eat the big meal together and talk about their day. They have been looking forward to this moment all day. They grab the rice and meat with their hands and eat the pieces together. The fried tofu is Nur’s favorite part of the dish.

7:00 pm:

Again the mosque loud speakers go off and they pray for the 5th time (Isya).

A Day in the Life of an Indonesian During Ramadan

8:00 pm:

Nur’s kids play as she finishes up cleaning. Then the whole family goes to the mosque for Tarawih. It’s an extra prayer time only during Ramadan. Most of the village goes and they pray together. Nur and her daughter pray with the rest of the women, separate from the men.

9:00 pm:

After they get home, Nur spends time with her friends again in front of the house as the kids play in the street. Her oldest is inside watching TV and her husband is at a warung drinking and smoking with friends. He usually gets back right before bed.

11:00 pm:

Everyone is finally quiet in the house and getting ready to sleep. Nur is thankful for another day of Ramadan. She hopes God accepts her fasting, praying and good works and saves her on Judgement Day. She worries about that day every night before bed. Nur finally drifts off to sleep only to awake again in a few hours.