Our planet is rapidly advancing and we live in a highly interconnected world. Yet, the percentage of geographic illiteracy is disconcerting. When I showed my high school Indonesian students where Singapore and New Zealand are from Indonesia on a map, they were surprised by how close these countries are to them.

Geographic illiteracy stems beyond Indonesian students. A National Geographic poll showed that 63% of Americans aged 18-24 failed to locate Iraq on a map. Fifty-four percent were unaware that Sudan is a country in Africa.

Gaining geography knowledge and learning about the evolution of land is imperative, especially in our increasingly interdependent world. It also helps one make sensible decisions relating to physical, societal, political and cultural matters. The purpose of my World Map Project is to introduce an understanding of the global map and provide a more interactive education at my school.

I would like to thank my school MAN 3 Majalengka and the principal for their consistent support in every project I propose. I would also like to thank my staff administrative team and students who spend hours after school drawing and painting with me. Throughout the process, the students and I bonded in laughter and sometimes in silence with just the sound of the wind. Thought-provoking questions were asked (what do you think about ISIS, Ms. Lisa? Why do you want to volunteer instead of having an income, Ms. Lisa?) and discussions about gender roles and higher education were exchanged.


The map is located in the school hallway that leads from the classrooms to the canteens. I chose this area because there's a lot of foot traffic, and hence more daily exposure and conversation.

Day 1 of painting the World Map Project: fixed the holes in the wall and painted the ocean light blue with 1.5 gallons of paint. I printed out 3 maps each utilized for different purposes: map one is for outlining, map two is for color references, map 3 is with country names.

Week 1 of the World Map Project (Day 2 of working): outlined the countries with a pencil first using a projector. Since the width of the hallway is quite narrow, we projected the map from the projector into a mirror in order to enlarge the map to our desired size on the wall. After using pencils, we outlined again using a whiteboard marker.

Week 2 of the World Map Project (Day 3 of working): finally received finance to buy the paint. I used 5 major colors to paint the countries so that no two adjacent regions have the same color: red, yellow, orange, green and pink. One additional paint color was dark blue for Brazil because its borders make contact with all of the 5 major colors.

The paint we used was oil based to withstand various weather conditions. Sizes were 100 CC to 200 CC each, which were more than enough for our map. The paint brushes we used were not expensive or fancy, just what we could find at the local stores (RP 4,000-15,000). Remember to have tissues prepared for dripping paint.

Week 2 of the World Map Project (Day 4 of working): repainted 2-3 more times and fixed any mistakes. Additional paint were purchased to paint the Indonesian flag and the Peace Corps logo: white, black – 100 CC.

Week 3 of the World Map Project (Day 5 of working): Numbered the countries from 1-195 with a black permanent marker (you can also use thinner paint brushes or the opposite end tip of the brushes).

Week 4 of the World Map Project (Day 6 of working): printed the list of countries with the numbers. The World Map is complete! (well, with one to two more changes later.)

If you have any questions about my experience, please send me a message through my website under the "Connect" tab.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are my own and do not reflect the views or opinions of the United States Government or the Peace Corps.

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