by Melody, Work-Study Volunteer, IHF Thailand
It is officially hot here in Chiang Rai. The kind of hot that makes everyone lethargic and causes us to go through our water supply much quicker. Fortunately the nights have been really pleasant; unfortunately the mosquitoes have not been. I think I counted 15 bites on my legs alone!
The center is buzzing with excitement from the upcoming school break for the children. Some of the children are already done with their exams and will be visiting their villages soon, but many of them will stay at the center. Having the children around all day, every day, creates a lot more work for volunteers, especially in the cleaning department (I still have no idea what they do that makes the bathroom so dirty), but it is also a lot more fun. With this weather, trips to the nearby swimming pool definitely need to be planned!
The big news here is the success of our fundraising event! We planned a trivia night at a local restaurant just three weeks before it took place and worked very hard to market the event. Nobody likes like to approach people on the street but we were determined to do our best, so we handed out flyers and put them up in popular areas. The results were good, especially since we weren’t sure what to expect. About 20 people showed up to take part in our trivia and they all had a great time. The food at Barry’s World Class Hamburger was good and the trivia questions were tough. The volunteers had a blast running the event and George did a great job as MC. All in all, we took in 1830 baht and we hope to do even better next time!
by Rob, Co-Director, IHF Medan
As part of our recent drive to reach out to local universities and schools, I went this week to IAIN in order to meet some students and spread the word about IHF Medan. Amongst other things, we got chatting about literature and creative writing, an artistic outlet that seems to garner quite a bit of interest in older student communities here in Medan. After a bit of encouragement, several of the students were even willing to show me some examples of their work. Riding on their enthusiasm, we have decided to hold a bi-weekly workshop to discuss their own writing as well as literature in general.
This is an example of the kind of outreach work that IHF is capable of doing – as well as our usual evening classes here at the centre, for no extra cost, co-directors and volunteers are able to communicate with and study alongside members of the local community who lie further afield than the classrooms of the centre. After a few meetings at their campus, we are hoping to get some of these university students to come and talk to our own, younger kids about their literary work, in an attempt to foster some artistic interest and creativity amongst the younger years.
Watch this space.
By Josie, Voluntourist, IHF Bali
As time goes by, we have come Bali center about two weeks. Last week we painted the center. It was a very interesting project. From that project, some of us (me included) we learned a lot, since some of us had never painted before we came here. Lucky that Gregor, our Co-Director, was pretty professional and helped us all finish a project without any problem! Now the Bali center feels even more like a sweet home.
And this week we also had a big project, which was to teach the children how to make bracelets in the various styles that we ourselves had learned as children…. it was time to think back quite a few years!!!!
Actually, to make bracelets is not a difficult thing, but we need to translate the ways in english and teach them step by step. Finally these bracelets, which made by the children will sale to people. And the proceeds will help to teach them the value of money, and remind us volunteers about the relation of what we have in our countries and homes.
These children are so smart ! They are so beautiful - both inside and out! And how clever! After they finished the bracelets, they smiled and gave it to me without hesitation. When I see such smiling faces, I just felt that all the hard work was worth it. This class not only teach them how to earn money by themselves, but also teach them a skill.
But one thing in Bali that I learned was that, in fact, I didn’t teach them a lot compared to what they taught me!
Thank you all of you. I will never forget the time I stayed here and was able to be part of this Bali family!
By Kathleen W., Voluntourist, IHF Kenya
For a very long time I knew I wanted my life to involve caring for, and working alongside, the poor of this world. I also always believed it would be a life of countless sacrifices and few joys. The last three weeks at IHF have been a pleasant surprise and have shown me that you can have an incredibly joyful life while caring for the poor of this world.
It is not an either/or choice that involves either sacrificing all of your comforts while serving the poor OR having all of your comforts and not serving the poor. You can have both! I can still do the things I love to do…. go on adventurous hikes, go camping, read at coffee shops, watch episodes of my favorite tv show etc. It is also surprisingly easy to make friends with both local people and expats from around the world.
Yes, we take showers with a bucket and eat a very simple diet, but the joys far outweigh the sacrifices.
I have only been here for 3 weeks and the kids have so kindly welcomed me into their lives and their IHF family. Despite their unique and painful pasts, the kids are generous, kind and hard working. I genuinely love spending time with them and working on their behalf. They make me laugh and it brings me so much joy to see them happy.
I have been able to get my fill of engaging conversations with the teenagers, while enjoying plenty of hugs, games, and silliness with the younger kids.
This is also a very talented bunch of people. Since I have arrived I have watched David win his football match, Nelson and Peter win their school athletics races, and heard about Elvis winning a dance competition! I am already dreading the day I will leave in a couple of weeks and hope to one day return.
by Mindaugas, Co-Director, IHF Jakarta
It was quite busy week for us. Firstly, we were fully cleaning our center. You can’t imagine how much dust were cleaned ! We moved around some things; the center looks way bigger now. Also, our roof is also being repaired—fortunately not by us, but by professionals ! :)
We also started football classes again. It takes place on every Sunday at 11am. It was raining on Saturday night, thus only several kids came, however next week we expect 2-3 times more ! All of us say thanks to Louis who is willing to spend his spare time for IHF kids. Moreover, Football classes are not only about football, Louis also aim to teach English as well ! HE always initiates warm up for all parts of the body so kids learn such words like legs, knee, shoulder, hand and etc.
We had lots of work this week but it was definitely rewarding, and we ended the week with a big smile on our faces. Moreover, all of us went to eat Satay. It was really delicious… :)
Things are definitely moving at the Jakarta center!
By Jessica, Co-Director, IHF Aceh
This week was quite a relaxing week as many of the previous projects that we had spent weeks planning have finally been implemented.
We started a new art class, which has so far been quite a success with the students that signed up. These classes were started as a project between the Banda Aceh IHF Center and some local artists.
Each month one specific person will teach a designated topic to the students. This month, Mita (the teacher for March), has been focusing on imagination, creativity, and how to nurture it into a work of art. They started the lesson by drawing whatever they could think of with their eyes closed. Then they moved to drawing anything they could think of with specific shapes (squares, circles, rectangles, etc). They have also started on free creative writing. We hope that the skills that our students learn in these classes can expand into their everyday lives as well.
Aside from that we were very sad to see Julia, our French Volunteer go. She was to say for six months, but had to leave early. She was an indispensable addition to the center, and we will surely miss her. She helped the center tremendously with the classes, and always took the initiative to think of things to do that could improve the center- a garden and French classes, for example. Thanks for all your help, Julia!
by Alexandra, Voluntourist, IHF Aceh
This week was quite exciting as we were organising two fundraising projects at the IHF Centre of Banda Aceh.
We were working on a video for “The Good Story Competition”, with which IHF wants to participate in a competition amongst other Asian NGOs. The film will show interviews between our volunteers and students about our work and ambitions and moments of our lives at the IHF Centre and in Banda Aceh.
In my spare time, I have enjoyed visiting the the many coffeeshops in Banda Aceh. Here you can get in touch with the local people, have a nice chat, try their delicious coffee and some traditional food like Tempe – a soy cracker with a spicy sauce – or Martabak – a very buttery cake with different toppings like banana and cheese or chocolate and peanuts – delicious!
Besides that, I took my first surf lessons at the Lhoknga Beach 10km outside of the city. My teacher is a local surf addict who was very patient but would not understand my difficulties with the board. It was a lot of fun, though very tiring after a couple of hours.
I really enjoy my time at the Centre with my colleagues from all over the world and the students who are very sweet, curious, and diligent.
Besides that, I have become fond of the city of Banda Aceh, from its young and fresh atmosphere to its very open-minded and friendly people.