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By Jessica, IHF Banda Aceh Co-Director
On Tuesday, November 5 we observed the first day of the Islamic New Year here in Indonesia. We only had a few students show up at the center, as it is considered a Public National Holiday. Each school in Banda Aceh participated in a public parade across the town.
The students wore beautiful and colorful clothing, had marching bands, and held a banner to showcase the name of their schools. The students were all in all proudly walking around the city to celebrate this special day with their classmates, while celebrating their prospective schools.
Parents and friends could be seen across town awaiting for their children, relatives, friends and acquaintances to pass by so they could wave and say hi. The city was bustling with music, laughter, and all in all everyone was in a great mood. This coming month is Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar, and is considered one of the four sacred months mentioned in the Qur’aan.
For the rest of the week, the students shared with us about their experiences with the day and what they expect to do during Muharram. It’s quite a enlightening cultural experience to talk with the children and have them share with us about their culture, beliefs and traditions.
We are also seeing a few changes in our Blang Kreung classes. We will be changing venues starting next week, and were able to recruit some new volunteer teachers to help us there. We have been incredibly blessed to meet so many people with huge hearts who can give some of their time to help us in our efforts to provide free education.
By Sina, Work-Study Volunteer Bali
Thursday Night, I arrived at the IHF Center at East Bali and met the other three volunteers from the UK and China and Intan, my Co-ordinator –everyone is really nice and I am really lucky that I decided to come to IHF Bali to be a work-volunteer for the next 4 weeks!
At the next morning I got my “Arrival Training” which included showing me the IHF Center, which is a beautiful Balinese-style house at the Indian Ocean nearby a Muslim and a Hindu village with a big green garden with water fountains and 4 big classrooms plus a separate guesthouse for the volunteers. Afterwards I taught my first lesson in English and had the opportunity to learn my first Indonesian words from my Indonesian pupils: “Saya Sina! Umur saya 25.” Which means that my name is Sina and that I am 25 years old It really was an amazing experience to meet the pupils and they are very open-minded, inquiring and love and I am excited to get to know them better!
At my free first free Sunday, I went with the other volunteers to the city Ubud at the middle of Bali to see Bali’s rich artistic and dance traditions and a typical Hindu ceremony at the temple of the sacred monkey forest. Ubud is really fascinating and there are so many different people from all around the world and I really like to come back for a couple of days after my stay at the IHF center.
On our way back to Buitan, we stopped at the mother temple “Besakih” and joined a Hindu ceremony and had the opportunity to meditate there and so I was able to get a feeling for the typical traditions and the Hindu way of life which is really great and I can’t wait to experience more of it.
By Rich, Co-Director IHF Kenya
It was a fantastic feeling this week to receive the third of our reinforcement Directors. With myself and Julie having held the fort for the last two months it is a welcome relief to have three fresh enthusiastic faces around the place. It is especially welcome as we have now entered the school holidays and there are 76 children who want to be entertained 24/7. As well as running computer classes and movie nights for the kids, we have also been working on some new games to play. Today in an adaptation to a ball game called Cati already played by the children, we introduced a game of French cricket. Although the older boys could not be drawn away from their football match, the game proved to be very popular with the younger children who played until dusk.
By Michael Vitello, Work-Study Volunteer Thailand
We also have a lot of fun on our walks home from school. We get ice cream – as well as some good exercise!
By Jessica, Co-Director Banda Aceh IHF
Last Sunday we were finally able to get a couple of gardeners to fix up our backyard! They did a great job to our garden, though unfortunately a few flowers were cut along the way as well. But now, it looks great, and when the students arrived, they happily walked around the grounds and started shooting some hoops at previously hidden little basketball hoop.
The gardener is also now a new member of our college class. He is currently a college student studying to be a general education teacher, and upon hearing about what we did for our organization, asked whether he could join our college class to improve his English skills. We happily welcomed him, and are even gladder to know that we will be helping him achieve his dream in educating future students here in Aceh.
We have also revamped our classes a bit in lieu of November. We have gotten quite a few new registered students, and decided to separate our SD3 and SD4 class accordingly as the class was getting slightly too large. The SD4 students were definitely excited and up for the challenge.
We also divided the College classes into 2 levels, as the students’ English levels and skills were quite different. We tried it out on Tuesday, and it was a great success! The teachers were able to plan appropriate lessons for the students, and you could see that the students were fully engaged, since the lesson was planned according to their level of understanding.
By Sina, Work-Study Volunteer at IHF Bali center
I have spent two amazing weeks at the IHF Center at Bali and there is still so much to explore! Last weekend, for example, we went with a small public bus to the beach nearby the Center and it was like an image from a postcard with clear blue water, white sand and palm trees everywhere! After the swimming I got a real fresh coconut and just had to put my straw in to drink the coconut milk- it was fantastic and I haven’t done something like this before!
Back at the school I had to prepare the tasks for my 3 Quizzes in English for the upcoming week- because it was Quiz week at the IHF Center! One of the major topics was to build a Question like “Where are you from?”, “What do you like?”, “Who are you?”, “How old are you?” and therefore we started a big conversation at the classroom and everyone of the pupils was allowed to tell something about themselves and their families and friends, hobbies,favourite food, their pets and was allowed to ask their neighbours about their lives afterwards–it was great fun!
Accordingly, I had to show them on the world map at the classroom where Germany is and everyone wanted to know what Germany looks like, in which city I live in, what its like to live there and especially what snow is and how far away Germany is from Indonesia.
All of the pupils are so nice and adorable, and even after those short 2 weeks at the Center, it feels like that I have stayed here so much longer and I learned so much from everyone. I really can not imagine that I have to leave them already after only two more weeks – it feels like time is running past so quickly!
By Richard, Co-Director IHF Nakuru Center
This week the family at the center got a little bit closer as we undertook renovations on the boys roof. Without any complaints the boys crammed themselves into other buildings and staff relocated while the roofers set to work. By installing metal sheets underneath the existing tiles, the roof is now completely watertight and offers a far better environment for the boys to stay in.
This is just the first in what we hope will be a long list of renovation projects including replacing windows, redecorating and buying in new bedding. The children are very happy with their new roof and want to pass on their thanks to all our generous sponsors, donors and volunteers who have benefited them.
By Joy, Co-Director IHF Chiang Rai
They do their homework on time, as well as all their other chores. We usually spend the evenings cleaning the Center and preparing for school the next day. The children especially love taking my camera and taking pictures of themselves.