Remembering in Jakarta

by Christina, Corinne and Tina, Volunteers, IHF Jakarta

We still remember the first day when we arrived at the IHF Jakarta Center, a gorgeous afternoon and a mysterious Center. On the first week, Ade showed us our room and we were glad that we, three girls, were arranged together. Then, 20140606_124604 (1)he showed us around the Center and it was just like a maze to us. He is a nice and warm-hearted guy and that left us a good first impression. In the evening, the two American girls took us to the snack street and recommended several delicious food options to us, and they are really yummy!! Later, we met the two Co-Directors, Timea and Helene, we were very surprised, since they are both so young and pretty!!!

On the next day, we celebrated Ica’s birthday and she received a beautiful rainbow cake and many presents! She is 6 years old now and she was quite happy on her birthday! Her mother Ibu cooks for us every day and she is a brilliant cook! She is so nice that one day I asked if there was any chili left and she made a dish for us immediately!

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On another day, we three made a poster for the coming final exams and the ‘Pass it On’ ceremony. We came up with many ideas and discussed them together. Finally, we drew on a large paper and we were extremely happy that everybody liked it!

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After a few days, we had an art class and taught the students origami, how to fold a lily flower. It was a bit complicated, but every kid had a masterpiece at the end. Everyone was delighted. Rahma even folded a tulip by herself and she taught me!! In the evening, there was a recruitment activity. Ayu took us around the neighborhood to distribute flyers and put up posters in order to have more children come to our IHF Center to obtain knowledge.

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We also met another new friend named Mili. Actually, we all didn’t like cats before, until we met her. She is just so cute, but naughty. She plays with people or finds something to play by herself. It is interesting to observe her. But she always seems hungry and looks for food, and sometimes goes soooo crazy!

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The Center is more like a home to us. We love this place so much and really look forward to the next days!

The Real Aceh

by Jie & Quan, Voluntourists, IHF Aceh

When I searched the term “Banda Aceh” on the Internet for the first time, almost entirely, the results showed the dark sides of Aceh, as a city that once suffered a horrible tsunami in 2004. Besides that, as it was the first thing I got to know about this place as well, the nervousness emerged increasingly.

However, when I finally arrived in Aceh, and after a week staying here, I do not feel nervous anymore. The native people are extremely friendly. For example, when we are walking on the street, they would ask us curiously where we come from. Also, the local volunteers are completely willing to take us to explore the city, find some native delicacy, throw a BBQ party or have a picnic on the beach. Generally, I cannot find any unsafe factors at all.

image (2) (3)All the volunteers in the Center, not only foreign but also local, are so enthusiastic; especially Jessica, the Co-Director of the IHF Aceh Center, who have made a lot of contributions to the Center and in return, she also enjoys prestigious fame around the village. All the students in the Center are quite adorable, even though some of them are naughty sometimes, they are still obedient, and their eyes convey purity and innocence.

Moreover, I have to say that all the kinds of food available in Aceh are of excellent quality and have a reasonable price. The spicy food, which the local volunteers recommended to us, and the coconut juice, which costs only 2.5 RMB, are really worth to eat.

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Finally, we had the ‘Pass it On’ ceremony on Thursday. Many local volunteers came to help and when students started showing up, they were all very excited. We played with the kids, ate some tasty food and congratulated the students with certificates. It was great to see the smiles on their faces. It is really worth it to be here as a volunteer and to become one of the IHF family members.

Gifts for Chiang Rai

by Esme, Co-Director, IHF Chiang Rai

Week 2 and I’m starting to get used to things now. It has been a normal school week for everyone. All the children here have been very helpful with the cleaning and helping to cook. The yard is difficult to keep clean because of the constant rain, but the boys are doing a good job.

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This week we welcomed our work-study volunteer from China, Guanjin, who came with gifts for the children. All the girls now have new T-shirts to wear, thank you!

As well as a volunteer, we welcomed a donor from England, Jiten, who has been travelling around Thailand and came to the IHF Centre. He decided he wanted to contribute to the Centre and so, we went with him to Big C and helped fill his trolley! The boys now have a new T-shirt each, and for everyone there are lots of snacks, stationary items for school, and toiletries. To top it off, we also had KFC bought for the children, a favourite food for a lot of them. We really appreciate the generous donation, thank you very much!

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Lovely Kids Here In IHF Bali

by Mark L., Voluntourist, IHF Bali

It was really something out of my imagination for me to decide to go to the IHF Bali Center. Before coming, I couldn’t have expected what I am enjoying here: a beautiful view, friendly people, and of course, lovely kids.

There are different levels for kids of different ages to choose from: SD1 to Senior. I want to introduce Epa (SD1) and Putu (Senior), since they are good examples of the kids here.

Epa is a seven-year-old girl, living in the village beside our center. She is a hard-working girl and attends almost all the classes here at the Center. It is hard for local children to come to every class, since they need to do other work to help their families, but Epa makes it happen. In class, she always helps the other students to understand the lesson. She is also very active, which means that she dares to communicate with us, volunteers, about her interesting experiences, her friends and her family. This makes every class more interesting. I believe that if Epa can keep her excellent performance, she will have a good future.

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Putu is the oldest one here. He is 17 years old —It may be better if we call him a ‘teenager’. He is not only a student, but also a waiter in a restaurant. He has already begun taking his responsibility of caring for his family, but Putu doesn’t give up learning and he does a good job, especially in English. What impresses me most is that he told me that he wants to learn more about the outside world. He hopes he can make his hometown a better place. It may be a very big dream, but I think a society moves forward because of the people who dare to dream. It is the same for Putu.

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If you want to know more about these lovely kids, please join us in IHF Bali. All the kids here will welcome your coming!

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Mary’s Nakuru

by Mary S. W., Work-Study, IHF Nakuru

The beautiful thing about Nakuru is that it brings the expected and unexpected together, at the same time and in many different ways. Though various people may seem a bit skeptical of traveling and immersing themselves in such a new environment, I have felt more love in these past couple days by heart-warming natures than ever when visiting a new country or city. Yes, one may need to be aware at times as in any new place, but Nakuru is full of big hearts in an active community. For instance, when riding the “piki” (a vehicle that, in my eyes, is a mix between a Vespa and a motorcycle, takes you from place to place as a taxi would); as I tend to flag a “piki” into town, I will often  catch myself awkwardly grinning from ear to ear, as I see the reality that surrounds me through the transit. Nakuru brings to life some of the fond images I have seen via films through time, and, I imagine, I may feel a bit as some foreigners feel when arriving in America after watching its films for years. It is surreal to have it all come to live, and it is much more impressive in person.

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Though there are serious adjustments one must make when new to a developing country, some of the resources that seem the most unlikely to be helpful, are exactly the ones that carry out the job the best. This even comes down to the food that I choose to eat. At times, it is the restaurant with a couple of benches and few pots that I prefer over the one with a bar and a TV. As both offer great service and wonderful personalities, it is foolish to miss out on either. Yet, these ideas only scratch the surface of what makes Nakuru so special, because the IHF Center is FULL of some of the most carefree loving souls I have ever encountered. Upon my arrival, a handful of the many kids enjoying their Sunday were hugging and welcoming me in as if I was nothing of a stranger and every bit of a future friend. I got lucky on my date of arrival, since the kids were home from school and the IHF family was around to hang out.

Accordingly, the next day, when I went into town to learn the ropes, discovering great food and more culture, I ended up not getting back until after the kid’s bedtime; correspondingly, I realized that I missed their presence and didn’t want to miss out on the little moments with them due to the international tasks. Thus, I decided then and there to stick to my currently unraveling schedule, that I would work up with the dedicated minds around: 5-6 hours for school, walk, laugh, and support the Center in the morning beauty, and then leave to get the international work done as well. Thus, I will be able to return for lunch with them on time as a break, and, afterwards, be able to tie up any loose ends before the evening. I am looking forward to playing football, reading books, helping with homework, learning everyone’s names by heart, having spa nights with the girls, cooking together, etc.

As much as I am enjoying and appreciating the time spent with the rest of the local community as well, I am only here for the Kenyan winter (even though with the temperatures as they are, it is hard for me to remember that it is not their summer), so I do not want to miss out on the opportunity that I have to be there for the kids, learn from them, absorb what it takes to run an NGO, and take-in the normal everyday life of Kenyans.

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IHF Nakuru is situated in a rural space in the midst of the fourth largest city the country has –it is a very special place to serve, learn, and love. I am eager to experience all that awaits in these next two months.

A new beginning in Chiang Rai

by Esme, Co-Director, IHF Chiang Rai

So, I’ve been here a week now and, let’s say, there is a lot to get used to; like the gecko I share my bathroom with and the extreme humidity! The other co-directors here have been very kind and patient with me, whilst they show me around everywhere and get me used to the routine here. I now know where to get the vegetables and meat (I think), where to pay the bills and where the night bazaars are! I’ve also been helped with buying a bicycle so I can get around easily and begin to acclimatize!

The children have been lovely. They have all helped with cleaning and are always polite. Pratya, our university student, came home this week to deliver his four sponsor letters and to see the other children. We have also had Arisa’s birthday this week, she is now 17, and was spoilt with fried chicken and a birthday cake. The children, all seemed to enjoy it! I spend my time in the evenings watching Thai movies with the youngest, Chichiporn. I don’t understand what is being said, but I get the gist!

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Making friends in Aceh

by Ning, Jenny, Amie and Vincent, Voluntourists, IHF Aceh

It is a wonderful experience to stay here. As soon as we arrived at the Aceh’s airport, we were attracted by the beautiful sightseeing. Then, the kind driver took us to the IHF Center, where we were warimage (1) (3)mly welcomed by many friends. Our director, Jessica showed us around the house and patiently answered our many questions. Except for us, there are four other volunteers here, Julie, Amy, Jie and Quan. We had a nice dinner together in the living room, like a family. In the following few days, we also made some local friends. The local volunteers are all friendly and passionate. We usually go to a local restaurant, a coffee shop or a museum together. Our new friends here help us a lot with information about living in Aceh, teaching children and other things. We really appreciate meeting them.

Before the start of our teaching job, we were asked to attend the other volunteers’ classes. This helped us to fit in the Center’s routine quickly. These children are so lovely and enthusiastic. We all enjoy the time we spend with them. Sometimes, they are noisy and naughty, but they always have the most beautiful smiles on their faces.

image (2) (1)We also took part in some very interesting activities with some new friends. On Sunday, we went to the beach and joined a fantastic campfire party. We meet some interesting people and we also got some advice.

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It’s so great to be a volunteer here! We think it’s important to contribute to the education of children. In addition, living within a new culture provides a new way to consider and evaluate our culture and former life.

 

A first week at IHF Bali

by Jason, Voluntourist, IHF Bali

Hi, I’m Jason, I’m a fresh volunteer at the IHF Center in Bali and this is my view and experience in the first week here. Let me show you some pictures of this trip.

The first one is the beach under the sunset, how amazing it is!

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And the second and third pictures are from the outside of the Center’s yard, it is silent and peaceful without any doubts:

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Now you must get the environment where we live in. Is it beautiful? No matter if you are a volunteer or a student here, we all feel happy and have fun in this peaceful environment.

The second part is about the life and work here. The next picture will show you how people organize their jobs and work.

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And also this picture shows you the situation inside this Center, wood makes you feel warm and relax.

Basically, we teach children English and computer here; they all love to say hello to us with warm hearts and good faith. And they are also eager to communicate with you, which makes you feel comfortable and satisfied.

 

 

How do you feel about IHF Bali after reading this story? Come on and join us!

Dreams in Nakuru

by Alice, Voluntourist, IHF Kenya

‘Dream’, maybe it is a little bit difficult for the children at the Kenya IHF Center to think about it. More or less, the children there suffered because of their unfortunate past experience. However, if you see their shiny smiles, you would never believe how bad their lives were.

I want to introduce a lovely boy to you, he is Emmanuel. You can easily recognize him by his small size and the cutest smile!

picture 1‘What is this, Manu?’ I said curiously.
‘It is a motorbike’, he said.
‘Have you ever thought about buying one in the future?’ I said.
‘Hehe’. He chuckled somewhat shyly and kept drawing.

For most people, at first sight, they can not even recognize that it is a motorcycle. But to Manu, it may be one of the most beautiful things in the world. That is his DREAM.

Now, let me show you another picture drawn here at the Center:

picture 2It is a kind of African flower, but Loboo shows much creativity in painting it. And the use of different colors and patterns makes it vivid.

No matter what they have faced once, we must be aware of the dreams in their eyes!

Deforestation and Cuddly Apes

by Rob, Co-Director, IHF Medan

A few weeks ago we welcomed in a special guest speaker. Panut, from the OIC (Orang-utan Information Centre) came to Medan, accompanied by a large toy ape, to talk to the kids and local volunteers about the Sumatran orang-utan, its disappearing habitat, its endangered status as a species and the importance of environmental conservation both inside and outside Indonesia.

The deforestation talk was especially pertinent given our location. North Sumatra, along with Borneo and much of Malaysia, has seen vast amounts of its natural rainforest stripped and flattened by palm oil plantations. It is a continuing problem, both for the communities and the wildlife that live in what little rainforest remains. Panut and his organisation hope that by educating children about this issue a more eco-minded generation will emerge in the future – they may well be the last generation with the power to stop the eradication of certain species and habitats.

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As you can see from the photo, the room was packed with enthusiastic kids from across all our classes. Panut was also kind enough to donate some books and calendars for the centre. They now sit in our slowly expanding library for all to peruse.

For more information on the OIC, please visit http://orangutancentre.org/