by Timea, Co-Director, IHF Banda Aceh
The last week in Aceh has been a very exciting one. 17 August is the national Independence Day in Indonesia with lots of celebrations. In the morning the whole city was gathering in the main park, called Blang Padang, to see the flag ceremony and the traditional Acehnese dance performed by students and soldiers. It was very spectacular and everyone was enjoying it despite the heat.
Later in the afternoon we held a celebration for our students at the center – of course we wanted them to have fun with us, too! We have prepared a lot of activities. We were welcoming them with ice-cold popsickles and everyone got an Indonesian – red and white – flag drawn on their cheeks. We had an arts and crafts corner and we organised a lot of races, such as three-legged race, sackrace and a race balancinga marble in a spoon. But the most popular thing was Makan Kerupuk – eating traditional Indonesian chips off a rope – all the children were crazy about this.
Fortunately both our younger and our older students found the games enjoyable!
Some of the parents stayed with the children for the afternoon – they were making some red and white bracelets for themselves in the arts and crafts corner and have a nice chat in the shades while the children were playing. We could tell that they were having fun, too. Some of them even made bracelets for the co-directors, we really appreciated it.
At the end of the event all the children received a bungkus – a tiny red and white bag – with some cakes and presents. This topped up the event and everybody – we had 70 students attending the event! – went home happy and then attended next week’s classes with high spirits.
by Esther M., Work-Study Volunteer, IHF Bali
Last Tuesday, we enjoyed a visit from one of our Bali sponsors, Jessica, here at the Bali Center.Jessica is from Australia, and she was travelling around Bali with her family when she decided to give us a big surprise.
She works as a scientist and she came to show us a little bit about her work.
She made a volcano from a plastic bottle covered by some sand and let some kids fill it up with bicarbonate. T hen she dumped a little bit of vinegar inside of the volcano and it suddenly explode, impressing all of us, mainly the kids who started to applaud her.
She repeated the experiment several times so almost all of the kids could participate on it.
Jessica also wanted to offer us a demonstration about how electricity can appear just rubbing a balloon in someone´s hair, but unfortunately it didn´t work because of the humid weather of Bali.
The kids really loved the experiments, and we will like to thank Jessica and her family because it was a nice detail coming to visit our Bali Center. We hope to see you here again!!
by Gala, Cloris, Elena and Aeril, Voluntourists, IHF Banda Aceh
This is the last week of our stay in Banda Aceh. When we first came here, we felt uncomfortable of the environment and the climate. However, after a few days stay, we have already fallen in love with this city and nice people here, and we already start to miss this place since the leaving day is coming soon. At the center, we do some cleaning job every day and some poster design for the Independence Day.
We have English class for SMA and SD4, and it is much more difficult to teach them than expected due to language barriers. It appears that we cannot understand each other during the SD4 classes, so we try to pick up some Bahasa Indonesia and keep asking local volunteers for help, and they are very nice to us.
For senior high students, their English is much better than the primary school kids, so we make the class more like a workshop. We shared knowledge about China and Indonesia, and some tips for presentation which we learned at university. At the beginning, they were too shy to talk to us, but we get familiar quickly and they become willing to talk to us. The class was in a pleasant atmosphere and we really enjoyed the class.
Last night, we cooked Chinese food for local volunteers and directors to show gratitude to them, and it was awesome. It is a memorable experience of volunteer in Banda Aceh, and we think we will share our experience to my friends and spread the word of IHF after we come back to China.
by Desai, F., Voluntourist, IHF Nakuru
It was July 15th 14.25 pm when we arrived at Nairobi airport. The sun was quite strong at that moment. When we got out of the airport, Harry, who is our new neighbor, was already waiting for us there. On the way back, we witnessed the horrible traffic jam in Nairobi and our car was almost stuck in the road. Regardless of the traffic, we also saw some wild big birds that we have never seen in China before, and an incredible sunset along the way, besides, Harry talked with us about the food, weather and lifestyle in Kenya. So it was a fun trip anyway.
Due to the traffic jam, it took us around four hours to go from the airport to the Center. It was 8.30 pm when we finally arrived at the Center. Children, staff, as well as other volunteers, were very warm and friendly. They held our hands, hugged us, and helped us with the luggage. The dorm is simple but nice. It was actually better than what we expected. At least we can get all the necessities.
On the second day, in the morning, we ate our first meal in Kenya, which was Mandaxi and tea. Mandaxi is similar to one of the traditional foods in China, but it adds the local color, and the tea is savory and mellow. We liked the breakfast very much. After finishing the breakfast, Kapedo showed us the whole Center and we met many children here. They were very kind and warmly greeted us. They have some farmlands here and planted many crops like maize, kale and potatoes. The sunshine burns in the day and the land is dry. In the afternoon, we helped Ann peeled the beans which were part of our lunch. We sat on the grassland, did the work and chatted with Ann and other volunteers. We enjoyed the leisure time time and the life in the Center. We ate dinner at about 6.00 pm. It was made of ugali and some cabbages. But we thought that maybe we couldn’t get used to this kind of dinner because it tasted a little strange for us.
On the third day, the breakfast was also Mandaxi and tea. After a simple breakfast, we went to the farm to help digging out the potatoes. The potatoes here are different from the ones in China because the size is much smaller. However, actually, there are two kinds of potatoes in the farm, one is small, and the other is bigger. At first, we couldn’t recognize which one was the potato plant, but many children helped us. After the fascinating morning, in the afternoon we went to the town to get our money exchanged. There is a good mall called Westside and we got our daily supplies, such as drinking water, clean water pills and food there. Also, there is a nice restaurant called Java and we enjoyed our dinner there. In the evening, many kids came to our room to play with us. Games in Warmie mobile phones are really popular. LOL Poker card and Magic Cube are also popular and Elizabeth is really good at playing Magic Cube.
Our fourth day in the Center was an amazing Saturday. After we got up, we collected the kids to wash their sheets and blankets. It’s cool that they put the blankets on the ground to wash it. After they finished cleaning, some kids came to our room; however, contrary to what we expected, the kids didn’t ask us for phone games this time, so we taught them how to make paper toys. Some of them learnt how to make paper hearts and balls. Other boys have the gift of drawing, especially when drawing football players. Thus, it can be figured out that they love football very much. In the afternoon, we met the blind girl, Kamama, for the first time. Vivian came with her, so we played many great songs for them, for example, good time. It seems that Kamama likes songs greatly. We hope that we can do more for these lovely kids in our last few days here.
by Leonardo D., Work-Study, IHF Aceh
Preparing a fundraising event was a unique experience, every part of the process was hard, yet exciting! When we decided to have a fundraising event, we were all thrilled and ready to prepare it as best as we could! We agreed on selling pudding, due to the simplicity of the recipe and to the low cost of the ingredients.
We managed to find a ready-to-cook powder, which resulted to be cheap and easy to cook. After everything was ready, we were all looking forward to the day of the event.
Finally, when the day came, there were a lot of tasks to do and we divided them among all the volunteers. Some of us were drawing the pictures of the pudding with the prices on the blackboards, some of us were cooking and others were making room in the fridge for the big amount of pudding we were preparing. The mouth-watering fragrance of chocolate and mango in the air accompanied us throughout the morning. When we finally managed to put the 190 pudding cups in the fridge, after a morning of hard work, we all took a break and waited until the pudding was ready. Later, we wrapped up the pudding and began to prepare the tables, banners and posters.
We split into two groups: one group went to the nearby mosque and the other near a big mall close to the Center. When the first customers came, searching for something which they could break the fast with (because we had our fundraising in the last days of Ramadan), we were all so happy! People were curious about the international volunteers and stopped for talking and for taking pictures. Furthermore, the local volunteers helped a lot by spreading the word about IHF. We also distributed some flyers with the timetable of the classes we are about to have in the new school year starting in August. The fundraising was a great success and both groups managed to sell all the pudding and we made a good profit.
I encourage every volunteer to organize at least one fundraising event during their stay at IHF. It is a wonderful feeling to see how a project becomes reality, especially if it is your own and most importantly, if it is for a good cause! You gain a lot from this, you learn how to make a financial plan for an event, how to deal with money and primarily, how to interact with people. It is also ideal for getting to know the locals a little bit better and have a conversation about IHF and its goals in an informal and relaxed setting. We spent a wonderful day working on the fundraising and we have become a really good team!
by Giulia M., Work-Study, IHF Chiang Rai
It seems like many Tuesdays here in the Chiang Rai Center, all the kids are at school and the volunteers do the usual duties. Then, the co-Director asks us to get on a truck and go to the city Center to pick up some gifts that a sponsor has brought for the Center and for the children.
After a few minutes, we arrive in the city center and go to the hotel where we find the sponsor and the gifts that he brought. And after all the hard work of taking and loading the truck with all of the things, and a sincere thank you to the sponsor, we return to the Center, where we start to check and organize all of the gifts.
It looks like Christmas morning! There are a lot of useful things for the Center and for the children, and it’s impossible to write here a list of all the things that we received!
Among the most beautiful gifts, there is a wonderful bicycle, that everyone can use, a blender that we could use to prepare smoothies, a big television and a coffee machine for those volunteers who need an energy drink before work in the morning.
When the children come back from school, you can imagine their smiling faces when they see all the presents. They help the volunteers organize all of the things, and this becomes a way to start a conversation with the children, to know each other better and to build relationships between people who speak different languages, who live in different countries and have different cultures.
Thank you very much for these gifts, not only for the Center, that received useful things, but also for the smiles and the relationships that developed between children and volunteers.
by Chengsheng, L., Voluntourist, IHF Jakarta
This week is my first week in Jakarta. Everyone here is very friendly and easygoing. I am very happy I got this chance to join this big family. I was assigned to teach SD1 to SD4 classes, which are Primary classes. At first, I just played the role of an assistant in the class due to the lack of experience at being a teacher. SD1 class surprised me so much, because they were behaving in a very naughty manner! They couldn’t even sit still for ten seconds. They run, they shout, and they play. I keep saying “sit down”, sometimes “duduk” which means “sit down” in Indonesian to the whole class and I nearly lost my voice. Fortunately, although they are very naughty, they go back to their seats when I ask them to.
Friday night was an unforgettable night. We went to a karaoke to celebrate Ayu’s birthday. We sang Indonesian songs, Mandarin songs, English songs, and Indian songs.
Said by the IHF founder: “IHF Jakarta provides a loving and safe environment for both the children and volunteers alike and you cannot help but fall in love with the country, the food, the culture, and of course the people”. I have started to fall in love with this city and I appreciate everything I have experienced here.
by Xintong Z., Voluntourist, IHF Medan
This is my first time doing teaching work, which I think is a great experience for me because I study English and maybe someday a will be a great teacher! The students in the Center are cute and smart. I was quite surprised that they are pretty good at speaking English, while Chinese students can only write in English. I love them so much.
The trip to Lake Toba was perfect. I went there on the weekend with the volunteers I work together with. It is really beautiful, the sky was blue and the weather was good. We stayed in a homestay hotel. The house keeper took us around Lake Toba for the whole day. He is a really nice person. His wife is a German woman who traveled there 33 years ago and got married to him.
And, I felt really happy on the day of the final match of the World Cup. It was cool and I love to share happiness together with others, though Argentina lost. Finally, this is a great experience for me as a volunteer in Medan. I think I can be a teacher someday in future.
Thanks to my nice director Rafa and Thank you IHF!
by Daysi & Dawen, Voluntourists, IHF Aceh
This is the second week we have been staying here, and we have started to get used to Banda Aceh, to the IHF Center, and to the volunteers here including both local and international. I am feeling much better when I see the geckoes now than when I first saw them and could only sleep well after reciting a passage from the holy bible. In addition, the food, which has Indonesian taste with a special sauce, is extremely delicious. Although, there were not many teaching classes during this week, I got the chance to spend time more closely with the children and it is really a lot of fun playing with children who are so smart and, thus, learn things very fast. Besides our own class, we also attended the other volunteers’ classes such as Italian class, and getting to know another language that we haven’t been in touch with before is amazing.
This week, we had a fundraising activity, which was about selling pudding. We had lots of fun in this fundraising activity. I always believe that people who like to volunteer are nice, and so they are; we spent the rest of the time together. Sometimes, we go out to have dinner or drink together, but other times we just hang out in the Center and chill. No matter what we do, the atmosphere is perfect because everybody likes to share and joke around.
On the 27th we went to the center of Banda Aceh. There was a big festival,so many people got together there and celebrate it. We had a lot of fun and the fireworks after the parade were really amazing. The life here became more and more comfortable and I started to feel like I am living in a big family .Everything starts to become a part of my life. I am sure that the experience here would be one of the best memories of my life.