From Mozambique to Banda Aceh!

by Denise, Work-Study, IHF Banda Aceh

I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived in Banda aceh, but my first impressions were all positive , the locals volunteers who managed to pick me up at the airport were very friendly and chatty  and from that moment I knew that I was at the right place with the right people. When I got at the centre I met all the Co-Directors and international volunteers, a few students and some local volunteers , they were all very welcoming and made me feel part of this awesome family !!!

I was instructed to teach the SD2 and SD5, we had fun Eacenglish and Portuguese classes, In the beginning the children were very shy, but after a few days they were already more comfortable with me and started asking many, many questions  it was easy to get attached to them, they are all very cute, very smart and full of energy, always up for some extra activity and games, specially to play Uno cards (our favorite game). In the end of the day I wasn’t only teaching, I was also learning with them every day.

The children always want to participate in the “making off” of our activities, so they helped me and Sushi with the Mozambican Day poster and I was surprised with their abilities to draw and paint, as they always do their best, the poster came out very colorful and pretty  . I had the opportunity to talk about my country and share a little a bit of the Mozambican reality with the children who didn’t want to stop playing to pay attention to my presentation but once I started they got into it and participate actively.

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Beside bonding with the children I also got very close to other volunteers (local and international) , we organized social activities outside the center and since its Ramadan season, we were invited by Anggaace4ra, one of the local volunteers ( who is also a very close and great friend of us), to break fast at his place and all of us joined  the food was amazing and all his family were happy for having us there, we also organized one breaking fast event at the center and some parents came , see, it is easy to fall in love with the local community, they are all very kind and always ready to help us.

Aceh is a quiet and beautiful little town, with this amazing landscape and gorgeous beaches, but its people is definitely the best of it  . These 4 weeks at the IHF center were full of learnings, laughter, kindness and most of all, full of friendship and I am thankful for the opportunity I had to help these wonderful and bright kids. Despite being sad for leaving my kids here in Aceh, I am thrilled to join this new family at the IHF center in Chiang Rai, I believe it will be as exciting and fulfilling as Banda Aceh was.ace3

The importance of creativity: Body Painting at IHF Bali

by Laia & Judit, Voluntourist, IHF Bali
This is the first week that we have spent in IHF Bali, and our first voluntourist experience. Until now it has been such an amazing experience and we have done a lot of things with the children and the other volunteers.

The first day that we arrived here, we had Bingo Night. It was so fun! We did it to P1060264 (640x480)fundraise some money for the center. It was great because we could spend time with the other volunteers and get to know them more. At Bingo Night we sold also some T-shirts and postcards, and the people who came were so generous and kind.

At 12 o’clock on Saturday we started our special project: face painting day. This consisted of a creative and fun activity where the children could paint their face or other parts of their body. At first we started painting the face of the children, but then they said that they also wanted to paint other parts of their body. So we started to paint their hands, arms, feet, and more!

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It was a really good activity that exercised the creativity of the children because they started to paint some beautiful paintings for the teachers: flowers, crocodiles, butterflies…

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We are so happy because the activity was so exciting for the children and it gave us the opportunity to spend time together and even learn some words in Indonesian.

We hope we’ll have more opportunities to share different moments like this during our stay at the IHF Center.

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A wonderful week at IHF Jakarta Center: Buka Bersama, lessons, visiting the city and delicious food!

by Dolores, Voluntourist, IHF Jakarta

After a long trip, I arrived at the IHF center in Jakarta on 30th June. There was a cute cat sleeping on the chair and a beautiful yard in the IHF center. A grj0oup of friendly people took me to a beautiful café, and treated me to ice-cream. They told me a lot about the volunteering life and about Jakarta, and we had a wonderful talk.

In IHF, I tasted all kinds of delicious food. In the morning, Ayu, a friendly girl, bought delicious breakfast for us, such as traditional Indonesian food and porridge. Every day, we had an exceedingly good lunch, and the lunches were always different. Occasionally, we would go out to eat barbecued food at night. After meals, we played lots of interesting games, such as scrabble, monopoly and poker.
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In the first week, we observed how lessons were taught, and learnt how to teach kids. And I got along well with these cute kids. On Saturday, we distributed leaflets in another nearby community with Ade. And on Saturday night, there was a big special dinner (Buka Bersama) at the IHF center to celebrate Ramadan. Every one ate dinner together and played games. The life of a volunteer is so wonderful!

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Sundays are our day off, and on that day, we went to the city cej22nter of Jakarta and saw some magnificent buildings, such as Monas, the Mosque and a church. Then, we went to Grand Indonesia Mall and stayed at a fancy café called Magnum café, where we enjoyed a delicious dessert.

In a word, I had a wonderful week in IHF and in Jakarta!(*^__^*)

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My Five Best Experiences with IHF Banda Aceh (In Chronological Order)

by Ilya, Work-Study, IHF Banda Aceh

I can’t believe how fast time flies. Six weeks ago, I wrote about my first of eight weeks that I would be spending at the IHF Banda Aceh center. Now, my time is almost up. I have gained incredible insights on the operations of an international non-profit, and now I am almost certain that there is nothing more that I want for my future than to realise my childhood dream of working for one. But more importantly, I have met people who have shared moments with me that I hope I will never forget.

1. 23rd May 2015: Hiking without Shoes at Kuta Melaka and Sunset at Lhok Nga
It was my first Saturday here. Dustin, Jessica and Anggara had made plans to go to Kuta Melaka, a highland with a waterfall located about one and a half hours’ ride away from the center. Dustin had insisted that I come along. Even though I was 1initially reluctant to do so, I’m glad he did. It was the first time I had to ride pillion on the motorbike for such a long period of time. We passed by rows after rows of mountains overlooking acres of green paddy fields. We rode through the countryside, where villagers were going about their daily chores. They would pause to stare at us, and we would exchange smiles. We dipped our sun-kissed toes into the cool, clear water. I honestly never knew Aceh had so much to offer. We then went to Lhok Nga to catch the sunset. That would be my first of many times watching the sun inch its way down the horizon at the beach.

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2.7. June 2015: Fun Games at Pass it On Ceremony

It was the Sunday after a week of exams. Emily, Dustin, Nazma, Sushi, George and I had spent the entire afternoon preparing for the Pass It On Ceremony, where students who topped their respective classes and had best attendances would be given prizes. After breaking my back packing an estimated 70 goodie bags consisting of risols and donuts, I watched as the earlybirds arrived. Smartypants Barry approached the registration counter and asked Emily, “Naik kelas empat? (Did I advance to the fourth grade?)” After more kids6 and their parents streamed in, we started playing games. I blew up balloons and filled them up with candy (or “permen”, as the kids call it). They would have to sit on the balloons and burst them in order to retrieve the candy. It was supposed to be a team game, but when I saw everyone running towards the balloons at once, I gave up trying to explain myself. We also played the classics – three-legged race, food-eating competition and the good ol’ piñata. The sun was merciless, and my feet were dirty from running around barefoot at the backyard. But that didn’t matter, because I remember very clearly how wonderful it felt for everyone to come together and have fun.

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3. 22nd May – 4th July 2015: Fundraiser
Even before I arrived, Emily had told me that I would be put in-charge of organising a fundraiser for the center. I initially had wanted to carry out an art fair. However, after consulting with the high7 school students, we decided to sell food instead. From the get-go, I knew that working with them would be an enriching experience. The high school students are a bunch of playful, dynamic and outgoing people. We had a few meetings to sort out the details of our fundraiser – what we were going to sell, how much each item would be sold for, how we were going to prepare the food. Our meet-ups entailed 10am mornings and working for 8 hours. Soon, we were meeting up not only to discuss about the fundraiser, but also to just hang out over bowls of mie bakso, Acehnese birthday bashes and horrible karaoke sing-alongs.

 

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4. 11 & 12 June 2015: Taekwondo Class
Throughout the summer, the Aceh center held special activities for the students. I deci10ded to conduct a taekwondo class for the kids, knowing that they really enjoy physical activities. What I did not know, however, was that some of them also take martial arts lessons. And this common ground really helped me break the ice with them and easily get to know them better. The kids’ favourite part of the lessons were definitely the board-breaking section. Dustin managed to find unused wooden planks lying around, so he helped to cut them into boards. They initially wanted to try breaking the boards using their hands, which was honestly impossible. When I managed to break one using a kick, they all seemed impressed and started cheering for me. It was an amusing situation to be in 

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5. Every Day: Masuk Kelas (and everything else related to it)
I will never get tired of hearing the co-directors shout, “Masuk kelas!” which means, “Get into class!” I do it too sometimes, and it’s such a joy to watch the15 kids run into the classrooms, albeit reluctantly at times. For the past month, I taught SD4 (4th graders), who are witty and smart, and extremely lovely to be around. Although it could get challenging at times, I really enjoyed the times I spent standing in front of the whiteboard. I also had a ball doing all the random things with students and volunteers of all ages before and after classes – taking photos, playing Uno (which is taken very seriously here), plucking mangoes and guavas from the trees in our backyard, having jump rope competitions and entertaining conversations.

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I’m now counting down the hours that I have before I depart. On the one hand, I can’t wait to go back and spend Eid with my family. On the other hand, a part of me knows that leaving will be a struggle. I am already thinking about the next time I’ll be back. But till then, I will keep the memories of this place close to me, and I will carry the essence of warmth, of hospitality and of acceptance of my newfound friends with me. And in the spirit of IHF, I hope to pass it on to those I meet back home. 

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Playing photographers at IHF Nakuru Center

by Marina and Isaias, Voluntourist, IHF Nakuru

We are Marina and Isaias, and we are from Tarragona, Spain. Marina is a pre-primary teacher, and Isaias is a psychologist and a photographer. We wanted to live this experience as an immersive project. And for the moment, it is. Every day we have been in contact with the people, the culture, the ways of live, the educatio_MG_4975n… and of course, the children of the center. We were told that they would be very excited and happy to see us, and it was like this. They are very funny, open-minded and always ready to gain knowledge. Their curiosity allowed us to reach long and interesting conversations. The IHF collaborators have helped us a lot, even regarding the working style in the center and the interesting places at Nakuru. We appreciate this a lot. In this center there is a lot of work to do: painting, feeding the animals, take care of the farm, cooking… And we are trying to help as much as we can. In this first week, we have seen big groups of flamingos, lakes with geysers, falls about 30 meters or more, the life in the center, the contrast between the center and the suburbs, the taste of goat, we’ve been in a matatu with 23 people (instead of 15), the flora and fauna, the typical games and songs from the children, a nursery school, the changing weather, the “mazungu” (white people) prices, people’s homes, pubs…

In these two weeks we have more experiences and things to explain than in one year in our country.
In this week we feel more comfortable. Our relation with the kids is more solid: they have come with us everywhere, Isaias has taught them about photography, Marina has played games with the girls, we have seen together the Master Chef program from Spain…, it was funny to hear things like “I don’t want this guy to win” or “bah, it’s a bad cooker…”, really we had a lot of fun.
During this week we couldn’t stop thinking about the day when we will leave the center, it’s sad, because we lived too many things. Now when we are writing this, we are thinking that in a few hours we will be too far from our new friends… Not only with the kids, also with the other directors and volunteers of the center… You can always say “oh yes we will be in contact, here you have our facebook/mail/whatever…” but if we want or not, it’s time to say goodbye.CAM02429-1
For the children of the center we organized a special project that involves teaching, psychology and photography: the kids had to learn the emotions, identified the most important ones and, through the photography, try to express them. They were the photographers, and with the help of Tumaini and other people from Spain we could recollect some digital cameras for them. Of course, they were very excited, it’s early to take conclusions of this project, but one of the things that surprised us was their way to express the emotions thanks to other people, I mean, sometimes when we asked them “tell us the emotions that you wanted to represent in this photo” their answer was: “It’s happiness, because the child that I take the photo probably is the first time that sees another children with a camera, for that reason he is happy, so I’m also”. We were impressed.
It’s time to say goodbye while we surprised some pigs are trying to eat our maize. For whoever is reading this: try to live one experience like this, even at the beginning is difficult, one day you will adapt yourself and then the experiences just flows. Thanks for reading us.foto sol ballant

Co-Director reunion in Medan

by Sahat, Co-Director, IHF Medan

Last month, IHF Medan center received some visitors from the co-directors from the Aceh center, Emily and Nazma, as well as a co-director from the Jakarta center, Vladimir. We gathered together to talk and share with each other to build up the relationship among the volunteers. It was Vladimir’s and Nazma’s first times visiting Medan City while Emily has been here several times. It was very worthy for us to meet and greet others from different centers. Since we only know each other through working on email, it was very interesting for all of us because we could meet face-to-face, compare notes and learn from the experiences of every center. We believe that through conversations, we can support and learn something from others’ experiences, especially from those who have the most experience as co-directors.10005838_841756979227440_6307047107481035568_o

As a new volunteer at IHF Medan Center, it was very helpful for me too. I can pick up a lot and take a lot of notes from their experiences, not to mention the experiences of Aditi and Lissa, who have been a very great help to me since I joined the Medan center. They give a big influence to the running of the center. We have a big hope to improve the center, and the children as well.

The intense voluntourist life: Mighty Agung and my first Balinese wedding

by Carlos & Carlos, Voluntourist, IHF Bali

On the night of the 26th of May, we lived through one of the most challenging and thrilling experiences of our entire lives. It is not easy climbing to the top of Bali’s highest mountain, Mount Agung.

We woke up at midnight to get ready for the trekking. We packed some peanuts and water and left the center. When we got there we realized we didn´t really know what we got ourselves into. It was so dark that you couldn’t see your own hand in front of your face, and we had comBlog_Agung_Photo4e woefully unprepared – trainers with no grip, a pair of shorts and a thin jumper. The adventure had just started.

We met the guides at the base camp at the Mother Temple of Besakih, the most important, the largest and holiest temple of Hindu religion in Bali. During the last volcano eruption in 1963, most of the villages in the area were destroyed, but when the lava reached the temple, it splitted into two streams keeping the temple untouched.

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After 4 hours of walking, climbing and crawling up the 10,000ft of Mount Agung, we could barely feel our legs. We had made it to the top. We found ourselves having breakfast by a bonfire with the other groups that had already made it to the top. We waited until 6.20am at the summit of the volcano to see the first ray of sun over the horizon.

It was a very rewarding experience and we felt really accomplished when we reached the top. It was definitely worth all the effort.

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One week after climbing the volcano, all the volunteers were invited to a Hindu wedding in Buitan, the village where the IHF Centre is located. Balinese weddings are very different compared to Western weddings in many aspects, but they are also a big social event where most of the people in the village will attend. It was an amazing opportunity to get to know the locals and interact with them.Blog_Photo4 (1)

The ceremony was held on Monday, but they started celebrating almost one week in advance! Everyone in the village got involved to make sure that everything was ready for the big day. Some of them decorated the house, some of them cooked the food, and some others prepared the celebration after the ceremony.

The groom and the bride wore elaborate gold headpieces and large ear rings, and they both wore make-up during the ceremony day. All the guests in the wedding wore a Sarong, a large piece of cloth that is wrapped around the waist. Sarongs come in all colours, and nothing is supposed to match, so all the volunteers got a Sarong of a different colour!

An abundant dinner was offered, consisting of rice, chicken, vegetables and other traditional Balinese dishes. We all had a great time and it was an unforgettable experience.

I hope you enjoy the photos of the wedding!

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New incorporations to IHF Jakarta

by Louise, Voluntourist, IHF Jakarta

It is my great pleasure to be given the chance of being a volunteer at the Jakarta center. In the first week of our stay here, we adapted ourselves into this new environment with the warm welcome of the staff and children. Before we started to teach children by ourselves, we participated in other staff’s lessons to learn the teaching process. We have delivered some English lessons to younger children. Even though the knowledge we delivered was basic, we made efforts to prepare fIMG_3191or the class. The children here cooperated with us. They are pretty cute and they like to play games with us. The most delightful thing to me was that the children were pleased to get our gifts for them! Apart from English lessons, we also delivered a Chinese culture class last Wednesday. On that day, around fifteen students showed up in our class. We introduced the Forbidden City and our traditional food with pictures and stories. Some younger children could not understand us, so other elder children helped us translate. After that, we played a traditional Chinese game. The children who were punished cooperated to sing songs and answer questions in English. That night, everyone enjoyed their time.With the experience gained from the first week, we will do better in the second week!

by Lulu, Voluntourist, IHF Jakarta

I am glad that I have the chaIMG_3213nce to go to Jakarta to meet these lovely children and these kind people. The local people and co-directors were very nice and they helped us prepare for our lessons in the past week. Some of the children were too shy to speak, others were active and could understand what we talked about. I was happy and excited when we could participate in other staff’s lessons and could deliver several lessons by ourselves. They tried to cooperate with us and made efforts to learn new knowledge. We taught a Chinese culture class on Wednesday, talking about the Forbidden City and traditional Chinese food. And at the end of this class, we played a game with the children. It was really interesting to encourage them to sing a song and to watch them play together. Apart from teaching, we learned the local culture and tried hard to speak some Indonesia words. It was really difficult for us.20150617_170721

The school year ends and we Pass it On!

by Viivi & Topias, Voluntourist, IHF Bali

Last Saturday, we had many happy faces at our center in Buitan. It was time to give certificates to students for their hard work throughout the whole semester.

Before the formalities, it was time to play at the beach. FoIMG_0125ur teams competed in various games such as water balloon catch, broken telephone and leaking cup relay. Games that included water brought some coolness in the hot weather. The kids had a fun time!

After the games, it was time to give certificates to all students who finished their final exams during the last week of semester. The top 3 of every class were given little prizes to bring home.

With brand new certificates in hand, students got some snacks and lemonade. What a great way to end the school year! The center is already focusing on next semester which starts next week.  DSC_0035 (640x427)

by Sahat, Co-Director, IHF Medan

On Saturday, we had the Pass It On Ceremony where all the children and their families come to the center to celebrate their achievement in finishing their final exams and they were very happy and had a big curiosity to know their grade because those who did the best score in the exams would get certificate as well as the special prizes.

There were many kinds of activities and performances that the students presented in that moment such as sang a song, dance performance, reading a poetry, Cinderella performance, game “Tail the Donkey”. We also provided cake to eat togGiving certificate and prizes
ether also that everyone could even brought their own from at home. We ate at the last, and it was very fun and everyone enjoyed it.
First, we informed the winners of each classes and gave prizes to all the children who are the best of each classes. It was included for the first rank until the third rank in every subjects. We continued to show a Tor-Tor dance performance from some children. The dance is so familiar to Batak tribe and also the song. They also wore a special traditional clothe that is Ulos.

Sabina was the first rank from SD 4, she was so proudly to present a poetry reading entitled “DOA UNTUK IBU”. She was so very good in presenting it and full of energetic because she is the best from her class.Singing LET IT GO

We also had a game “Tail the Donkey”. This game was very interesting with two players and they had to close their eyes with something. The players tried to place to pin their donkey tail on the end of the donkey. The winner was the player placed their tail closest to the correct spot on the donkey.

Recently, we had a great performance of a Cinderella story during our Pass It On Ceremony 2015 at Medan center. This performance was made by students from the senior grade and they had pTail the Donkeyracticed many times to make it better for the show time. The students were very happy and fun because they can express themselves to play characters based on the all Cinderella players.

At first, they had some struggles warming up for the Pass it Ceremony, but they never give up because they always support each other and try to be the best they can be. But finally they can give their best. It was fun.

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Shangrong and Zhening, Voluntourist, IHF Jakarta

This is our first week here, and we were lucky to experience the Pass It One ceremony. The children were looking forward to it after taking several exams. We started to decorate our center with colorful balloons in the morning. Other staff were busy preparing various food which was traditional cakes and we were curious about them.

Around one o’clock, the children began to show up, then the ceremony started. Those who preformed well in their studies were given certificates by their teachers and also took photos with them. After this, the games began. There are four games provided, one of them was eating peanuts with chopsticks, during which these children performed pretty well and amazed us. The house was full of laugh and after the games we had a big treat while sharing food with each other. Everyone was happy and we will never forget it.IMG_2504

Time to read!

By Sahat, Co-Director, IHF Medan

This week, all the students are preparing for their final exam at the center. After six months of classes, there are many things they have to learn and review for the material that they have learned in class. The students frequently shared and discussed among themselves and with their teachers at the center.

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They normally carry out a reading activity during their leisure time after finishing their regular class at school. We have many kinds of English books and storybooks that the students read. They love reading. Reading can help to motivate and help them to build a habit so that they can be good readers in the future. By reading English books, the students can learn many words and it can increase their knowledge about world.

This reading activity should be maintained at the center to encourage them to be more active and critical thinkers. By reading books, they can obtain information that is very useful and expand their knowledge as well. Study groups are also frequently held. This is when students can discuss and share with others about what they have read and gained from the books.

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