by Xie, Voluntourist, IHF Bali
It’s really hard to describe how this trip began, but what I can tell for sure is that after two weeks, there is no way to stop me from missing this incredible place even I’m just about to leave.
It’s a quite straight forward thing that in such pure scenery, all the people here share the same characteristics, kind and optimistic. Children here are so lovely and curious about anything around them.They are born to become amazing people and to be the future of this fascinating island.
Last week, we organized a special activity for children based on environmental education. We hold a special lesson in Indonesian about the importance of recycling plastic garbage and what it means to environment, comparing the life-cycle of the different materials when they are thrown into the sea. We did a small group competition dividing the differents type of garbage that it could be found at the beach next to the center, as there are tons of garbage arriving everyday to the beach. Even if it was so hot and all of us were sweating at the beach the kids were very excited to pick up as much rubbish as they could.
Even for children in such age, they cannot fully understand the meaning of the importance about taking care of the planet, I’m sure that the seeds of protecting the environment are already planted in their little heads. They will become towering trees in the future, that’s the why education is one of the basics in every country.
If you are interested in helping people, especially kids, if you would love a pure natural world, if you are willing to share your future with these ‘seeds’. You should share your life with IHF Bali.
We have an hennery at Chiang Rai center, and around one month ago I had a thought “If we have a hennery, we should have eggs”. We went to the chicken coop and yes, there was 13 little eggs waiting for us. We took 12, leaving one so the hen wouldn’t be traumatized for losing all of them and continue putting eggs
We were very happy and excited “Great, now we have a real farm!”… “Let’s make an omelet!” …”No, I want scrambled eggs”… The omelet won and we used 4 of them, keeping the rest at the fridge. It was delicious!
When the kids came back from the school, we couldn’t wait to tell them the good news. “Hey, come to see, we have eggs” We were very proud of our discover…until we saw Nupon’s face. We understood that we had done something really bad.
“No, no good, chicken inside!” We couldn’t believe him. He explained us that when the egg are small like those, it means that there is a chicken inside, and more important, he reminded us that we had a rooster walking around, and certainly fertilized the eggs.
At this point you should know that Ushmi, one of the directors, is vegetarian. She got very sick and guilty, the rest of us just a bit guilty (the omelet was very delicious…) So, we took the rest of the eggs, now 8, from the fridge, and put them back at the nest of the hennery, hopping they would be able to born.
We waited, and waited. One month later, almost forgotten the chicken’s situation, we started hearing the “tweet-tweet” so went to the chicken coop and saw, for our relief that 6 of them were born…how happy we were. Especially Ushmi, that before was really worried about the karma.
Now we have 6 beautiful little chickens walking around the center with their loving mother taking care of them. It’s true that only half of them made it, and that the ones that stayed at the fridge for a couple of hours have a different color from the one that stayed at the nest…but they are alive and all of them are survivors!
By Laura, Co-director Chiang Rai center.
Recently I found out that I will be leaving Jakarta center soon, as I am moving to Medan IHF center. My feelings are mixed about this right now. Although I have always wanted to visit Sumatra one day, I am feeling sad that I have to leave behind Jakarta. This is not so much because of the city but because of all the wonderful people, friends and students, that the long distance is going to separate me from.
I will really miss everyone here. First of all, Christina, as we arrived at the center together and we haven’t been separated ever since, not even on our weekends! I will miss having fun with the children of the house, Ayu, Ade and Rahma. Especially Rahma and the secret girly talks, games and yoga practice we had together! I will miss Ibu, her wonderful Indonesian cooking and her daughter Ica with that sweet little rounded face of hers! The local volunteers of the center, the warmhearted ‘Hellos’ from our neighbors and most of all, I will miss all my lovely students! I wish that you will give and receive the same or even more love and knowledge from your next teacher.
Thank you all so much for giving and sharing with me so many unique moments and experiences! I will always have the sweetest memories of all of you`:)
by Sahat, Co-Director, IHF Medan
Last week, we had a great idea to clean the center with all the volunteers. IHF Medan Center is quite big and large. In front of the center there is a big tree and some bamboos so the leaves of those trees always fall and make the land become filthy. Even the pamphlet of IHF board has been hiding by the branches of the trees and the fill in a ditch.
In our center we have many students from different levels; starting from SD 1, around 5 years old until Seniors. We are trying to educate them to not throw the rubbish on the floor. We are also trying not only to educate the students in knowledge and English but also in discipline for a better life. We believe that teaching is sharing and showing the teachers knowledge, however the most important thing is how to give a moral lesson to the children and have them in high moral standard.
By Carlos, Work-Study, IHF Bali
I arrived to Bali Center almost one month ago very nervous and excited about this new experience that I was facing. It was my first time out of Europe so everything seemed new to me.
I wanted to enjoy this experience as much as possible, meeting Indonesian people and culture, learning Indonesian language and trying the delicious Indonesian food. That’s why I started asking to some of the volunteers who speak the language how to say the things in Indonesian. Of course, the most important word in all languages is thank you, so the first word my partners told me was “nasi goreng” which means thank you, or that’s what I though.
My second day in Bali we all went together to have lunch in a restaurant, when the waiter brought my drink, I told him “nasi goreng”, to be as much polite as possible and he look at me confused and I repeated “nasi goreng” in case he didn’t hear my thank you.
After 30 minutes the same waiter came to our table with a plate of fried rice for me I couldn’t understand what was happening but the rest of the volunteers were laughing so much. I didn’t understand the situation, why did he bring me fried rice? I wasn’t really hungry. When my friends could stop laughing they explained to me that Nasi Goreng, is a typical Indonesian dish basically made by fried rice mix with vegetables and eggs, actually the right word to say thanks in Indonesian is “terima kasih”.
It was a little joke for the noob, which turned into a really funny day and at the same time that I tasted some typical Indonesian food I learnt my two first Indonesian words easily, I will never forget them!! Nasi Goreng for this unforgettable day!!
by Martina, Voluntourist, IHF Nakuru
We have been quiet busy this week, as we have started to paint! All buildings need to be painted, inside and outside.
We had lot of fun doing it! Some of the eldest guys were helping us, of them was Kapedo. He has been entertaining us the entire time by explaining his plans for the future: he wants to become next president of Kenya! He proposed me to stay here as longer as I could, in order to become a Kenyan citizen and vote for him! Such a smart guy!!!
This week I have travelled during my day off and when I got back to the center, small girls and Jonathan (one of the directors, he in a Kenyan native) were waiting for me and they said they have missed me!! It’s unbelievable how these people have got close to me within such a short period..
Most of these kids are so grateful and every day shows their appreciation about our hard work, this is helping and motivating us a lot!
by Christina, Co-Director, IHF Jakarta
A student in my SMA (high school) class was telling me about a special dish her mother made for dinner that day. I used this opportunity to have a small, impromptu discussion about what everyone’s favourite foods were. One of the students suggested that we have dinner together the next class. Everyone agreed to bring something.
I love these kind of spontaneous events and was really excited to try some new foods. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the names of everything we ate, but there was some meat cooked in coconut, fish steamed in banana leaves, fried noodles, vegetables with peanut sauce and fresh coconut water. Some of the foods were new to me, but I loved them all. As a special treat, I bought durian ice cream for all the students. It is a favorite among kids here, but not a flavor easily acquired by my Western taste buds. If you are not familiar with durian, it is a giant spiky fruit that smells, well, I’m too polite to say what it smells like, but it doesn’t smell nice. The fruit itself is sweet and creamy and makes a nice desert and the kids were really excited to eat it. I gave it another go myself and didn’t find it as bad as the first time. Maybe it is growing on me after all!
by Aditi, Co-Director, IHF Medan
by Dustin, Co-Director, IHF Aceh
A week ago I returned from Penang, via Medan. It was great to visit Lissa, Aditi, and the rest of the IHF Medan Family once again. Penang’s a wonderful place – first time in Malaysia, but I was most excited about securing my new visa, allowing me to continue my volunteer work with IHF. Since the trip marked the halfway point for my year here in Aceh, it was a great chance to reflect upon all I’ve learned and loved thus far, and the experiences that still await me. Timea gave a lot to this Center and this organization. Her departure left many responsibilities which Emily and me must now fill. I miss her presence, but am excited for the challenge and opportunity for growth this presents.
Emily left for her much-deserved two week break shortly after I came back, making it my turn to entertain the ghosts of the empty house with my solo dance acts. The solitude wasn’t quite as new to me as it was to Emily – I had held down the fort previously when Emily and Timea travelled together, and always sought seclusion to complete my online tasks or workout. Nonetheless, the freedom of being on my own, combined with the fresh feeling of starting the second half of my year here, led to an attitude of experimentation. From puppets in the classroom to keep the kiddos excited, to a dab of chlorine in the bathroom basin to keep the mosquitos from breeding, to finally using whatsapp to communicate with teachers so they don’t need pulsa – I felt myself getting better at life each day. Now, if I could remember to stop leaving my camera out for the kids to steal and take selfies!
Something that’s been giving me quite a bit of inspiration lately is an online leadership course I’ve been taking through Coursera. A few days ago, in order to practice motivation through positive visioning, I had to make a list of 27 things I wish to accomplish in my lifetime – long enough to go from the basic to the detailed. After sharing with my friends, I was amazed at how much the idea caught on, with everyone eager to share lists of their own. It just so happened SD 4 is currently learning Future Tense, and so I thought, “What better way for them to practice than to have them make a list of future goals for themselves!?”
Reducing the assignment to fifteen dreams, and sharing a child-appropriate list of my own, I put them to work writing what they will be, do, or have in the future. Despite the language barrier, and the cultural differences, the results were very similar to what I would expect fourth-graders in America to write – from the innocent (“I will have many friends”) to the vain (“I will have plentiful houses”), and from the ambitious (“I will play football for Real Madrid”) to the cop-out (“I will clean” – I told her she could reach that goal right after class). Although some, of course, were more awkwardly worded (“I will have young”). While I still have much to do to help them develop their language skills in order to reach many of these goals, it was rewarding to see how much they enjoyed envisioning their ideal selves.