by Sahat, Co-Director, IHF Medan
These two weeks are going to be very busy at the center due to final exams and celebrating Pass it on Ceremony. Lots of activities have been done in the process of learning that we usually do, as the regular classes we have of all the levels. Since we will have Pass it on Ceremony after completing final exams, all the teachers and co-directors have been trying to organize for some activities and programs that we will present to the performance for the Pass it on Ceremony. Students and teachers are encouraged to get take part in the activites, such as dancing, singing, games, reading aloud of poetry and others. At the moment, they had been trying to train and practice for the dancing (Tor-Tor Dance Batak). Everybody, especially teachers, took part with a few of students.
We want to make the Pass it on Ceremony full of great moments, especially when they get their certificates and prizes based on their achievement in class. We also provide a special prize for the winners of each class. The purpose of giving the prize is to motivate and encourage the students to be better than they can do for the next semester. After a long semester, a few schools will have holiday for the fasting month. That means we will organize more for the students’ activities at the center. We should never stop learning.
by Ushmi, Co-Director, IHF Chiang Rai
The weekend before school after a two month holiday was a very hectic one for us here at the Chiang Rai center.
Sunday was definitely not the day of rest for us. We spent almost four full hours fixing hems on uniforms. The evening found the girls running around with masked faces and creams of all sorts, covering spots and healing sun burnt skin. I came to learn about the magic of tamarind in this affair. The boys got their hair cut trim and proper – I was proud yet surprised that they returned with a simple number two haircut; smart and uniformed fit for a good school boy. After dinner a friend and I fixed a big wok of egg-fried rice for the kids’ breakfast and lights were out by 10pm.
At a quarter to 6 the next morning I awoke with Sukanya yelling alarm clock sounds, making sure everyone woke up on time. I had never, in my days at IHF, seen the kids so enthusiastic about going to school. The excitement was almost comparable to that of Christmas day. The school truck is scheduled to arrive at 7am. By half past 6 we were all sitting on the benches outside, ready and waiting. As the kids chatted and chuckled, about what they were expecting from friends and new classes I’m guessing, I sat there observing. It made me smile to see how happy they were to go back to school.
As they drove out of the center gates in the school truck I found my mind drive back to my high school days. I remember my first days back at school. I remember feeling excited to see friends but nervous about the possibility of new faces in a new class. I remember organizing everything I needed for school the night before – something that I was only ever organized for in the first couple of weeks. As I accelerated my mind back into reality I felt somewhat disappointed at how spoilt I behaved when I was that age. I wandered back to the last hour at the center, what I was most proud of our kids at IHF was how well they organized themselves and helped each other without me having to follow them around, having to remind them to take things they need for school and pushing them out of the door so they wouldn’t be late.
It is amazing at how much one can take having parents around for granted. My mother would pack lunch for me, including a bottle of water, in a bag that she left on the dining table. She even had to remind me to take my bag as I ran out of the door for school. I remember getting frustrated sometimes because she forgot to pack a fork in my bag for the potato mayonnaise salad she made fresh that morning for my lunch.
Some people have everything served on a silver plate, some people don’t. But that doesn’t mean that the latter are less fortunate – they are just living in different circumstances. What I have learnt in these past months is that the latter type of people are the happier type of people. For me, perhaps they are more fortunate.
By Ilya, Work-Study, IHF Banda Aceh
It has been a week since I arrived in Banda Aceh, and the past seven days have been eye-opening and heart-warming, to say the least. The local and international volunteers are extremely welcoming and friendly, which makes it so much easier for me to assimilate into this new environment. It is also difficult not to fall in love with the students here instantly. During my two months here, I’ll be teaching the younger ones, and I am thrilled to see how classes turn out. I will also be working with the older ones for a fundraiser. We had a meeting two days ago, and they were incredibly dynamic and enthusiastic about it. We thought of having an ‘International Food Sale’ for a week during Ramadhan, where Muslims fast from dawn till dusk. We have set high standards for ourselves so I hope we will work hard to achieve that!
SD1 kids hard at work
I’ve also been explored a bit beyond Banda Aceh this week. Yesterday, I went to Kuta Melaka in Aceh Besar with Dustin, Jessica and Anggara. We trekked barefooted (except for Anggara, who was wearing his slippers) up the terrain to check out the higher points of the waterfalls. The air and water there was so refreshing and cooling. I think it was my first time not feeling hot and sweaty since I’ve arrived! We also caught the sunset at Lampuuk Beach in Lhok Nga. That was where the tsunami occurred 11 years ago. The coastline has since receded, creating a large bay that allows for surfing activities.
Seven exciting weeks more to go!
Dearest IHF Family,
In order to make our organization’s main webpage more efficient and helpful, we are currently raising funds to update the site. To help, please make a general donation through http://www.ihfonline.org and specify that it is for our website development. We are ever grateful for your contributions.
IHF Fundraising Team
By Clara, Work-Study, IHF Bali
In my first week with IHF in their Bali center, I could notice a stark difference between the children here and the children back at home in Canada.
Here, the children are content with making the best of the resources around them – be it by swimming in the ocean or by playing games with their friends. Where I am from, many children do not even go outside to play anymore and are engrossed in playing by themselves on electronic devices instead.
Stress does not seem to find its way into the children here either. They seem to know that as long as they keep coming to class and keep working hard, they will land on their feet.
It is refreshing and heartwarming to see how the children here find so much happiness in the world, with the little they have.
by Evgenia, Work-Study, IHF Medan
I had enjoyed so much volunteering at IHF Center in Medan, Indonesia. It was a mutual learning experience. I was teaching but at the same time I learnt a lot. The one month with IHF can be described through some lasting memories that I collected.
My role at the Center was “Work- study volunteer”. In fact, I did anything and everything that could be useful. My tasks have ranged from making videos, fundraising, and posting advertisements, to teaching the kids and making art and craft classes. The experience I have gained has been phenomenal and the exposure to the donor community has been more than I could have hoped for. It’s been a marvelous experience!
Living in Medan has been very interesting. I am going to miss my lovely room and the Indonesian culture. I am leaving next week, and it is definitely emotional. I have made some incredible friends– both at work and outside of the center. I will miss eating Nasi Goreng with my Co-directors, Lissa, Sahat, Zoe and Aditi every afternoon and traveling around Sumatra during the weekends. Living in Indonesia is quite an amazing experience. I have had the best time and overall, I wouldn’t have planned it any other way!
The best part about the whole experience was the love and respect that the children would express every time we met. They would always be so excited and eager to learn. They loved the art and craft classes. That paid me off.
While volunteering at IHF, I also saw the challenges that are involved in the management of an NGO. I know now, how hard it is to manage more than 100 kids of varied age groups. Though I would always crib as volunteering required a lot of work, the experience was worth it as it really inspires me to give back to the society. IHF lives up to its name. It gives one the hope that things can be changed and will change.
by Julie, Executive Director, IHF Kenya
After spending several mornings crouched over the Sweet Potatoes I’m starting to feel the ‘benefits’ of a good workout. I guess it is somewhat cheaper than going to the gym. That said, I am so happy with the progress on the farm, which is my favourite experiment in the centre. Having farmed in Nigeria many years ago I’ve had to adapt quite a lot to the different climate and elevation conditions. We are diversifying this year into different varieties of bean but also adding carrots, bunch onions and tomatoes.
There is always so much to do here. We need more volunteers (hint)! The painting project is going well but is so slow as we have four big buildings to do inside and out. The rains are very welcome for the farm but tend to hamper our progress in painting outside. We’ve got a big list of improvements to do for the end of July which are the final recommendations for renewing our registration as a children’s home for the Kenyan government so it’ll be all hands to the work for the next few weeks.
I have to say, having been at IHF for over 2.5 years I’ve never had a dull moment!
First let me introduce myself… My name is Vladimir and I have been in IHF Jakarta for a month now, and sometimes messing up the tasks as a Co-Director. Overall it has been an honour to see that I have been accepted straight away from everyone, especially the kids. Yeah, they do test you, but in a very cute and non-malicious way. So far no one has thrown anything at me or stuck gum on my chair, even though I maybe deserved it a few times. Teaching is definitely fun, once you get it right.
We have a new volunteer from UK. Hello Heidy! She’s 19 years old and very sweet. I am sure that you will hear from her next week.
Time here runs so fast. Almost as fast as a kid on a sugar cane tea, down the stairs, after their last class for the day, thinking that the lady selling more sweets is waiting outside. Incredible thing to see.
Personally, I am having fun, sweating and getting lost. All you need from life, right?!
I am trying to visit a different place every weekend. So far I was lucky to experience a variety from a hеrd of monkeys on the side of the road ( close to Jakarta’s center), to kites looking over their little masters – some children from the rice fields. I wonder what’s next.
By Sarah, Voluntourist, IHF Bali
This week brought with it the arrival of two new voluntourists to IHF, an English Nurse on route through Asia and a very generous Polish Consultant looking to explore new avenues within humanitarian work.
Initiation involved a testing nine hour trek to the summit of Mount Agung alongside new co-director Mariana and Wayan- an experienced local guide who led epic climb in a pair of flip flops…
Meanwhile at IHF the children conduct their beach clean up with enthusiasm, to focus our activities on environmental education as garbage is one of the biggest problem that Indonesia is facing in this moment. After almost an hour under the sun racing to see who will pick up more trash from the beach we follow our Work-Study Carlos for a Spanish vs Indonesian soccer game which the children fully enjoyed.
The week after we took advantage of our new nurse and organized a First Aid training with the kids. It was pretty funny using a volunteer as a canvas to explain to children what they should do in emergency situations.
By Debora, Voluntourist, IHF Nakuru
It’s been an amazing, fun and busy two weeks and a great introduction to life here at Nakuru Centre, Kenya. I’ve arrived during the Easter school holidays and the planting season on the farm. The Centre is right now in the middle of painting the buildings so there’s a lot to do here!
Many of the children have stayed here at the Centre during the school break.
At IHF Nakuru there are more boys than girls ranging in age from 9-18 years old, I was surprised of how challenging is keeping them entertained and engaged . I was initially concerned that not having any teaching background might hinder my ability to interact meaningfully with the kids but thanks to the great IHF Nakuru team: Julie, Rafa, Angus, and Marcel along with several workshops by two outside volunteers, Glen and Kat, it has been pretty easy to be a part of things. Plus I’ve discovered that my Ghana djembe hand drum and camera are some of their favorite things . I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with the kids.
Being able to help with this year’s crops it was great, (this is so important for the Centre’s food program). One of the things the Centre is trying to accomplish this year is to increase the acreage planted and number of the crops so that the farm can provide a varied & sustainable food source. I’ve joined Clinton, Jonathan, and Sammy most mornings to help plant maize (corn), Tasha (beans), and kale thus far. I really love getting outdoors in the sun (and rain), digging in the dirt, listening to Clinton and Jonathan sing traditional songs while we plant. We’ve luckily had a fair amount of rainfall and it’s been great to see everything starting to grow now. I really wish I could be here for the harvest!