News from Jakarta

I’ve been at the Jakarta centre for more than three weeks now and I’m getting a feel for everything around here now. We’ve had quite a lot going on over the past three weeks. Sylvia left, and we have had three new local volunteers coming in. I’m very glad to have Andrea, who is helping me with the largest and most difficult to handle classes. Arnau has organised a new registration process and we’ve had all the kids come through with their parents to register again. Now we have a lot more information about our students, and we’ll be looking for new students and TEP kids very soon. Sadly Bally had to leave to go to the Medan centre and I’ve lost my walking companion, unless I can convince one of the others to come with me.

We were lucky to have a really great day at Andrea’s pool on Sunday before Bally left. Everyone came and we had so much fun in the water. It was certainly a relief to be in the cool water after roasting all week inside. I was very impressed at how good the kids were at swimming, after being told that most Indonesians can’t really swim properly. The water was over Nia and Adit’s heads but they kept swimming and swimming until they looked like they might drown with exhaustion. The pool was amazing and it’s crazy to see luxury like that in the same city as people who have to support their families on less than a dollar a day.

The classes are being shuffled around a bit, but I’m starting to get used to the kids now, and now they are wearing name tags, so I can almost remember their names. Sort of. I’m starting to get the hang of teaching, but as I go on I also realise how much I don’t know. For instance, I don’t know much about English grammar! So the younger kids are easier in terms of content, but the older kids are much better behaved, and more interested. I hope it’s the same in Australia, when I become a teacher. I think maybe not.

I’m really enjoying the food that Ibu Rini cooks here at the centre. So many different dishes, almost always delicious. There are one or two Indonesian delicacies I’m not too keen on, and occasionally it’s incredibly spicy, but on the whole I’ve enjoyed it far more than when I’ve had to eat out every meal, when I’ve been traveling. A lot less nasi goreng. I’m starting to feel sad about leaving in three weeks!

Tess

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