29th February, by Shanshan

It seems that I could still feel the hot tropical breeze from the night when Shinta and Agus picked me up from the airport, but I am leaving this lovely center in one day. I really enjoy my stay in the centre: the reflection of coconut trees and blue sky in the mirror of the bathroom, frogs croaking in rice field at night, the garden under reddening evening cloud, and so much more. Of all these enjoyable moments, the most unforgettable is the laugh and happiness that fill the whole centre when kids come at noon. Some of them like to come even one hour before the class, so that they can read the English books (they love books with many drawings) and play card games in which they can learn number and color while having fun (the UNO game, for example). Once I showed them the Angry Bird game in my itouch, and they love it.

These kids are adorable and active in classes. I taught kids from grade 1, 2, 4, 5, and senior classes. At first it took me one or two classes to find the right level of English levels to teach. Watching other volunteers teaching really helped. Young kids from grade 1 and 2 are amazingly good at apprehending the vocabulary by watching drawings, pictures, videos and actions. Elder kids prefer a translation in Indonesian, and I brought an English-Indonesian dictionary to class. What is most impressive is how fast they can learn by participating in the class activities. For example, in one class I let them do the color-filling on different vehicles, and they learn the sentence “I color/paint the vehicle with different colors”. I was impressed by their sense of color combination. In the next class, I taught them traffic rules (Go, stop, turn etc.), and let them do the role play game in which they acted as the vehicles they painted in the previous class. Little “vehicles” loved this game and the class became a play room. I was glad that I put this game in the last section of the class. In addition, when they were separated into teams and competed with other teams, everyone was paying attention to the content of class and they learned team work and obtained a better sense of what I taught.

After classes, sometimes I walked around in the nearby villages, or jogged on the beach beside the centre. Many people I met are friendly and said Hi/Hello to me with a big smile. They can barely speak English but their smiles grew bigger when I told them that I worked at “YaYa Sen” (Indonesian name of the center). It is very easy to make friends with Balinese people. They have a warm and generous attitude for guests/visitors, which is quite unique and impressive. Eni, the Math teacher in the center, brought us to her home at dusk one day and it happened that her grandpa was practicing a local bamboo instrument. The music was a charisma that washed away the tiredness of the day.

The past two weeks at IHF BALI centre is quite a memorable and enjoyable period in my life. The smile on children’s face has a magical power that makes me relax and happy. I believe that the power is bestowed by this lovely place, BALI.

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