19th June 2012, by Julia

One week has now past since I arrived to the Jakarta centre, after an extremely long journey from London. I soon settled into life at the centre that now feels like home, well apart from the fact that it is about 30 degrees warmer than England.

Before arriving at the centre I found myself getting quite nervous over the prospect of teaching as this is something I have never done before; however this feeling soon disappeared after meeting the children with their lively, kind spirits. This week I have taught English to different age ranges of children, from basic to advanced secondary school children. It is sometimes quite challenging to explain the concepts that are natural to me but when a child understands what you are explaining you get a real sense of satisfaction.

In the spirit of indulging in the Indonesian culture I have tried different foods including Salak (also known as the snake fruit), a fruit native to Indonesia which was very tasty. I also stumbled upon a spicy sauce (condiment), thinking it would be similar to one that I tried at home I mixed a considerable amount into my food only to discover that it was much hotter than anything I have ever tasted. Needless to say, I am now less generous with my spoonfuls of this spicy condiment.

In addition to meeting the children I have made a four-legged friend, I have grown quite accustomed to the little ginger cat who now occasionally takes it upon herself to sit on my lap. It seems no matter where in the world I travel to I’ll always find an animal to befriend.

Our day off this week was spent exploring the city centre of Jakarta with two of the centre children; Aye, Nia; the centre mum, Ibu Rini & the other volunteers, Sue and Yerik. It was quite a fascinating and cultural experience but the traffic in Jakarta is like nothing I have ever experienced before, very hectic. Our journey started at the national monument which symbolises Indonesia’s fight for independence; through the national history museum (placed underneath the monument) I was able to gain an interesting insight into the history of Indonesia. We then moved on to the Istiqlal Mosque, which is the largest mosque in South-East Asia; 4th biggest in the world. We got a private tour allowing us to discover interesting facts about the building. I really enjoyed our outing although it also proved to be quite exhausting with many of us taking a nap after arriving back at the centre.


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