28th August 2012, by Fiona

Today, the 17th of August, marks a very significant day in Bali and Indonesia, their 67th Independence Day anniversary. It was a day filled with games, laughter, dancing, prizes and fun. Most of the kids arrived earlier than usual and helped us prepare our decorations, blow up balloons, play monopoly and stick fake tattoos to their arms. Each of the volunteers had a station set up with a particular game. I was in charge of snatch the bacon in a nearby rice field, along with Song who organised a funny version of egg and spoon. Renn had a game that involved inserting a nail attached to a string into a bottle, Chloe played molecule and Christin had the old favourite, musical chairs. The day was a great success and ended with a game of balloon dancing and a presentation of the prizes to each class.

Today, also marks the end of my third week in the IHF Bali center, with only one week to go. The kids are adorable and a joy to be around. My classes are varied; from drawing aliens with various amounts of body parts with the little SD2 class, English grammer and Geography with the 12-13year old SD 6 class, to illustrating excel formulas to the oldest senior class. The classes are a lot of fun and I learning a lot too, mostly about Indonesian boy bands and Justin Bieber. I’ve gotten to know the kids very well in the last few weeks and know each of their personalities; it’s going to be sad to leave.

The center is located between two little villages, one Hindu the other Muslim. They are small and very friendly, a nest of activity. There is always someone saying hello to you, chickens running around your feet, woman sewing and having a chat on the side of the road and of course many offers of a taxi. Never a dull moment. The kids in the center get on so well and religion holds no barriers to their friendships. From the center you can hear the Muslim call to pray song out a few times a day and also once you step out on the road you see the Hindu offers laid out every morning. It’s wonderful to see the respect they both have for each other. Bali is a very special place and I’ve learned so much about the culture, the people, the food, the religions, customs and nature.

It has been a wonderful experience, I won’t change any of it.

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