By Fiona, Work-Study Volunteer at IHF Bali center
I’m just finishing my second week here at the Bali center and things are falling into place; the center is filled with students shouting Ka (Teacher)! As well as continuing our classes, Emelie and I cycled to local villages to raise awareness of IHF. The schools have just returned from their ‘Winter’ break (average ‘Winter’ temperature being about 30 degrees) and so we decided to visit schools in the area.
We found the youngest classes had already gone home when we arrived around 9am – apparently they can start as early as 6am. I was amazed. Scottish students (myself included) starting class at that hour would be a feat of impossible proportions. Getting to see village schools was great, and something which most people visiting the island would not get a chance to do. I was surprised by how beautiful all the schools were; there were carved statues and colourful features with paved paths through their gardens. Additionally, the cycle route was beautiful, with the tropical and vegetated expanse only punctuated by occasional living arrangements and temples.
This week also brought around our first experience of Balinese public transport. Chelsea and I took the bemo into Candidasa, the local village. Bemos are shuttle buses, but are unmarked. With no designated bus stops, we only knew that a bemo would be brightly colored. After a few false starts, we managed to flag one down and travel into town. It’s been good to mix with the locals, who are always keen to chat to us despite our minimal grasp on Indonesian. Hopefully by the end of our time here we will have improved.
After a spell at the Bali center, two of our volunteers left yesterday – for the first time the girls now outweigh the boys! The center will definitely be a quieter place without them, but there are enough students to keep us all entertained and occupied before the arrival of more volunteers in a few weeks time.