Getting to know Jakarta

By SHI Wen, Voluntourist at IHF Jakarta

This is the second week at the IHF Jakarta center. Luckily, we were able to experience the Muslim celebration — Ramadham. OUr friends at the center, such as Rakhma, Ayu and some others, are fasting during this time. During this month (9 July~9 August), almost all Muslims get up at 2:30 am to pray and eat breakfast. This is because, as per tradition, they can only eat when the sun has either not yet risen or has already sunk throughout Ramadan. Having dinner during this period was hilarious! All of us at the Jakarta center sat on the ground and ate together. There was one  beverage bright red in colour. Arnau joked with us that this was elephant blood! But actually, this is was only coconut juice. After dinner, we played games, such as hide-and -seek and UNO. Everyone is very nice and happy every day.
In the first week, the students were very shy because I’m a new teacher and I cannot speak Indonesian. Therefore, they sometimes cannot understand me in class. But by this week, everything had changed. They became very enthusiastic. They can understand my ideas quickly through what I say and my body language. In class, they are also much more active — they are willing to cooperate with me. Besides, I find that children love playing games and sometimes, they will ask for games, which stimulates their interest to knowledge.
Because my friends and I are Chinese, our co-director adds a Mandarin class and a calligraphy class per week especially for us to teach. Students can decide whether the some to class or not and attendance is  non-compulsory. Other volunteers often will study mandarin and calligraphy with the children too.
Two weeks in Jakarta were very meaningful to me. Here, I  not only play with children, but also make good foreign friends. We chat together, work together and laugh together although we come from totally different countries, speak different languages, and have different culture.JAA2


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