First Three Weeks at Jakarta IHF

By Helene, Co-Director Jakarta IHF

My name is Helene and I’m a new volunteer at the Jakarta Center. I come from France and I’ve been living in Asia for the last six years. I arrived three weeks ago and since then, life at the center and work with IHF have been constantly amazing me.

I arrived at the end of August, after a crazy adventure. I was delayed by one day as I was stuck in Taiwan by a typhoon. It made me very worried of making a bad first impression on my IHF colleagues but they were very understanding and supportive and that helped me relax to enjoy that last day of unexpected holiday.

When I finally reached Jakarta, a big surprise awaited me. There had been a huge donation of diverse tools such as saws, screwdrivers and pliers by a Hollywood movie shooting (we are all looking forward to seeing that movie on screen and find out where do all these come from…).

20130902_17565920130902_175830 Moreover, 5 volunteers were leaving at the same time, rendering the house suddenly very quiet. The first days were spent classifying the tools and trying to arrange it in a way that it wouldn’t bother the functioning of the center. I felt like I really directly got into the loop and it was good because it also helped me adapting and integrating myself in this big family.

20130828_173906Teaching really scared me, as I have very little experience in that domain, and my experiences are of private tutoring, something really different with the teaching we do here. But thanks to the advices of Tess and Karolina, the great directors of the centre, I’m slowly gaining confidence and learning how to handle the kids. They are very cute and it’s so satisfying when you see they have learnt something in your class. During these three weeks, I also got the opportunity to visit the near-by slums and it was heart-breaking to see children playing in the trash. It gave me even more motivation than I had already to pass the knowledge on, as IHF motto says. When I see the children playing guitar on the road, begging for money and our children studying at the center, I really feel that we are giving them a chance for a better future.

Now, it’s been three weeks. I’m slowly getting to know the center’s children, and used to all the little habits of Indonesian culture, such as eating with hands, showering with bucket, saying hi with a hand on your heart… I had been to Indonesia before, but it’s different when you have to do in holidays and daily life. Tuesday, our amazing co-director Tess will be leaving. Therefore, this week, we went to karaoke and to a water park. We sang so much and danced all together. We then ride water slides, running around with tires! It was a lot of fun, and I’m really looking forward to doing more of these activities. After her departure, a big empty space will be left. I hope we will manage to go on and to keep the team, the center and the organization developing and improving the lives of the Jakarta impoverished children.

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