by Jie & Quan, Voluntourists, IHF Aceh
When I searched the term “Banda Aceh” on the Internet for the first time, almost entirely, the results showed the dark sides of Aceh, as a city that once suffered a horrible tsunami in 2004. Besides that, as it was the first thing I got to know about this place as well, the nervousness emerged increasingly.
However, when I finally arrived in Aceh, and after a week staying here, I do not feel nervous anymore. The native people are extremely friendly. For example, when we are walking on the street, they would ask us curiously where we come from. Also, the local volunteers are completely willing to take us to explore the city, find some native delicacy, throw a BBQ party or have a picnic on the beach. Generally, I cannot find any unsafe factors at all.
All the volunteers in the Center, not only foreign but also local, are so enthusiastic; especially Jessica, the Co-Director of the IHF Aceh Center, who have made a lot of contributions to the Center and in return, she also enjoys prestigious fame around the village. All the students in the Center are quite adorable, even though some of them are naughty sometimes, they are still obedient, and their eyes convey purity and innocence.
Moreover, I have to say that all the kinds of food available in Aceh are of excellent quality and have a reasonable price. The spicy food, which the local volunteers recommended to us, and the coconut juice, which costs only 2.5 RMB, are really worth to eat.
Finally, we had the ‘Pass it On’ ceremony on Thursday. Many local volunteers came to help and when students started showing up, they were all very excited. We played with the kids, ate some tasty food and congratulated the students with certificates. It was great to see the smiles on their faces. It is really worth it to be here as a volunteer and to become one of the IHF family members.