How Banda Aceh welcomed me

By Ilya, Work-Study, IHF Banda Aceh

It has been a week since I arrived in Banda Aceh, and the past seven days have been eye-opening and heart-warming, to say the least. The local and international volunteers are extremely welcoming and friendly, which makes it so much easier for me to assimilate into this new environment. It is also difficult not to fall in love with the students here instantly. During my two months here, I’ll be teaching the younger ones, and I am thrilled to see how classes turn out. I will also be working with the older ones for a fundraiser. We had a meeting two days ago, and they were incredibly dynamic and enthusiastic about it. We thought of having an ‘International Food Sale’ for a week during Ramadhan, where Muslims fast from dawn till dusk. We have set high standards for ourselves so I hope we will work hard to achieve that!

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SD1 kids hard at work
I’ve also been explored a bit beyond Banda Aceh this week. Yesterday, I went to Kuta Melaka in Aceh Besar with Dustin, Jessica and Anggara. We trekked barefooted (except for Anggara, who was wearing his slippers) up the terrain to check out the higher points of the waterfalls. The air and water there was so refreshing and cooling. I think it was my first time not feeling hot and sweaty since I’ve arrived! We also caught the sunset at Lampuuk Beach in Lhok Nga. That was where the tsunami occurred 11 years ago. The coastline has since receded, creating a large bay that allows for surfing activities.aceh2

Seven exciting weeks more to go!

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