Getting to know the neighbourhood: The Hindu Street

by Elisa, Voluntourist, IHF Bali

After finding my place in the center and gaining some consciousness of the surroundings of the village, I decided to go around the neighborhood where IHF Bali is located. There are two main streets in Buitan eachd of them marked by their religion: the Hindu and the Muslim street.

I decided to start a research about the way of life of the Hindu families of the village and how IHF is helping them, so that. Another IHF volunteer, Carlos, helped me to introduce myself to the families. He has been already living here for 5 months, and he is so close to the community.

This is how I discover Yaya’s house and her life. Yaya is a 8 year- old student from Buitan who attends the center regularly. As soon as Yaya’s mother, Putu (which is the name used for the first-born in Balinese Hindu families) saw us, she invited us to come in. I was impressed about Yaya’s house because her whole family lives there: grandparents, siblings, uncles.. At first, I wondered how it would be possible to get some words out of the conversation from the local people, but the reality is that some of them are able to maintain basic conversations in English. That is because some of them realized long time ago the importance of English language in Indonesia, particularly in Bali. Truly, working for the tourism sector in Bali is regarded as the best of the options here and the most profitable way of making a living. That is why IHF can play such an important role in children lives.

We reached Yaya’s house and we took our shoes off as we got inside as a domestic ritual before entering in any Hindu house, and as a way to honor the Gods (don’t forget we can find a temple in every Hindu house).c

The first I asked Yaya’s mother was about what she thought about IHF center, if she considered it more like an educational or rather an entertaining center. She was absolutely aware of the contribution of the center to the English knowledge of Yaya. She thinks that the good thing is that the kids are learning while they are having fun, and the fact that they are spending time with volunteers from all around the world it helps to raise their English level. The children in Bali start English Lessons at regular school at the age of 9-10 years old. However, Yaya is only 8 years old and she already has a basic knowledge of the language. How advantageous sounds that, right?

Her mother is so proud of Yaya’s learning at the IHF foundation and so aware of the importance of English. She sees how she is learning every day, “if you speak English you can get a better job. English a4and computer are so important nowadays” she said. It seems to be a plus, given the high cost of the university here. “It is so difficult to join the university here; you need to save lots of money for years (…). Also, there are no helps or grants provided by the government no matter how intelligent the student is”.

When I was a child I wanted to become an astronaut (surely because of the cartoons I used to watch at that time). What would Yaya like to become when she grows up?-I asked Yaya’s mother. “Well, she would like to work in a spa, give some massage, like her aunt”-she replied me. “But I would like her to get out of Bali, get a job with computers”. I really hope Yaya will attend the university because she has great capacities. Fortunately, her mother is aware of the English and she work as cooking instructor. Also, her father is a taxi driver, so they encourage her daughter to learn English and attend the center regularly. However, there are other children whose parents just do not feel that motivated to do so, or maybe they are just not aware enough. Maybe they don’t have time to control their children´s progress, so I can tell Yaya is a fortunate girl.


Later that, I decided to get a massage a few meters away from Yaya’s house so I could clear my mind up. There are two mothers of our students working there. After the pleasant hour of massage I asked them about their vision of the center. “My daughter goes everyday there, also when she does not have class, so that she can speak English with the volunteers there”- Kadek’s (Yaya’s classmate in SD2) mother told me. What is the best job you can dream of here? I was curious to know. “Everybody here wants to work for the government, but that is not easy you need to have plenty of money. Apart from that (and maybe more a realistic thing), everyone wants to become supervisor in a hotel in Kuta (the most touristic place in the island).

After the conversations with the families I got some things clear: the importance of English to get a better job and increase the quality of life. But also the great impact and help that this type of foundations can have on the communities.


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