By: Ashleigh, Work Study Bali
The first two weeks of my month long stay at IHF Bali happened to be the start of a two week holiday period for the children too. During this time there are numerous ceremonies for the Galungan-Kuningan period, which is when the Hindus celebrate the victory of Dharma over Adharma. So while my start here may not be as per usual – it definitely has been both an interesting and exciting time to be a volunteer!
The last few days have been particularly busy around here as everyone travels back to their family homes to prepare and await Galungan day. On this day the Hindu’s believe that their ancestors’ spirits come down to visit earth. Penjors which are tall bamboo poles decorated with coconut leaves, fruits, flowers and other special items are displayed outside houses as an offering to God and their ancestors – making Buitan and the surrounding towns look very festive.
As a result of these holidays, we have been running special activities at the centre for the children instead of normal classes. These days have been enjoyed by both the students and volunteers! From making playdough to drawing faces on balloons filled with flour and weaving yarn hearts for Valentine’s day – all has been done with great enthusiasm and the learning of new English and Indonesian words along the way. The creative talents of the children here are extraordinary and definitely put my own skills to shame.
Despite the very appropriately named wet season, life in Buitan is festive at the moment and everyone is very friendly and happy as well. Classes will return to normal in the following weeks. I am very much looking forward to the rest of my stay here and being able to spend time with the children and people of Buitan.