Journey

This is my last week in Jakarta Center. A month passed so quickly that I didn’t even realize how much Indonesian I have become. This last week witnesses the most noticeable event of the year – Ramadan. And not only Muslims but also foreign volunteers like us do fasting. What a big challenge!

After the first day, we could not believe that we really made it – no eating and drinking for the whole day. But the moment we broke fasting (ate when the Sun goes down), I suddenly realized the meaning of Ramadan. It makes people value their food more, think about others more and be willing to share.

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The next days are not much difficult for us. We only follow the schedule: prepare sahur (breakfast) at 3:30 am, then break fasting (have dinner) at 6 pm during which there is no food or water.

However, what I remember the most afterwards will not be Ramadan, but how one of our student has positively changed. It was an English class as usual. After the Pass-It-On Ceremony, we tried to help kids review what they have learned by interesting activities. And with that class, Maria and I decided to let them play imitation game in which each kid was shown a word or even a sentence, then asked to demonstrate the word only by gestures so that other classmates could guess. At first, a very shy girl could not even illustrate very simple words because she felt embarrassed in front of the 10-student class. However, Maria then decided to give her a more difficult one – “crazy” and asked her to describe. Despite our encouragement, she stood still in front of class for almost ten minutes without doing anything until Maria threatened not to let other students go home until she finished her acting. The little girl then tried to describe the word by lively acts, and luckily one student made a good guess and the shy girl was released to her seat. At the end of the class, Maria announced to give the final sentence which according to her, would be very hard, so she needed a volunteer. And what really struck us was that that little shy girl did volunteer to stand in front of the class and gesture!

 

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We were all taken aback by her confidence but also very happy. It seems insignificant, yet this may change her life later on; and it is such an honour that we somehow play a part in it. There is no need for me to talk more about the noble cause that IHF is following – education. I just want to express my deepest gratitude to my team in IHF and especially the students who have taught me the value of my work.

I would like to use a quote by Mother Theresa as a way to conclude my journey: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” I do really hope that those who are dedicating yourself to voluntary work always feel proud of what you are doing and giving to the world.

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Sincerely,

Nguyen Minh

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