After exams… Pass it On!

by Shanshan and Eric, Voluntourist, IHF Bali

We were so lucky to start our volunteering at IHF Bali with the Pass It On Ceremony; a party for the kids to reward their efforts after the Midterm Exams. The ceremony was divided into three parts. At the beginning, we played some games with the children such as Blind Test, Unlock the Circle and the Scarf Game which was really fun and exciting!2015-01-26 13.29.4820150126_132028

After the games, we had the ceremony to reward the students who performed outstanding in the Midterm examination. The children were very nervious because all of them wanted to get the Top Students Prizes. Anyways, we were so proud of every one, because even those who didn’t get the best grades of the class did a very good job. Before going home we finish the ceremony with some snacks and drinks


Even though it always rained this week, most of the children still attended the class on time. On Saturday, as we were a lot of volunteers from China at IHF Bali Center we decided to organize a Chinese Day with the kids. We put the attendance sheet five days before the Special Project and promoted it at the end of every class. On Saturday, even if the weather was not good, there were still many students here. Firstly, Yang, Yilin and Jing taught them some Chinese useful expressions. Secondly, we showed the kids how to make Chinese traditional boats with colorful origami papers. At last, we danced with them a Chinese popular song called You Are My Little Apple.


As the lyrics in the song, these kids are “my little apples and I cannot love them more!”.


Pass it On Ceremony at IHF Jakarta!

by Zoe, Co-Director, IHF Jakarta

After a week of hard work for both teachers and students, having the Midterm tests at the IHF Jakarta center, the Pass it On ceremony felt like a big reward for everybody.jjjjjjjjjjj

On that day, our best students were recognized and given certificates and special presents. At the same time the efforts of all the students in general were rewarded not only with little gifts bujjjjt also with one of the most fun days of the school year.

Four different activities were taking place, at the same time, in four different rooms of the center. In the one class the kids were playing ‘musical chairs’. We all got to dance and sing along to the sounds of popular English and Indonesian songs. In the living room, we played the ‘Monkey’ game. Everybody had to work together in order to get as many plastic monkeys off the floor, with the help of many ropes attached to each other. In another class, the kids had to solve big ‘Human Knots’ by untangling their holding hands. Finally, in the garden we played with colorful balloons, filled with water. It was another hot day in Jakarta so everybody was looking forward to that game!




In the end, we all gathered together, sat on the floor next to each other and enjoyed the delicious snacks that Ibu prepared for us.


Celebrating the Pass it On Ceremony!

by Chloe, Voluntourist, IHF Banda Aceh

On Sunday we had the Pass It On ceremony where all the children and their families came to celebrate finishing their exams, those who did the best in their exams won special prizes and everyone else played games and ate cake! It was a lot of fun.111

The children ha11d sack and three legged races as well as playing a game of ‘eat the Krupuk’ which was extremely entertaining. It’s a pretty self-explanatory game.

I celebrated my birthday this week and am hugely thankful that it was not a traditional Indonesian affair with eggs and flour being thrown at me!

I have also discovered Roti Bakar this week, a traditional Indonesian street food with bread, cheese, condensed milk and a LOT of butter which I now love and has completely made up for all the spicy food my English taste buds are not used to.

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On Saturday we drove out to the jungle and I got to ride an elephant! They were cute but a lot bigger in person. The tours were run by a small conservation group who rescue the elephants from ivory poachers. It was very exciting but a little bit scary; I have learnt that an elephant is a lot less stable than a horse and a lot more prone to stopping mid trek for a snack on some bushes.


Religious Kenya

by Valeria, Co-Director, IHF Nakuru

Kenya is full of contradictions: still widespread practices of polygyny in many Kenyan tribes perfectly well co-exist with Christian puritanism. Western Christian religion somehow found a fruitful soil in the minds of Kenyan citizens. The quantity of churches competes only with quantity of schools in the country.

(Despite the belief that there are not enough schools for children to attend, there are plenty of them.)

In January Nakuru became the center of the African religious world. The town hosted the conference of the prophet of God Dr. Owuor who was supposed to heal anyone who asks for it. Nakuru was packed with people from all around the country and neighbor Uganda’s and Tanzania’s citizens who came to seek for miracles: someone wished for money to provide for their families, most of them just wanted to be healed. The day this self-named prophet came to town thousands of people stood alongside the road leading to the hotel Merica where the guy was staying. The road was washed with soap and water, people fought for the place to have a chance to see the prophet coming.002

Kaptembwo area where our center is located became the place for gathering. The event took place on a football field where people spent days and nights singing and praying without sleep for 3 days. The area next to our buildings was filled with school buses that brought all the God fearing people. There were more than thousand buses. How many people? Millions. Some of them brought their sick relatives from hospitals.

Despite the fact that the prophet’s delegation drives expensive cars, books the whole hotel for themselves, the most expensive hotel in town where one night is more than $300 in a country where there is no water in some far regions. Despite the fact that there were no miracles. Despite the fact that there were six deaths in the crowd of people who couldn’t bare the hotness, noise and jostle. Despite all these, people don’t raise reasonable doubts or ask any questions, they just believe. Well… I guess when you have nothing; you have to believe in something.

Festival at Chiang Rai Airport!

by Ushmi, Co-director, IHF Chiang Rai Center

Chiang Rai is the place to be… now! The province’s biggest festival of the year has begun and crowds have made their way from far and wide to enjoy an event even grander than New Year’s- at least it looks like it.

Chiang Rai’s old airport has been the venue for this enormous affair since many years ago. The runway is prepared from end to end with stalls selling all sorts including fish, furniture, electronics, gold and silver jewelry (only 50Baht!), Thai massages and fortunetelling. Stages are hoisted for shows such as traditional Thai dancing, singing and Thai pop concerts by different bands each night. It really is an incredible experience, not only for the locals but perhaps more so for us fah langs (foreigners).

Daytime is a more family oriented atmIMG_1462osphere. As evening approaches the lights turn on as if to introduce and flaunt the vivacity of the celebrations. The laser lights shooting across the sky guide you to the venue and as you enter, you begin to feel the booming sounds, from sellers and musicians, within you. The flamboyance excels in making you a part of the fete.

After a long day’s work at the centre, we decided to take a break and see for ourselves what this festival craze was all about. The IHF centre is about a ten minute walk from the old airport. But for a distance almost a quarter of that from home to the old airport, it took us at least one hour to walk down one side of half of its runway.

I felt genuine excitement by the range of items on sale, and especially by the cheapness of the prices. From Ray Ban sunglasses to vintage posters of the King, name it and you were sure to find it.IMG_1453

I felt like I was transported into another world where all there is to life is pure joy. Some may not take well to large crowds, but pushing that to the back of your mind, the experience was a constant adventure. I realized this when we came across a stall selling all sorts of fried insects. The mood of the moment gave me the courage to buy a fried locust- the largest locust I have seen in my life. It took me two minutes to bring myself to bite into it. Chewy, crispy and salty but delightful! Of course you get the odd leg or two trapped in between your teeth, reminding you just what it was you were crazy enough to eat.

Thailand is a country bursting with a continuous display of life-lessons. Whether it’s a festival, a trip to the grocery store or your next-door neighbor, every night I go to sleep feeling a little wiser and always happy.


Stunning Aceh!

by Chloe,  Voluntourist, IHF Banda Aceh

My first impressions of Banda Aceh were of the beautiful countryside from the side of a Becak and in the 2 weeks that I’ve been here I’ve been lucky enough to explore more and   more of aceh1this unique and stunning place.

We took a motorbike tour of the city with some lovely local volunteers from the centre, hitting up all the classic tourist spots including the tsunami museum and a traditional Acehnese house. Afterwards we stopped to try an Indonesian drink filled with many strange un-identifiable ingredients. It was definitely interesting! But I probably won’t be buying another anytime soon.

Later that daythis not so innocent monkey tried to steal my i-pod when I took his picture. Don’t trust cute-looking monkeys in Aceh!!!


This week I marked one of my biggest achievements yet, managing to successfully teach an English class to some mischievous 8 year olds! Sadly it also marks an embarrassingly low point in my life; being repeatedly crushed in Connect 4 for an hour by an adorable 10 year old girl who after a certain point was trying her best to let me win. We also had the end of semester exams so the centre has been crazy busy! Although if the children’s’ skill at Connect 4 is anything to go by they’ve aced them all.

We ended the week with pizza and a bonfire at the beach!


Bless this food!

by Dongbin, Co-director, IHF Chiang Rai

It has always been a pleasure to cook for everyone at the center. From the day that I arrived I started cooking for the children and colleagues, of course image3with the help of some of them as well! I cannot say I am a Master Chef, but I can say that my Chinese food  it’s good enough to please everybody.

We visit the market in the morning to buy fresh vegetables and meat according to a wish list made by the children. The market is big and there is many people from the tribal hills who comes to sell the most fresh and organic products. But we have our one stall where always buy from. The owners, a young, polite and kind lady and her humorous husband, already know what the children like and laugh when we bring shopping lists written in Thai. They are always kind enough to explain our shopping list and even sometimes they add some free vegetables that they know the children will enjoy.

When we start preparing the food, the children will always come over to give me a hand. We got to know each other quicker throimage5ugh cooking together. I can sense their appreciation when they wash up afterwards without being asked to.

I always enjoy the weekends when everyone is at the center, cleaning our home together, watching films or even just sitting around the table in the verandah chatting and laughing. Sometimes it’s us, directors and volunteers, sitting with the kids, and even just watching the children having fun chatting with each other makes me happy.

“The gentle art of gastronomy is a friendly one. It hurdles the language barrier, makes friends among civilized people, and warms the heart.” Samuel Chamberlain 

Let love pass it on!

by Tianyi, Voluntourist, IHF Bali

I am a two-week volunteer in IHF Bali center and this is my fist time volunteering abroad. When I arrived at the center, I was shocked by the wonderful natural view and the sea. After three days, I had my first class at the center with other volunteers. Kids here are all full of passion and willing to acquire knowledge. Although we were tired after class, we felt successful due to the knowledge and love we passed to the kids.


There was a mid-term exam this week and all the kids tried their best to answr the paper, even the most difficult questions. Everyone knew that “no cheating” is the most important things in the exam. During the exam, some words were new for them, so we translated it into Indonesian and told them. As a foreigner, I learned some simple Indonesian words.


Despite the fact that I am a teacher here, the kids taught me a lot during these two weeks. I learned about the traditional ceremonies, what local people would eat and what they would do during the ceremony. In addition, I learnt the students full Indonesian names which are super long and amazing! I felt like I was a native Balinese in these two weeks, respecting their culture and getting used to the environment. If I have a chance, back home I would like to tell my friends about this experience and recommend them to do something like this, let love to pass it on and bring happiness these wonderful kids!bali8

Everything ready for Pass it On!

by Aditi, Co-Director, IHF Medan

It was an eventful week at the center. We had UNNC volunteers complete their two weeks of stay. Midterm exams for all the classes were also held during the week. Finally the wee20150120_124523k culminated with Pass it On ceremony, which was held to recognize all the rank holders and to encourage and appreciate the effort of all the children.

All the children were busy writing their exams the entire week. Teachers along with the help of the UNNC volunteers ensured that the exams went on smoothly. After the completion of the exams, papers were graded by the respective class teachers 20150122_170459and a list of rank holders for all the classes was prepared. Certificates for these children were printed. Prizes for the rank holders and gifts for all the children were also bought in preparation of the ceremony. Snacks & refreshments were arranged for the ceremony too. Then it came the wrapping of gifts and prizes for the children. UNNC volunteers took charge of this and they also made posters for the ceremony.

UNNC volunteers left after the completion of their two week long stay in Medan. They contributed in the center activities and helped children learn a new language. The Chinese lessons were a hit with the children and they looked forward to classes every day. They built a good rapport with everyone at the center and we enjoyed their stay. With heavy hearts we bid goodbye to each other hoping to meet again.


Pass it On ceremony was held on 24th January. Ceremony began at 8 in the evening. There was an air of excitement amongst children and teachers. The center was filled with sounds of laughter and sights of children playing around. Games were organized for the children where they were asked questions related to several fields to test their knowledge. Several rounds were held and the winners were awarded prizes. After this, certificates and awards were handed over to rank holders of all the classes followed by snacks and refreshments. The ceremony was carried out smoothly and every person contributed in its success.


One week at IHF Banda Aceh

by Kai-Kai and Stina, Voluntourist, IHF Banda Aceh

The first day I arrived Banda Aceh was Saturday and I reached the IHF centre in the afternoon. There were many children in the centre and they were quite cute. We played football in the garden they were very excited. This was really a memorable experience for me.

On Monday, we watched how the teachers taught English to the children. The form of the class is very interesting and we learned some teaching skills. IACEH 2n the evening, we went to the shopping mall. We tried the local food such as coconuts, and experienced a quite different shopping experience in the local supermarket.

On Tuesday, we made some posters using oil pastels, this is really an interesting task and it was very fun.
On Wednesday, we had a very interesting art class. First, we painted pictures on papers as examples and then we used these pictures to show children how to paint. Then children painted by themselves and we gave them some help.

On Thursday, we started to teach the children. We taught aACEH3djectives and adverbs to the children with the co-director in the centre. It is the first time for us to teach children and it was a very memorable experience. In the evening, we went out to buy some durians. On the way, we saw a rainbow in the sky and it was very beautiful. We bought a durian on the street and the shopkeeper was a really funny man.

On Sunday evening, we had a very nice Thanksgiving dinner. It was a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner. The local volunteers joined us and we all liked the food cooked by Emily, a co-director here.