Being a volunteer at IHF Aceh Center!

Written by: Ronal, local volunteer, Aceh

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I took my phone and looked at it. In one of my apps (LINE) I saw that my friends shared some interesting news within our group – IHF was looking for a teacher for their Aceh Center. I found that information very interesting and decided to apply since I was looking for some new experiences in my life.  I called IHF Co-director and asked him about this foundation. He invited me to come to the center located in Geuceu Komplek. I went there and took part in the interview. I was a little bit afraid because it was the first time I was interviewed for a volunteering position. Mr. Sahat asked me a lot of question about my studies, previous teaching experience, my address, and my reasons to join IHF. Alhamdulillah, I answered all of his questions and received a proposition to work as a volunteer for International Humanity Foundation.

dscn4249I was scheduled to teach classes SD3 and SD6. I found it challenging at that time, because I was afraid that my students won’t  pay attention to what I say during the classes. But this feeling was lost when I read some motivational words that pushed me to work and try to be a good teacher.

On Saturday, I taught SD 3 students. It was my first class. I came to the class with my friend, Yanna Zahara. We study together at my college. We taught SD3 students together. I was focused on encouraging them to listen what I’m saying. I decided to sing a song to draw their attention to me and I was happy because it was a good move. After I finished, they listened to me till the end of the lesson. We were happy at that time.

On Monday, I had a class with SD 6 students, but this time I enjoyed myself a little bit more because before the class I have prepared myself very well. I taught them about storytelling and past continuous tense. I was very happy because they seem to understand the topic I was teaching.

dscn4281I hope I can teach my students to be the best generation of the future and I hope they will develop this province (Aceh). For myself, teaching nowadays became a hobby. I feel proud when I can teach my students and help them become successful adults. Mr. Sahat told me a lot of motivational words. Now I feel that I want to be a better person, and I’m working on it more and more everyday.

The beginning…

Written by Tony, Co-Director, Medan

It’s been a little over a month since I arrived on these islands – Indonesia. This country never ceases to amaze me. I was surprised by the fact that this country is made up of more than seventeen thousand islands and has so many diverse cultures and traditions! Despite being a union of such a diversity, this beautiful South East Asian country is still one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

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The people of Indonesia are in general very generous, kind and accepting towards foreigners who they fondly call as Bule! Apart from a few local dishes, I haven’t tasted much of the cuisines this country has to offer yet. But it is enough to say that this country is quite famous for its spicy food and delicious seafood.

I used to have trouble with the local currency during my first days here because Indonesian currency has a lot of zeros. The smallest denomination is a 100 rupee coin and the largest one is 100,000. I used to be shocked when a parking fee counter reads 2000 for an hour and it used to take me a few seconds to realize that it is just 15 cents.

During my stay here, I have met some incredible people. People who left their jobs and dear ones back home just to serve and gain valuable experience, while working on different tasks and projects, ensuring that the organization is up and running efficiently. Each center’s environment is very diverse with people coming from all the parts of the world.

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I had the opportunity to volunteer back in my country, so I already know that volunteering helps us change the way we view the society and makes us more sympathetic to the troubles of other people. But working for IHF has been a one of a kind of experience and I hope that it remains that way.

The students at the center are active and always curious to get to know different cultures. The interaction is not just between the students and the co-directors but it also happens among co-directors as well. Working on tasks as a team, going on weekend trips, and having a chance to build relationships that we hope will last a lifetime is a delightful experience!

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I still have a long time to stay here and I’m looking forward to working with IHF and exploring the beautiful places this country has to offer!

The End of an Adventure!

Written by Laura and Jessica, Voluntourists, Bali

We are Laura and Jessica, two Spanish friends from Barcelona. Today is our last day in IHF Bali Center and we would like to summarize our two weeks here. Our first week was focused on adaptation. It was hard for us because of so many changes and new things to learn. But after all, we successfully overcame all of the obstacles!

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This week we had plenty of activities in the center. We’ve almost attended all the classes and we have led three of them! On Wednesday we prepared a special activity for the children – “Table Games”. We introduced them to some famous Spanish games. First, kids had to draw their own “parchis”. They are very smart and draw two boards very quickly, without any problem! After that, we explained the rules of the game to everyone. Then, we split into two groups and played the game.We also prepared SD3 class with Agata’s help. She has been our reference at the center. If we had any problems she was always there to help and answer our doubts.

fullsizerender_2 For this class, we made some flashcards of different kinds of food. We enjoyed drawing and preparing them for the kids! Finally, we taught Junior class with Clara. It was focused on listening comprehension – students had to listen to a song and then fill in the gaps in the worksheet. It was a busy day, but it was a real joy for us to help as much as possible!

We’ve had a great time on Bali, balancing our time between the center and exploration of the island. For us, Bali has been amazing! This island is wonderful and people here are very kind and respectful. We really appreciated their peaceful and joyful lifestyle. They have a smile for everybody!

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The end of this adventure is coming, just a few hours before we have to leave the center. We think that it would have been better to stay longer than 2 weeks. We were just starting to feel confident with the students and the lessons. It’s a pity to leave now! We hope that the children have learnt something from us, for sure we have learnt a lot from them! They are really smart kids with a lot of energy!

Now we have to say goodbye, but we will always have Bali in our hearts!

What Indonesia Taught Me..

Written by Kristine, Co-Director, Jakarta

I have now finished more than half of my time in Indonesia.  It seems so long ago that I arrived here, but also like it was just yesterday.
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During my first few months here, I had a mild case of culture shock. Thankfully, I got over it and finally started seeing the beauty of the people and the place; I finally began enjoying being in Indonesia.  And even though I spent a few months wondering what the heck I was doing, I still learned so much – about myself, the world, and others.
First, I learned a new level of gratitude from witnessing in new ways the fact that many people have life far harder than I do.  I will never again take for granted a solid roof over my head or a clean, pest-free environment.  I’ve also learned how to be more flexible.  From changing cities to changing rooms to changing teams, I’m learning so much more flexibility than I normally need to have.
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When I arrived in Indonesia, I didn’t expect teaching to be something that I actually enjoyed, since I’ve never seen myself as a teacher.  I always thought I was too impatient for that job.  Yet, here I am, liking teaching my students and learning to be a good teacher.

A shining jewel among the many lessons I’ve learned here is the basic kindness and generosity of people.  It may seem to go without saying that people are basically kind and generous, but examine your life and see if you really believe that.  Don’t focus on what you say; check what your actions are telling you.  My actions were telling me that I cynically believed that people always had an ulterior motive, that they were only oc45a7f0e-2ff6-46c5-81fd-3ce9e9f14ea6ut for their own good and that there was really no such thing as a stranger with a truly kind heart.  I was so wrong!  From the start of this journey, I have been inundated with the kindness, generosity and friendliness of people: fellow co-directors, local volunteers, friends of volunteers, cab drivers, guides, tourists, the fruit guys…so much kindness everywhere!
I already feel so different from when I arrived here a few months ago.  I feel like the same person but somehow different…better…new.

Thank you, Indonesia, for helping me grow in so many ways.

A visit to Massai Mara National Reserve in Kenya..

Blog post by Joyce, Co-Director, Nakuru.
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Last week I was fortunate enough to travel to Massai Mara National Reserve to have a close look at lovely wild animals, together with our work-study volunteer, Kenzo. Maasai Mara National Reserve is a large game reserve in Narok County, which is an approximate 7-hour drive from Nakuru.Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
We were luckily enough to spot some zebras when we were close to Lake Naivasha. Even though the road was quite bumpy, my mind was occupied with thoughts of views we will be able to see, basically inspired by photos from National Geographic.
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We arrived at around 4 p.m. in the evening and we went straight to the reserve. Kenya treated us pretty well as we got to see a couple of cheetahs not long after we drove into the park. They were adorable and elegant, passing by our car. We were impressed by their beauty and we all held our breath trying to capture this amazing moment. Later on, we saw African elephant families feeding themselves. Baby elephants were adorable and they walked beside our car, didn’t feel bothered at all. It was like a movie scene when we saw giraffe running as most of the time they were gracefully stretching their necks and stood still. In the shadow of a breath-taking sunset, we spotted a group of resting lions.
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We also visited Massai village on the third day. They are living a very simple yet sufficient life. Male adults endeavor to keep their community and stocks safe from wild animals and females build houses and take care of the children. But still you can see the influences from the modern world as beneath their traditional  red shuka cloth they wear sport shorts and tank tops.
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It is hard to describe everything we experienced in words, as words can never precisely reflect what our eyes saw. You have to explore it by yourself and breath African air to fully embrace it.

My memories from Chiang Rai!

Blog post by Soufian, Co-Director, Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Thinking about leaving IHF family after one month makes me feel really sad, as I got used to the life in Chiang Rai center and the city. But due to some visa issues I had to book my round trip flight to Morocco. However, I consider coming back again when it is handled.

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It’s  been an interesting week for me. Following children’s recommendation, I visited Mea Sai and the border between Myanmar and Thailand. I drove through the mountains, saw the jungle and villagers life style… I really admired the landscapes from this part of Thailand, as these are different from the dry mountains I’m used to hiking in in my home country. Here, even the center itself is surrounded by a very, green yard.

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This week, Jirapon and Nupon cooked me dinner – catfish that they used to farm in our pond, with spicy vegetables. I am really glad that we are creating bonds, and that they are now more comfortable with speaking in English, as I’m making efforts to learn some basics of Thai language to use in my daily life.

Two of our kids, who I like to call “best model students”: Arisa and Kantya were focused, during the week, on their education and homework. The fact that they don’t need someone to watch them, the responsibility they show is very impressive. I try to get to talk to them more, but we still have a hard time communicating since my Thai isn’t good.

For a community facilitator, local language can be the key to people’s minds and hearts. The children are amazing but I just feel sad I cannot have a deeper conversation with img_2484them. The housemother actually try to talk “little” in English with me and we often express our thoughts using translator as well. She will leave us on October 9th, we will miss her and her little cute baby around the house. She was very dear to us at the center, especially since I’m the only co-director here; she was providing great assistance in helping me to understand things, such as cultural differences.

 

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Climbing Mount Rinjani in Indonesia.

by Kristine, Co-Director, Jakarta

I find that being in Jakarta really opens up options of places to go around Indonesia for me.  Because it is basically the hub of the country, I can easily catch a flight to just about any other place in the country.
And so it was that a couple of months ago, one Saturday evening, I caught a flight to Lombok because I had convinced myself that climbing Mount Rinjani was a great idea.  Forget the fact that I hadn’t exercised in months, since arriving in Indonesia, in fact.  For some reason that I cannot fathom now, I thought it was a great idea.  I think it was maybe something to do with Indonesia being a part of the Pacific Ring of Fire and I thought it would be cool to climb an actual active volcano.  I wasn’t nervous before I started; all I felt was great anticipation for what was ahead.
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I booked a 3 day/2 night Mt. Rinjani climbing package and, I must say, my tour operator and climbing guide and porters offered excellent service.  But 2 hours into the climb, I was wondering what I had gotten myself into. At first, it was idyllic – gentle slopes, grassy fields, and a herd of cows with bells around their necks gently clanging as they mooed and meandered and grazed; I felt like I was in The Sound of Music.  But then the slopes became less gentle and the cows disappeared and I was sweating and heaving my way up the mountain.

This would mark the next 3 days of my life.  Going up, there were parts of the trail that were so steep and slippery that I genuinely didn’t know how I would make it because I kept sliding back down.  Like everyone else on the mountain, I slipped and slid my way up and was relived to make it alive and with all my limbs intact.  Descending was just as difficult, and I confess that by day 2 as I stared at yet another ridge to climb in order to get off that darn mountain, I passionately hated myself, since I could have, at that very moment, been binge watching Game of Thrones in a luxurious hotel room somewhere.

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Eventually, after much misery, slipping, sliding, scrambling, and American Ninja Warrior style rock-climbing, I made it off Mt. Rinjani.  I hated every minute of those 3 days but I’m still glad that I went even just because I heard the volcano rumbling like thunder then saw it belching out smoke, while I clung to a broken railing trying not to break my fool neck as I snapped a photo.

Sigh.  It was beautiful.

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A new experience with IHF in Bali!

By: Xinyu, Voluntourist Bali.

I arrived to Bali at midnight of September 15th, 2016.

Since it is too late for the center co-director to pick me up from the airport, I checked into a hotel nearby the airport. I was really excited about this trip and I kept imagining the IHF Centre I was about to visit tomorrow. Finally, at about 12 a.m. the next day, Agus and Manna arrived at the hotel to pick me up. Manna was really kind. She shared her experience of volunteering here with me and was patient enough to answer all my questions. On my way to the center I already felt welcome on Bali. Manna also took me to a store to buy a few things I needed.

This was the first sight I saw when I arrived at the IHF Bali center. The center is set up close to the beach and it is very beautiful: 3107fe0f0a11d06c

On reaching the center, I met Agata, Clara and David, the co-directors of IHF Bali, and few children drawing and plaing in the house at that time. They were really cute!

In the afternoon of my first day of volunteering we did many activities. We played hide and seek with the kids amongst other activities. I found it was very easy to get along with all of the kids, even though we come from different countries. I love BALI, and I am enjoying my volunteering days here, but there is one challenge I need to face every day – I am totally scared of lizards, frogs and bugs. Actually, I was crying on the first night, because I was scared by a lizard. Agata helps me a lot, we are living in the same house, her room is just opposite of my room. She told me not to be afraid, because none of those animals will hurt me. She is kind and make me feel welcome.

2d10f9110a419a78On the first day of classes, I gained a new experience. I met a lot of kids from different grades and classes. I tried to memorize their names at the beginning, but it’s hard. Students are like a little angels, kind and warm in their own style. They work hard trying to memorize every word Manna brings to them. We also play English board games. They come to me whenever they don’t understand something. I try my best to help them do some of their class work.

I feel that I made a good choice to volunteer here with IHF in Bali. It’s a fresh and beautiful experience for me.

I am in love with Bali and I am very much enjoying volunteering here.

Life in Nakuru

By: Kenzo, Work Study Kenya

Although it feels as if I have been here for far longer, I arrived at the Nakuru centre just over a week ago. Now that I’ve settled into the swing of activities that happen at the centre and more generally in the Nakuru’s way of life, I can reflect on my experience here so far.

In many aspects the children at the centre live a life filled wih similar interests and aspirations I used to have when I was at school. All the children are now back at school, leaving the centre relatively quiet during the day and free for the herds of livestock which come to graze on the centre’s land. When the children return in the late afternoon and evening they studiously get on with their homework and revision, without complaint (This is different from what I used to do when I was at school :P).

Once they are at home, and all the work and revision is done,  many of the children relax by playing football (trust me, everyone are crazy about this sport here) or socializing with each other and staff.

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In spite of the interage group living and socializing at the centre there is a strong community spirit in which everyone is ready to pull their weight by doing different tasks for the centre, like buying supplies or cooking on the weekends.
Despitimg_1270e me being the only international volunteer here along with the amazing co-director Joyce, the proactive help from the children, and the local staff ensures the smooth running of the centre. Nevertheless, the weekends here can be a little bit chaotic as the children let off steam from a hard week of school and only settling in the evenings when we watch a movie. I have been trying to introduce them to some movie classics, like “The Shawshank Redemption”, but I fear many of them still favor the action and their superhero movies ( Can’t blame them for it, can we? )
However, there are some differences between my childhood and the childhood of children here. Having enjoyed a comparatively sheltered and a somewhat spoon-fed upbringing, it was only upon leaving the nest to go to university that I learned how to be independent. And even during my first week at the centre I had to be told how to: a) wash myself without running water; b) wash my clothes using a bucket; and c) navigate the country and town safely; along with countless other life hacks! In my defense, I was initially somewhat overwhelmed by all the new things during my first few days here in Kenya, this being my first time living in a developing country, especially in Africa . In contrast, all the children here have the maturity well beyond their years, and are able to live independently within the wider community.
I haven’t traveled extensively as of yet. I am looking forward to this experience, especially exploring the beautiful natural scenery and wildlife of Kenya, some of which we are lucky enough to wake up to every morning at the centre in Nakuru.

Kenya has already made quite an enormous impression on me, especially the children. I look forward to the rest of my time at the centre this month and with that knowledge I know, I will be reluctant to say goodbye at the end to my new friends here.

My life in Medan as a voluntourist!

By: Wenwen, Voluntourist Medan

This is not the first time I choose to be a voluntourist with IHF, the first one was three years ago when I went to the Bali centre in Indonesia. And it was during that time when I made my mind that I would explore the other places as a voluntourist. So this year I came to Medan, where I met three other nice volunteers who made me wanting to stay here for a much longer time.

On the first day I arrived at the Medan centre with my friend Ling we were invited to attend a local wedding ceremony, which was really impressive. We were really interested in experiencing Indonesian culture. The bride and groom wore traditional attires and took pictures with all the guests invited. The person who invited us introduced the wedding customs to us as well as shared some traditional food with us.

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During our stay at the Medan centre, we got to know many volunteers. Besides co-directors: Teresa, Leti and Tony who are from different countries with different backgrounds, we still met many other local volunteers. The co-directors arranged the meeting with them for us. when we had dinner together, we just couldn’t stop talking about our country, culture and education system. One of interesting things I find here is that most of the people here are Muslims. They have totally different dressing code and religious beliefs than we and we respect that.

During the weekdays, Ling and I are helping tutoring the classes. The teachers here are all very caring and supportive, and sometimes let us get very involved in their classroom activities. Surprisingly, some children said they are very interested in learning some Mandarin, so Ling and I gave them a few Mandarin language sessions as a part of special activities. This week, we are going to do a presentation to introduce the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival to them. We really enjoy spending time with the children here.

img_2308During the weekend, we visited many tourist attractions with other volunteers, including, the big mosque, the temple, the waterfall and the Lake Toba. It really gave us a chance to get close to the nature. Compared to the life in my own country,  life here seems to be more relaxed and meaningful.