Monday, September 5, 2011

Comfy Shoes...

I'm starting to look back on my time here and see how far I've come personally.  I was so out of my comfort zone to start with, it was really painful. 

Yes, I've finally found my feet with the teaching and my group of kids (age 14/15).  I'm really, really proud of them.  They are going from strength to strength.  I've had them consistently since I got here, unlike Brent who has been given different groups which makes it very hard to get things flowing.  I have been teaching them English - constructing sentences, using capital letters, punctuation etc.  I can now also have a conversation with them and they can understand me.  When I first got here they didn't have a clue. 

I've also taught them some Microsoft Word and Excel on the computer and taught budgets and the importance of saving.  We've also covered health issues, like drinking water and not smoking plus looking after the environment - not burning plastic (which is a rampant practice over here), recycling etc. to help keep Bali clean and beautiful.

I'm also teaching them to "touch type"  (type without looking at the keys). They are going great, I just hope they continue when I go cause it's only practice, practice, practice, that cements the skill.

Now I'm about to do something that I never ever thought I'd do - teach sex education!!!    On Thursday I'm going to teach the teenage girls at the Yayasan  about the absolute importance of condoms.  They have to know and no-one here is going to tell them.  Apart from pregnancy and STD's, HIV and Aids are rampant in Bali/Indonesia, so it's just not an option to not use one.  Having no children of my own,  I never thought I'd ever be in the position to tell kids about sex, but there you go - never say never!!

It just reinforces how much EXPERIENCES change you and make you stronger and I'm so very grateful for this experience and all the growing pains that have gone along with it!

While we were away on holiday I left my group with a little project.  We had done some lessons on hobbies and I told them mine was photography and scrapbooking…I made two examples for them to know what I meant and so while I was away they all did a little scrapbooking page about themselves for me.  They are fantastic.  I love them.  They did a wonderful job and I will treasure them always.


Girls from my group
We have also been having groups of children (around 8-12 at a time) from the Yayasan to come for a visit on Saturdays.  One of the local bus drivers brings them down after school on Saturday (yes they have school on Saturday until lunchtime), waits 4 hours (has a snooze in his van by the beach) and then takes them back.  We take them swimming and snorkeling and then they come back and have a hot shower – something they don’t have at home, and we cook them fried bananas and ice cream.  They think our place is a palace as it’s so far removed from how they live themselves.  They love it and it’s great for us to be able to spend time with them out of the Yayasan environment.

Mix of boys from our classes

Brent went to his first (and probably last) cock fight a couple of weeks ago.  It sounds pretty gruesome as they tie special razor blades to the birds feet…use your imagination.  The losing cock gets his life ended (if it isn’t already) and then they cut off one of it’s legs and that goes to the winning owner (I suppose it’s his trophy…).  Then they pluck it (there are a lot of real feather dusters over here) and I suppose the next step is the cooking pot.  Lots of betting and drinking goes on and it’s definitely a male only thing.

Brent’s vege garden at the school has grown heaps.  He has picked many cucumbers, the first two being divided up between the children to have a taste.  The bayam (like spinach) has grown well and has been picked for a while now and just keeps growing.  Watermelon are starting to appear on the vines and there’s heaps of flowers still to turn.  The tomatoes are growing well and have just started fruiting.  He’s really pleased with it all and so are the locals that walk through the school every day, they always give us the thumbs up and a big smile as they pass through.

The time is drawing near when we will leave this experience.  It is going to be so very hard.  There have been many times in the early days when I was ready to give up and head home but now that the end is coming I'm realising exactly how much this experience has impacted on me and especially the love of the sneaks into your heart so that when you go a little piece you stays behind and a little piece of them goes with you...

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