Thursday, June 16, 2011

Breaking in new shoes...

I have decided this whole experience is like breaking in a new pair of really love them and want them but for a little while they cause you pain and are uncomfortable...then one day they fit just right and become just like a comfy pair of slippers...I'm at the pinching stage at the moment but I know that by the time I leave it will all be comfortable and familiar...

We have only been here just over a week, it feels like a month!  Not in a bad way, like it's dragging or anything but I guess because everything is so new and different time is slower or something...which isn't a bad thing at all!

Gosh there's so much to write about in just a week...

Swimming in the sea is like swimming in tepid bath water and it's so crystal clear - devine!!  We did some snorkelling on Sunday...the sea bed drops away very quickly into nothingness which was a bit scary at first, it's like a crater underneath the sea...but along the seabed wall, not very far out are the tiniest little fish that are peacock blue/irridescent...then further around and down a bit deeper I found a huge sky blue coloured starfish, angel fish, bumble bee fish (black and yellow stripes), and a huge school of hundreds of quite large fish just cruising around like a mass of bees, swirling here and swirling there...fantastic!  We are going to do a dive course while here as it's dirt cheap and this is one of the major dive areas in Bali...there is a WWII shipwreck just off shore (US Liberty) that is 150m out and only 30m deep...they do night dives out there too...

Having a coffee in the morning right by the ocean is magic... We have to cross the road from where we are staying to another place to get this stunning view...

I met my Sponsor boy Yogi which was quite emotional...I didn't cry (amazing for me) but there was definitely a lump in my throat.  He is such a brilliant kid.  I am very proud of him.
He is 11 and wants to be a Hotel Manager one day (at this stage anyway).  He speaks very good English, likes to read and is a real fish in the water and loves swimming.  He is very polite and is always coming and having a chat.

Me and Grandad
His family are very poor.  His Father is a truck driver 3 days a week and his Mother makes offering baskets to sell at the market.  They have 4 children - Yogi is the oldest (11) then his Sister (8) and twin Brothers (4).  Grandad also lives with them and sleeps in a shelter at the front of the house, with just a roof over him...Dad sleeps in a room of his own on a mattress on the floor and Mum sleeps in the other room with all the kids, again on mattresses on the floor...then there is a small kitchen and an open area at the front where they can sit during the day...everyone sits on the concrete, there's no chairs and when you go and visit they roll out a mat of thin felt carpet for you to sit on.  They survive on very little.  We brought them a 25kg bag of rice and they were very grateful.  It feels good to be able to help these people.  They are a lovely family.

Beautiful Amik
Ayu, Sri, Tari, Amik
Gede, Ketut, Suma, Dek apem

Saturday we went to a concert at the local Elementary School (where the children go in the morning to learn their usual school things).  Both Ketut (Brent's sponsor child) and Amik (my good friend Andrea's sponsor child) were dancing...OMG they are so beautiful in their costumes.
The detail of the makeup and the dress is amazing...Ketut was one of 4 boys to dance and Amik did a beautiful dance on her own - I couldn't take my eyes off her.  The dances are pretty detailed and complicated but they did them flawlessly, it was so great to watch.

Brent has started clearing the ground at the school for a big vege garden.  We want to plant it up with lots of different veges and get the children to learn about it all and look after the plants.  We will get some seeds from Ubud and teach the children to grown their own plants from scratch.  Then they can sell the veges to the locals and maybe even some businesses to get some income for the school.  There were a lot of big logs and large bolders and rocks to move, all the kids pitched in and helped with sometimes 20 kids helping carry a large log from one place to another and two or three boys moving large bolders together - these are kids from 6yrs to 16yrs, they all helped - amazing.

I have now taught my first few classes - I'm teaching Group C which are 13-14 year olds and there's 10 in the class.  We brought 3 laptops over with us that were generously donated by clients/friends of mine and so now they have 6 computers to use instead of 3 - it's made such a difference!
Computer Studies
I'm teaching basic Excel, Word and English.  I think I'm doing ok, although when you ask "do you understand", they just look at you ;) so I'm not sure - I think they are just shy (malu).  We will make progress as we go along, I'm learning too and I'm absolutely hopeless at trying to remember their names as they are all so different and the pronunciation is very "un-english" with lots of tongue rolling!

We are very impressed with how they can read English and we started teaching them John Lennon's song "Imagine", they picked it up really quickly...they do have trouble trying to write sentences that make sense...leaving out words that make it coherent so that's something to work on.

We have taken the children down to the beach for swims and they love it. They especially love Brent as he is a big kid himself and has them stand on his shoulders under the water and stands up so they dive into the sea - sometimes he has 4-6 kids clambering over him! 
Special moments are being imprinted on our hearts, when we were down there the other day Yogi and Suadi made a sand 'heart' for me that said "For Paula", (I think the "a" went missing when they patted it down) - so sweet and special :-)

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