The post was written by Julia, a Red Nose intern from Germany. This post is Part 1 Julia’s story, for more, see the links below.
Monday the 12th of March at 10 am was the start of my time at Red Nose Foundation. The team picked me up at the meeting point and after a warm and friendly welcome and a short introduction in the duties and responsibilities, the daily schedule for the following two months and further important items, I had my first English lesson with Darmadi. I had to realize that talking and teaching English are two completely different things, but with the time we find a good routine in explaining vocabulary with nonverbal expressions.
The following days of my first week we went everyday to Bintaro or Cilincing to teach the children there. I will never forget the first time I saw the area. After an hour ride by car from the office we arrived in Cilincing and when we opened up the car door the first I notice was the smell, it was horrible. The idea that the children are growing up in this smell surrounded by an unbelievable amount of flies and rubbish is difficult to stand. On the other hand it is impressive to see how motivated and happy the children are about learning. It is great to see that as soon as arriving in Cilincing, the children are already waiting and eager to start the lessons, what I am probably not able to say about the majority of the children in Germany.
I spent the first week getting to know the children and trying to learn the names of the students. At the beginning I was worried that the children would not believe that we will be able to communicate with each other. They were asking my Indonesian colleagues for every single vocabulary, if they did not understand the meaning from my nonverbal explaining directly. For this reason it was quite difficult to catch the attention of the children for a longer time period. I decided to learn together with the children: by teaching them English, I am writing down the translation in Bahasa Indonesia. On one hand I am able to communicate easier with the kids, winning their trust so that we can communicate with only few words and especially I am able to win their attention for longer time periods. On the other hand my daily life in Indonesia becomes easier with few words of the language and if I would be a bit more talented with learning languages, it would be an easy language to learn J
I arrived in Jakarta and at Red Nose Foundation after 4 months of travelling in South East Asia and it felt good to do something meaningful after that long time of collecting new impressions and experiences in different countries. It feels good to stay for longer than few nights at one place. I love travelling, but after 4 months it can also feel good to come back ‘home’ at the end of the day. I gained a different view on the country than only visiting the touristic attractions. I am looking forward to new experiences I will have in the following weeks by teaching the children in Bintaro and Cilincing. Before I came to Jakarta the student organization through which I found Red Nose Foundation, found an Indonesian family, which is able and willing to host me in their house for the first 2 weeks. I arrived at their home at the weekend before starting my project. They welcomed me very friendly and they had a lot of questions about me and the life in Germany. I try to answer honestly but sometimes I bumped to my limit, because to answer general questions about a whole country can turn out quite difficult. As in every country in the world, if it is Indonesia, Germany or US there are different people with very different ways of living. Human beings love to think in categories and stereotypes and so my answers to the questions seems to be quite disappointing from time to timeJ
My biggest problem at the beginning in Jakarta was the public transportation from Depok (the place where the family is living) to Pondok Indah (the area where is the office of Red Nose). After the first day the family offered me their private driver to go their. I was impressed from the kindness from the family, which already offered me a bed in their house and also from the team at Red Nose, which were trying to find a solution for my situation from the first moment. After the first 2 weeks we found a good solution with the offer from the family, for which I am still very thankful and after next week I will already change to another family who is living in BSD. There should be a public bus going from Pondok Indah to BSD and I hope than I can move independently between my workplace and my ‘home’.
At the weekend after my first week with lot of new experiences and impressions, I will go with my host family to Bandung to visit the son of the family there. After 5 days of Cilincing I am looking forward to the green countryside around Bandung and we are planning to visit the volcano .