Birthdays and Getting Routine

This post was written by Julia, a Red Nose intern from Germany. This is Julia’s second post; to read more by Julia follow the links below.

I had a great weekend in Bandung. The green of the countryside around Bandung really freshed my mind  and I had to realize that I enjoyed to see nature so much only after one week in Jakarta and Cilincing. I had to realize that I have this possibility to break out of the poor environment in Cilincing and the grey and crowded environment of Jakarta. The children here do not have this option. I am not sure how many of the kids saw something else than the tough neighborhood in Cilincing, the rubbish, the mussels in every alley, the  smell that welcome us here upon arriving here in the area and flies which are following  us into the car and we have 1 hour back to Pondok Indah to spend.  It feels good to wash your hands and feet when arriving at the office after a long day in Cilincing.

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From the moment I signed the contract with Red Nose Foundation I knew what I am doing. I was living before for over a year in Turkey and in the Middle East.  There I saw also very poor areas and I was also working with children there. In my opinion the difference between the ‘slum’ areas  in Indonesia (or lets say in South-East Asia) and these areas in Balkans, South-East of Turkey or Armenia is the problematic of the rubbish. Somehow it seems that the handling of rubbish is different in these countries. Of course the rule ‘as more rubbish you can find on the street as poorer is the area’ is also working in Middle East but it is not that extreme as in South East Asia. Additionaly, the difference in the climate are also responsible for the whole impression of areas as Cilincing, which you can find very similar in Myanmar and the Philippines.

The second week was in the structure as the first one. Mondays we are going to Bintaro, the rest of the week to Cilincing and two persons alternately at Wednesdays to Bintaro. After the days with the children we are working on organizational topics, preparing the teaching materials and I have the English tutoring with Darmadi as often as possible.

On the Monday of the second week of my time at Red Nose we went around midday to Bintaro where the children were already waiting excited  for us. Today should be there joggling exam, which means that the children present the tricks they learned at the last month and the children which are able to present 20 tricks getting three joggling balls as present. This present also allows the children to train their skills next to the time in class.

It was fantastic to see how proud the children were to present their skills to the rest of the group and to see what they are able to do with 3 balls. I tried to juggle from the first day of the last week. But already after 30 minutes my teacher Darmadi told me that I will need a long time to learn it and if I am honest I think he his rightJ For this reason it is especially impressive to see what the children are able to do… joggling with 3 balls  knows every child.. lets say standardJ. The tricks they are able to do with the balls are amazing and I am still impressed if I see the ease and effortlesness with which they are doing their show. The emotions and personality aspects are becoming obvious in smiles and the bright look on the students’s eyes after finishing the performance.

On Tuesday Darmadi and I figured out per coincidence by teaching the children ‘When is your birthday?’… ‘My birthday is on… ’ that our birthdays are at the same day.. the 21st of March and so the day after.  At the next day after teaching in Bintaro and Cilincing the whole team surprised us with a cake and were singing for us. The atmosphere was very nice and a good memory to my 26th birthday in Indonesia.

Next to this ‘special events’ of the week we were following the normal routine of the week: Teaching and tutoring the children English and circus. We are meeting at 8 or 9 o’clock in the morning at the office and arriving than at 9 or 10 o’clock in Cilincing. By arriving there the first children will pick us up from the car and the last children will bring us to the car for leaving back to the office around 14.30 or 15.30 o’clock. Lessons for 5,5 hours seems a the first moment not much, but if the only breaks between are short visits to the bathroom, the days are quite exhausting. After arriving around 16.00 or 17.00 o’clock back at the office, having late lunch in the Warteg nearby there is a lot of organizational stuff to do for me and Darmadi to study more English, only on a different level. For this reason pictures of the whole team sleeping on the way back to the office (as you can see on the pics) are not seldom.

After I found out last weekend that Friday is public holiday in Indonesia, I booked a cheap plane ticket to Padang in Sumatra and will leave to there on Thursday night. I am looking forward to see a totally different area of Indonesia than Java and will escape again out of Jakarta to be surrounded by green trees and blue lakes.

Read more posts by Julia:
Part 1: Arrived at Red Nose
Part 2: Birthday and Getting a Routine
Part 3: Television and Radio
Part 4: A Rainy Week
Part 5: Rolling Stone Cafe and Moving…
Part 6: School Renovation


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