We were up at 6 am this morning to organize the supplies for our first day in the schools. Accommodations in Sanda House are pretty basic – we have beds that consist on foam blocks over a rope support system. There’s also a basic kitchen with sink, propane stove and refrigerator, as well as a bathroom with a western-style toilet and cold shower. The setting is spectacular, however – completely surrounded by rice fields with a distant view of the Bali sea. There’s a few families who live in simple huts nearby that greet his warmly as they pass on their way to work or school.
Our local drivers arrive at 7 am and we’re soon on the way to our first school of the day in Munduk village. We arrive early so we can watch these children arrive and witness their morning ritual of prayer, stretching and warmup, and a variety of welcome songs for us. These schools are public but they integrate Hinduism into their program as it is the official Balinese religion.
Our typical time at these school starts with an introduction about ourselves and where we come from, demonstrated on an inflatable globe that we bring with us. After that, we sing and dance with some all-time favorites, the Chicken Dance and one that’s called Bear Hunt. The kids really enjoy these icebreakers and sometimes it’s hard settling them down afterward.
Next we do a craft project with the students. This year it’s a mask on which you scratch off the coating with a stylus to reveal the colors underneath. The kids add some feathers and beads and their creations are complete.
After the project is finished we pack up quickly, line up for the children to say thanks and jump in our cars to head to the next school. When we try to visit two schools a day and kindergarten class ends at 1000, we don’t have time to linger.
Our next stop in Gesing follows the same program as the first school. It’s interesting to see the range of schools that we support. Some have nice facilities and good organization while others are less so. Our objective is to raise the level of the lower schools so that all the kids get the same level of education.
After Gesing our work is not yet done. At 1100 we have invited the teachers of each school to join us for our training program led by Sharon. Our friend Nyoman hosts the training at this B&B nearby, and the teachers really enjoy Sharon’s presentation and the supplies we provide for their classrooms. The teachers stay until 1 pm and then we have lunch.
Around 3 pm we meet with Iluh to discuss her ideas for improvements needed at each school. We’re blessed by several donors who contribute each year for this purpose. In the past, we’ve provided playground equipment, cabinets and lockers, and even a building for a new school. As our students have grown, we also need ways to fund their education in high school or vocational school. Not all of our sponsors can afford this added expense which can add $200 or more to their annual donation. Luckily, we have several sponsors who have made up the difference so far.
After the meeting we have dinner and walk home from the restaurant, serenaded by the chorus of dogs that occupy every home in Bali.