Time marches on towards Christmas, but before the end of the year there are still some new activities of note in Roe, Flores. But read about what I have been up to for yourself!
Improving the library
As you might remember from my last entry here, we stamped and labeled all the books last month. Consequently this month it was time for sorting. Like in a real library, all the books are now sorted by categories such as storybooks, non-fiction, comics and English books. We put a color sticker on every book in order to enable the kids to identify the category of the book they want to read. By doing so we made sure that the kids do not mix up all the genres all the time and make the whole thing a chaos. Furthermore they now can find their favorite books again and continue reading them over several days.
Moreover I started a new inventory to gather all books and categorize them. Turns out there are already nearly 1000 books in Roe!
As a highlight of the sorting process we also got a new bookshelf. Since the old one already was full to bursting and not really suited for bigger books, we needed an additional shelf. Even though shopping furniture is not too easy in Flores, finally a villager was found who helped to make a new space for the books. Now we have enough room to store everything in a good way and the kids are happy to see the library improving.
Tell Me Stories!
Another thing that started in November was a new program on writing and storytelling. Through this program kids shall be encouraged to write down stories they know and share them with their friends and classmates.
After I read some stories to give the kids examples, they were really eager to start their own and this way we collected a bunch of good stories in the last weeks. Mostly the stories are folktales or other short stories the kids already now from home but have never written.
As you can imagine it is a lot of fun for the kids and a great experience for me as well, seeing the proud little authors standing in front of the class reading their creations. In fact this approach worked out better than I had thought before and it really made the kids realize their creative potential. In the end they also included singing and acting in their stories which made them really worth hearing!
The letter adventure
It may sound funny in the age of e-mail and SMS but since there is no post service in an area like Roe, most of the kids here never wrote or received a simple letter.
To change this pitiful state of affairs I cooperate with other volunteers in Indonesia. For the start the kids of class six wrote a letter to an orphanage in Lombok. The kids included drawings of their village and their way of life and explained about Manggarai culture. The enjoyed writing about their school and everyday life and also had a lot of questions for the kids in Lombok, asking about their hobbies and preferences. We also included a photo of the class and some simple but shiny paper stars and origami animals as a Christmas present to our new friends in Lombok.
Writing the address, putting the stamps and finally sealing the envelope was a great experience for the kids, who now impatiently wait for the response to their first ever letter.
English, rain and poetry
Besides this special project, the normal English Lessons in school continued as well as the arts and craft activities. It is great to see the kids progressing and every correctly spelled English sentence makes me a bit proud of my little students. After two month of learning, their skills are advanced so far that the headmaster decided to include English in this year’s end-of-semester test for the first time ever in Roe. I already designed a test for classes 3-6 and cannot wait to see how they master the questions.
Meanwhile the rainy season has started. Every afternoon a tropical cloud-burst pours down and gets me and the kids wet on our way for the afternoon lesson.
But since the kids are not afraid of the rain and eagerly walk some kilometers every day to get to school, naturally I do not want to disappoint them and also fight my way through the rain.
Corresponding with the season, fishes out of shiny paper are the new must-have item among the kids and are produced with never-ending enthusiasm during the arts classes.
Also small poems with titles such as “My village”, “Our Family” or just “Books” became a new trend lately. Some students definitely discovered there talent for poetry and I am amazed about their skills. In general kids here are way more talented when it comes to all sorts of poetry, dancing or singing than their peers in Germany.
As you can see I am still busy and happy in Roe. And all the time, when the daily mountain of rice on my plate makes me a bit wistful, I remember that maybe I already made a small difference for the kids of Roe. Normally that makes the rice a lot more enjoyable for my German stomach.
If you want to learn more about how things are developing in Flores, watch out for the coming episodes of the volunteer diary on this website!
Take care and have a great Christmas time,