I have reached the point where everyone knows me, or at least knows there’s a foreigner living in the village who’s teaching at the high school. Walking around in the late afternoons after school is quite a treat. I run into ladies I’ve met before and chat for a big as students zoom by me and holler “Hello, miss!” from their motorcycle seats. Babies generally don’t cry, old ladies (still) grab my rear and squeeze my forearms, and old men give big goofy—often toothless—grins. Lots of the young men get big goofy grins, too, after the double takes; soccer matches are usually stopped if I walk by the field and though I don’t stare as blatantly as they do I don’t fail to notice the handsome ones.
A brave soul from the Islamic middle school (MTsN) came to my house today to chat. I was so proud and I don’t even know the kid. I consider it a fairly huge victory since Indonesian kids are phenomenally shy, teenagers even more so than kids, in my experience. The kid, Mifta, wanted to know if I had a free afternoon to help him and his classmates study English. Of course, I do—Mondays. My only afternoon free! But I told him I’d meet with him and the principal of the middle school tomorrow morning before class begins and see if we can work something out for Mondays. I think all I’ll have to do is get permission from the principal and I can have a middle school English club. I sent Mifta on his way and secretly watched him smile proudly while putting on his sandals and hopping his motor. Tetap semangat.
I’m also going to start “teaching” an “English class” for some kids in my neighborhood, probably at my house, starting next week. I’m hoping they can come over and chill out, play English games, and do other activities related to maybe…health, leadership, the environment, the world, etc. Whatever I can get them to do. I want to try and have them make a dream quilt to hang in the village office; I read about a girls’ outreach program organized by a Volunteer somewhere else in the world and one of the activities was making a dream quilt. Each girl (kid) decorates a square of fabric with pictures and words that describe or depict her dreams for the future. Then, they’re sewn together and displayed in a public place, preferably one frequented by adults and community members who would do well to always remember the kids (such as village officers!). I’d also love to get them talking about trash and recycling, healthy eating habits, and how they can help others in their community. I might try to get them to organize a calisthenics club for their grannies. Maybe we can find a public spot to do the world map or other painting/mural project. I’d love to see them build some scrap-wood trash bins (I might try to get the MAN and MTsN kids to do this, too). I’ll have to see what they’re interested in! Community development stuff is going to be strange because everybody just wants English lessons—I’m thinking the PACA tools stuff will be helpful and interesting but I’m also wondering if project ideas will have been generated mainly by me. I think it’s ok for me to be the source of the first few projects, anyways—whatever gets people thinking about non-English related project possibilities and feeling more comfortable working with me.
Seven thirty rolls around and I can barely keep my eyes open. Did I tell you I stopped drinking coffee three weeks ago? I’m officially substance-free, unless you count refined sugar. And MSG. And Technicolor-dream-inducing malaria medications. And the liberally applied quantity of suspiciously effective bug spray I use each day. As soon as I hit Bali, though, I’ll be slurrin’ the melodies. Here’s to September.
I can’t believe tomorrow’s the day before August. I wish I could get to a dang post office to send Lily’s birthday present.
Some kind of spinning away. I miss you a lot today, extraordinary ladies. We’re together in the near future on our block in San Francisco.
Happy Birthday, Auntie Kim!