„Besok lagi?“ meaing: „again tomorrow?“ … that’s what the kids asked after our first get together. Our first workshop took place in the elementary shool of Ahuwair, 25 Kilometers east of Maumere on the indonesian island of Flores.
While waiting for the english teacher in front of the school, we are already surrounded by a group of interested kids who wanted to know what we are doing, where we come from, where we are going. A good chance to test my indonesian. The kids join us with excited and interested, but still very shy smiles when finally the key to open the gate was found. Claire (founder of Music for Education who is volunteering with the project) says, the kids here – compared to indian kids – seem to be much more shy, guarded and sceptical.
Some days before we already visited the school, nevertheless i am still a bit shocked because of the emptiness and simplicity of the school rooms. Loose paper leaves are piled up next to an old, tattered armchair. Portraits of Jokowi (the indonesian president) next to Jusuf Kalah (indonesian vice president) and the indonesian coat of arms hang above the blackboard. A table of attendance, a selfmade garland and a map of indonesia are the only visual highlights.
We brought some books, colour pencils, drawing paper. Enough for the 23 kids, but the books were of no specific interest … except of one: “How to draw comics”.
The first task was to gather and draw endangered species. They came up with the Komodo dragon (endemic in Flores), Whale, Dolphin, Turtle, Orang Utans and many more. In the end, most kids drew Whales, Sharks and Turtles.
Anyway, the kids had a lot of fun (and so did we!), and it was very interesting to see the differences. Concerning age, skills and shyness, and even the level of indonesian-language. In Indonesia, children learn the official language Bahasa Indonesia only when they enter school. Before that, they learn their local language – in our case “sikka”.
Apart from the drawing childrend, there were some outside of the classroom looking into the window and checking out what was happening. My repeated invitation to come and join just made them scream and run away. But maybe they will join us next time.
Next week we will meet on a private terrace, to losen the connection to the school – without them having to stand up to greet the teacher.
Furthermore we are planning to build our own “Bale Bale” (an indonesian meeting hut, made from bamboo and with a palmleaf-roof) – one supporter in the village offered us to build on his land, just in front of his house.
We are very happy that the kids liked what we do and are very enthusiastic about joining the project!