It is now Friday afternoon and I am sitting here in my apartment, listening to the 7th Harry Potter book and writing this post. It has been a wonderful, emotional, exciting week. On Tuesday morning we drove two hours to reach a Lenterra School in a remote village. The school only had about 40 students, but they were so excited to see us. They welcomed us with smiles and cameras. They had never seen bulais (pronounced boolays) before and so they were slightly "star struck" by our presence. (Bulai is the Bahasa Indonesian term for white people. It literally means "albino.") Throughout the course of the day, we were able to talk with the children, answer questions, play volleyball and teach a few classes. I taught an English class. This was an interesting challenge because I was using a translator. My students knew enough English to get by so we play some fun games so they could practice speaking and writing in English.
At the end of our day, we did an activity to demonstrate how each student has different and unique experiences that have formed and shaped their lives. We also used this activity to demonstrate the importance of education and staying in school. These students do not have a lot of hope for their futures. After they're finished with school (if they finish), most of them will go to work in the rice fields with their parents. It's incredibly heartbreaking because these students have large dreams with no financial support. Many of the students realize this and drop out of school early. That's why we came. To encourage the students to keep pursuing education.
After school, we visited the homes of two different students. These students have received a lot of financial support from the SLH to go to school. The first family was sending to girls to the Lenterra school. They lived in a house with dirt floors and a tin roof. They virtually had nothing. Yet, the mother was so faithful and considered herself so blessed by God. Her husband worked in the church and she worked in the fields. Both of her girls want to be pastors when they grow up. That visit was quite difficult for me. First I felt guilty for being there. There I was, wearing fairly nice clothing with a new camera in my bag and I was listening to this family tell me how blessed they were. After listening to the mother speak, I began to think about how much I take my blessings for granted. I thought about how I am so quick to forget to thank God for all the opportunities and blessings He has given me. Before we left the family, we prayed with them. We prayed for strength and patience. And also for blessings upon such a faithful family.
Wednesday was similar to Tuesday. More teaching.
Thursday was our day to go back to Jakarta. But not before we got to ride ELEPHANTS! This was quite possible the coolest thing I've ever done. The elephants were so kind and patient. They performed tricks and they let us pet them. We have lots of pictures that I will share at a later date. Thursday night we came home and did class prep all day today. I am excited to be back in Jakarta for a couple of reasons. First, they believe in toilet paper. Apparently the city of Lampung believes that toilet paper is a waste. I disagree. Finally, Jakarta has showers. I didn't shower for almost 5 full days. Instead I used baby wipes. I felt like an army woman.
Alright, that's enough for now.
- We start teaching full time on Monday. Please pray for patience, creativity and hard work as we continue preparing this weekend.
- Part of our team has been feeling a little under the weather recently, probably because of all the strange food we've been eating. Please pray for full health by Monday.
- Please pray for the family I talked about in my post. They are so faithful and trusting. Just keep praying for strength.
- Thanks for traveling safety so far in the trip. Especially in light of the recent earthquake. (Which, by the way, you all probably heard about before I did :-)