James Ogilvie – England
The first school school we visited today was called SDN Medokan Semampir 259-260, the primary school near the Tunas Hijau office. This school is very dirty and has lots of rubbish around the school grounds, so we came to talk to a group of children about it. When we asked them who throws rubbish on the ground, pretty much all of them put their hands up to admit that they do it! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the problem… there are only one or two bins in the whole playground and nobody seems to use them. When the children were asked where is the place to put rubbish, many of them pointed behind us to a large area of the school grounds which is unused and full of rubbish. It is no wonder there is rubbish everywhere when that is what the children think!
However, all the children complained that their school was dirty and has too much rubbish everywhere, so we challenged them to use the bins and not throw their rubbish on the ground. They all promised that they would, and that next time we come to the school it would look cleaner. I was keeping my eye on one boy who was eating some sweets while we were talking to the class, and at the end he got up and walked over to the bin to throw away his plastic wrapper… I was pretty impressed. Hopefully all the children will learn to change their habits and make the school nicer.
After leaving SD Medokan Semampir we got in the car and drove to SD Kristus Raja, a really nice primary school in Surabaya. We came to run practical activities with a group of children to teach them about the environment. We divided them into four groups to do different activities: making recycled paper, making compost, making biopori and planting seeds in the school’s organic garden. I helped out with the gardening task, which was lots of fun, although it was unbearably hot, and far too hot to be digging and planting seeds!
Nevertheless, after a couple hours we had cleared an area in the garden and dug six rows where we planted cabbage and two types of spinach seeds. We then gave the the seeds lots of water as it was so hot! The children really enjoyed gardening, and hopefully the seeds will grow to produce organic cabbage and spinach which they can eat. The other tasks were also successful, with the children making lots of paper and collecting lots of organic waste and leaves for the composter and the biopori.
The third school we visited today was called SDI At Taqwa, and was another primary school in Surabaya. The school was quite new, only about five years old, and was really nice and very clean and tidy. We received a great welcome from the school as it was the first time Tunas Hijau has been there and they had lots of media people and dozens of cameras at the school waiting for us! I was introduced to the principal and some of the teachers, and helped out with a watering system they have built for one of their trees. I had to pose for lots of photos while helping out the children and they also filmed the whole thing!
Afterwards, we went upstairs to a big hall where we ran a workshop with a large group of children (must have been over one hundred!) where I gave a presentation about recycling in England and talked to them about our schools and the environment in England. They were all very interested and asked lots of questions. While the school was very nice and clean, they didn’t seem to run any environmental programs, such as recycling or composting, so hopefully we can return to the school in the next few weeks to help them start running some programs in their school.