by James Ogilvie – England
Today, my twenty second birthday, was spent at two different schools in Surabaya running environment workshops with some children. The first school we visited in the morning, called Johannes Gabriel primary school Surabaya, was a really nice primary school. It was very clean and tidy and even had air conditioning in the classrooms, which was a much enjoyed luxury! We ran a workshop with a group of children who were aged around ten years old. When we first arrived a group of them played us some traditional Indonesian songs on a number of vibraphones, which was amazing to hear.
We talked to the children about the environment in their school and sent them out to survey the school grounds and see what improvements they thought could be made. We divided them into six groups, each with a different focus, and asked them to present their findings to the rest of their class. The children were very enthusiastic and interested, and came up with some good ideas, which we will develop with them next time we see them. Afterwards, Yusuke and I spoke to the children briefly about recycling and water problems in England and Japan, which the children were very interested about.
After talking to the children, we took them outside to their garden to show them how to make compost in the ground. We used a metal tool, like a bore, to dig holes in the ground about a foot deep, and then filled the holes with crushed leaves. We then filled in the holes and marked their location so they can be found at a later date. The children were really keen and excited about digging the holes and collecting leaves to fill the holes with, and we made several holes of leaves, which in time will break down into compost. Activities like this are a good way to get children involved, and also a good way to keep the dead leaves in the garden clear and the place looking tidy.
The second school we visited today was called SMP 31 Surabaya, which was a junior high school. We ran a similar program to this morning, as we asked the children to survey their school and see what improvements could be made to the school environment. Yusuke and I also talked to them about recycling and water problems in England and Japan. SMP 31 had quite a lot of litter lying around, and was quite dirty, so once we had finished talking to the children we asked them to go around the school and pick up some rubbish, which they were all very enthusiastic to do. They filled up a whole garbage can with litter which was very impressive!
On the way back to the office we stopped to have some food from a local restaurant. It is traditional in Indonesia for the person whose birthday it is to treat his friends, so I bought the guys some chicken noodles called “pangsit mie ayam”, which was really yummy. I am now looking forward to when it is their birthdays!!