Situbondo- After spending the first night in Situbondo, we awoke early to visit the school, SMK 1 Panji, a public vocational junior high school, Monday (19/7). We met many of the teachers at the school who were all very welcoming and friendly, especially 3 in particular, Miss Sophina, Miss Betty and Miss Christina. The school was really quite big and had relatively modern facilities. SMK 1 Panji is a Tunas Hijau partner. There were many multimedia rooms which had many computers.
Once we got started, my translator, Afif – Tunas Hijau activist, helped me out a lot because they didn’t really understand what I was saying. The topic that I spoke about was carbon footprints and climate change. The students were not overly energetic, probably because by the time we started it was fairly late in the afternoon and they would have been tired. There was not that much of a reaction from the students to my presentation, so I hope that they understood me.
The next day, Tuesday (20/7), the size of my group doubled, but it was ok because they had more energy than the previous day. We played a few games and got them to think about climate change issues and carbon footprints. Yet again Afif did a lot more of the work than me because of the language barrier. By lunchtime we had not come up with an action plan yet, but the students seemed enthusiastic and energetic when we left for lunch.
After lunch we started work on posters to take to another school. The students decided that they wanted to use pictures instead of words, and would then explain their drawings to the group. They worked really hard all afternoon and most of them were finished by the end of the day.
That evening we went to a beach that is apparently famous in Situbondo. It was really nice to get a chance to relax. Work with Tunas Hijau has been very chaotic and unplanned and so it was great to just take some time out for ourselves, even if it was just for a few hours. We looked at the traditional shell handicrafts and bought many bracelets and trinkets to take home to our families. We then went out on one of the boats. We sailed over a reef and put glass bottomed boxes into the water so we could view it more easily.
While it was still great to see it was kind of sad because most of the coral was dead. There were not that many fish, but there were some really wonderful bright blue fish and sea stars, and quite a few zebra fish also. We then headed back into Situbondo. We were all exhausted because we have not slept properly for weeks, Chiyako was very ill and Sina’s allergies were playing up. We then visited one of the teachers house from the school.
We discovered that some of the students wanted to interview us for the school magazine. They were very shy but they asked a few questions in English, and asked Sina in Germany. The house was lovely, and the river that ran nearby was surprisingly clean. We then left and went back to the hotel where we fell into bed and went straight to sleep. Well… tried to fall asleep.
The next day, Wednesday (21/7), we visited the school for the final time. After getting the students prepared we walked to another school nearby. Everyone was really excited to see us and we were made to feel very welcome. We filled up one of the classrooms on the second floor and the students began their presentations. Yet again I took a back seat in this activity and the students took the reins. They did a really good job, playing many games with the students and answered all the questions about their presentations with ease.
We then returned to school and the students reviewed their experiences. The teachers Sofina, Christina and Betty then wanted to give us interns a gift. They gave us a beautiful batik scarf each which they had chosen especially for us. They liked that the scarf they chose for me matched the colour of my hair… red/orange. They were really kind and generous, and also really funny.