Part of the 7th grade curriculum at my school is going on community and service trips.
This year was interesting for several reasons. First of all, we were headed to an area that was new to us as a team. We were quite unsure what to expect, and had to play it by ear for the majority of our planning. Secondly, I don’t have an Indonesian co-leader this year, so dealing with the organization was a bit complicated (most of the people involved only spoke Bahasa!). Third, we couldn’t drive into the kampung, or neighborhood, that we were working in, so we had to park at a nearby mall and walk over. We had boxes and boxed of food, water, towels, toothpaste, etc., so we were quite the procession!
Finally, and most shockingly, the very morning that we went to check out the area they had a giant fire sweep through the neighborhood. The area was already poor, and fire devastated it even further. The contrast of the neighborhood that we worked in and the surrounding high rises was quite striking.
What an unbelievable opportunity we had, to go into this area and love on people who had lost so much! We were expecting about 30 kids to show up from the neighborhood, and my students planned English lessons to do with them and brought them lunches. When we got there, we had over 60 kids awaiting us!
I was so proud of the way that my 12-year-olds handled it – they totally rolled with the punches, working with groups two to three times larger than they expected, and foregoing their own lunches to make sure that all of the kids there were fed. I didn’t hear even one complaint about hunger or heat or cramped quarters. They never cease to amaze me!
This precious little one insisted that my student was her “English speaking sister” 🙂