Some days passed since my last entry in the Volunteer Diary, but now it is time to share some new stories from Flores.
I’m still in Roe, West Manggarai, working in the local elementary school and taking care of the Pelangi-Library.
Since the last time you heard from me, I have been busy continuing the English program with the kids, trying to provide them with some basic conversation skills. By now, most of the kids are able to introduce themselves to others, talk about their hobbies and families or name the numbers up to 1000.
Some scattered tourists who have been careless enough to come to Roe already had to endure some Q&A- Sessions with the kids, who would not let them escape until they knew about everything from favorite food to their number of relatives. As you can imagine a cute scene and the sort of modest accomplishment to make every teacher proud!
Beside these successes teaching in Roe, there are still a lot of challenges to face. First of all, the condition of the school building is really pitiful. The school is coloured by broken desks and benches, splintered blackboard and a concrete floor that makes you think of a lunar landscape. Moreover the classes are overcrowded, the kids do not have enough books, pens and bags and sport tools or facilities.
Nevertheless the kids are happy going to school, trying to learn as much as they can. Every morning when a group of excited students meets me at the entrance to find out which class will learn with me that day, I realize that this is the right place to be.
Furthermore the Taman Bacaan Pelangi’s library in Roe has improved. With the help of the kids I stamped and labeled all the books and would now sort them according to different categories.
The kids are not getting tired to explore the books here in their free time. The current favorite among them is a book about aerospace and spaceships which recently led to a long discussion whether it would be better to eat rice or bread if you want to live on the moon. So funny!
Another thing I have been discovering lately is the Manggarai cuisine. If you think it only consists of rice and vegetables you might be right to a certain point –but please do not forget how delicious eating a dog or a monkey can be! Everytime there is a ceremony, (and they have a lot here!), you’d better prepare yourself for some local specialties…
You see I am not getting bored here looking for answers to some essential questions of mankind, and even the starting euphoria is fading, I am still more than happy to be here!
For more stories from Flores look out for episode three of the Volunteer Diary!
Take care wherever you might be,