20th Dec Wednesday – 8.30am (Medan Time) Woke up with feeling very sleepy after last night’s meeting, had only 6 1/2 hours of sleep. Recapping on the meeting from last night we tied down and finalized the tasks to do. The plan is to do origami & balloons for the primary school students chaired largely by the Peili, while the secondary students will do sport based activities, chaired by Nesh.
It’s through some practice rounds where I discovered my rather interesting unfound talent making balloon sculptures, not that I’ve ever tried that before but I started to diversify and able to teach children not only how to draw and fold origami, but make balloon hats, giraffes on top of out door games. Breakfast was upsized meepok dry, courtesy of Lisa’s mum, interestingly it’s served on banana leaf. Later do I know observing on the streets where you can actually fold it and eat it with one holding hand, so that’s the practical purpose besides cosmetics.
Local School Visit
After a short car ride, we were greeted by the sheer energy of the children during recess upon arrival at the school yard. The visit started with us being introduced to the teachers in the admin area, where we where treated to bottles of tehbola, a bottled tea drink. Recess ended shortly after with the children quickly made their way back their classes where we will take over from – to interact with the students and teach English.
As surprised as the children were to meet us, we quickly settled into the unfamiliar environment and quickly made good friends with the kids, though they all seem scared at first and puzzled at first, like clowns out of no where as we entered the room smiling with balloon hats.
Things changed slightly with the given situation in the classroom, firstly as the place was a little too cramped for small group interaction which is critical for activities such as origami and crayon drawing. However, it turned out that the balloon sculpture part seems to be the most popular and attention grabbing part of the activities we’ve planned, so good that even the outdoor sports and origami were scrapped in favor for the balloons.
To accommodate for this demand, we played games in English with the balloons themselves as the subjects – we will ask the children simple questions like “what is the colour of the balloon?” or “what animal is the balloon?” then a kid selected from the crowd of waving hands will come to the front of the class, answer the question & spell the answer out (e.g. orange, dog), if the answer is wrong, they will be posed another question for a second chance or told to sing a song together for the class.
As rewarding as it gets, it’s also the most ideal game given us testing not only their recognition skills, but their English and spelling as well, all topped with friendly class participation and interactivity. Prompting for a surge in demand for gifts rewards such as balloon dog (poodle), giraffe, 2 kinds of swords, poodle headed hats. Which also means putting all my time and effort there not only giving out and asking kids questions, but also keeping up with the demand for others as a whole as each balloon is given away to each smiling kid with a right answer.
We close each primary class we visited with a final mega gift- My trademark 3 coloured twisty balloon hat- madly sort after by the kids, we even have kids coming out to the front of the class to sing voluntarily to claim the prize- remarkable!
For the secondary classes on the upper floors, a more knowledge based thinking game are catered to them. Mainly as they are more english literate than the primary classes, who only know and understand basic English and of course, they outgrown balloons. Ning’s class played Classic Hangman at class level while my class opted for Trival- by splitting the class into 3 groups, they are told to guess words given to them from a stated category (e.g. country, animals, fruits, etc) points are won each time a right letter is guessed correctly by a member of the team, with a 5 second timeout per team (this is to encourage quick thinking and adds pace to the game).
To encourage participation from classes with few girls, girls will get double the points (2 points) each time a letter is correctly guessed. 3 points were awarded to the team who not only guess the word but spelled it out correctly and fully too. The team with the least points at the end of each match will be given a forfeit, which in our case is to sing Christmas songs, (since Christmas is near) and do they know the song well too!
We played for a good hour or so before having to end it all due to school dismissal time. And do they enjoyed it, the smile on their faces tells it all.
Headed to Lisa’s old school where she introduced the place her parents and she herself studied in. She also did a contrast of the available facilities modern schools and those of the rural areas (like the one we visited in the morning), the differences are very very great, sadly, so is the rich/poor gap in Medan itself.
We dropped by the wet market thereafter to get a glimpse of this well known trademark area, it’s also where most of the poor work to make ends meet. They have alot of mini finger food stores and kiosks in a wet market area, very much like a pesar. Within the main pesar building 2nd floor (wet market 1st floor) there are clothing and lifestyle shops. Went back to Lisa’s home with Ning and Thura as we wanted some eyeshut from the day’s activities, while the rest headed back to the rotary dialysis center in aid of the blind massage for 10000rp/hour (effectively $2sing/hour) which was rather enjoyable as they told us later.
Rested at Lisa home before heading to the dialysis club president home which is no more than 3 blocks away. Interestingly, despite the proximity, Lisa’s dad wanted all of us to go there by car, as it’s dangerous to walk around at night in the streets. Steamboat was served and we had quite a scrumptious meal topped with drumlets & prawn fritters. The house is rather nicely decorated with various touches of interior decos with exception of a pretty run down exterior and first floor garage.
After dinner, we carried on planning the tasks and to-do lists for the task ahead tomorrow – The old folks home visit.
The night ended with a presentation of a flag of appreciation by our officer Ning to the hostness of the night and rotary president, Medan.
[ Trip Photo Album ]