Teaching in Bali only went for two weeks, but I am pleased to say that it was a highly productive experience, where I feel I made real a difference to the children.
Before entering the classroom and teaching, we met with a local doctor who spoke to us about various health problems within the community. We were informed that many of the children’s' parents suffered from AIDS. As a result of this, their classmates refused to touch them as it was thought that AIDS was transmitted via contact. After further observation of their lifestyle, we noticed such things as the large amounts of soft drink consumed by the people each day, unbalanced diets and some irregular hygiene practices such as dental care. This is what we made our main focus.
Each morning, I met with two of my fellow volunteers and we planned our classes for the day. This was sometimes quite difficult due to the lack of available resources, so we had to be very creative and purchase a number of items ourselves.
We began our classes with teaching the children basic terms such as the names of body parts, fruits, vegetables and different food groups. We were able to begin educating them on daily health practices. This involved such topics as nutrition, exercise and dental care.
There were times in which we were required to provide a more extensive explanation of specific concepts or further instruction regarding health practices. Fortunately, there was a translator at the school who floated between the classrooms. Mostly however, we were able to communicate using basic terminology or what we looked up during the morning planning period.
In order to address the issue of the children’s over-consumption of soft drink, we discussed the various dangers of consuming such large amounts of sugary drinks and purchased one water bottle for each child in our class. This way, they were able to fill them up with clean drinking water at the tap at school, and hopefully this would reduce their consumption of sugary drinks at least a little. This was received surprisingly well by the children and we noticed over the next week that they brought their water bottles to class each day and filled them up regularly.
For our next class we purchased tooth brushes and a large supply of tooth paste for the children and proceeded to make up a rap to teach them how to brush their teeth which they found hilarious. Following this we had outdoor tooth brushing lessons in which the children demonstrated their new skills.
Overall, I would say that during my time at the school, short as it was, I feel I made a real difference. At the end of the teaching week, we would give the children a quiz on the content and they all did extremely well. They were wonderful children, and so hard working, thinking about them still brings a smile to my face. Perhaps the changes were not long term, perhaps they were. I can't rid the world of poverty, AIDS, bring every person out of starvation or cure all diseases, but I will always try to improve the lives of others.
Copyright I AM CHANGE