The Window

August 13, 2011 § 1 Comment

Second day to the slum, am really excited :) At the front of Pasar Gembrong, I immediately look for the ‘secret door’ to enter the kampung kota. This time I go straight to the back right before the cemetery, because after couple of wrong turns, I remember I found it after finding the cemetery. At the back of the market, I remember that my body is supposed to turn to the right. I go on walking and realize that I have to take another turn to the right. But then I find similar carts selling fruits and veggies and I don’t remember the point where I have to take the turn. I walk and walk trying to remember what was the mark. Suddenly I find it!..or rather, him! It’s a very old man chilling on a wooden bench with a sarong and one leg up. He sits on the same bench same as last week. I remember last week we stared at each other when I went right pass him. We do again today.

My directional is not as bad as before, yippie! Only at the last couple turns, I am lost again. And all of the sudden I meet the guy who took me to the place last week and he smiles at me. Without me saying anything, he said, “itu mbak, belok kanan terus kiri” (take a right then a left) I laugh and said “masih inget ya mas?” And his friend (also from last week) also says the exact same thing “anterin aja, ntar nyasar” (just take her there so she won’t get lost). And I told him nevermind but thanks :)

It is pretty interesting how my slum markers are people. What does it say about the people and the space?

At the centre, the tutor is there. I help her to prepare the activity. We make drawings of fruits for them to color, to teach color gradation. It went well. We learn names of fruits, and animals of their choice. We sing some songs. There are few kids that did not attend the class last week. Three boys are sitting near the door and joke around among each other. When I ask them questions (these 3 boys), they are a bit shy and not as confident to answer. They might also find the English lesson not for them/too difficult/not relevant/not fun, or whatever it is, they aren’t really attending to the lesson.

Another boy, his name is Sali, is very eager to learn English. He’s very confident, and while the other children ask me to write on the board only 4 or 5 vocabulary, Sali asks for 20 (which is protested by his friends). I only write down 6, Sali says that he will find for himself more animal names in English and he will write until 10 to show me next week. Sali asks me if I could come everyday. I tell him no, but I wish I could…

Aziz, is also willing to learn. I ask him what grade he’s in, he said he’s supposed to be in 3rdbut he failed the 2nd grade. He’s a bit shy, but what I see from his eyes is that he has enormous curiosity inside of him, and I know for sure that they are bright kids. I am wondering what was the reason he fail 2nd grade. Was he working as pengamen (=buskers) like some of the kids in the area, was he not getting encouragement from parents, was school boring, did he not have anyone to help him to understand when he has some difficulties?

The organization I worked with supports children starting from kindergarten. The number of children under support became less and less after primary, secondary, and many decide to drop out and a really small proportion graduated highschool (and some of these would not even continue college, even though offered scholarship). Why? I guess there’s many answers to it. Economic factor, no support from parents, how school has no immediate practical application for daily lives, and even many people who graduated university are jobless in Indonesia. On the side of educators, considering the discouraging circumstances, it is not enough to simply keep them kids in school. They have to love their school, lessons should be interesting. They already have to deal with so many real-life predicament, no need to rub dry facts on their faces. But how could we expect a quality teacher when teacher’s salary is too low sometimes they can’t even put their own kids in school. The problems are on every aspect: the education system and paradigm, the teacher quality, and corruption. The least thing I could do for now is to try to be a good teacher..

A small girl comes for our class and told by the tutor to go back to put on pants as she is only wearing T-shirt and underpants.

A baby chick comes inside our room during a lesson. A toddler comes to pick it up.

Few older children come to peek inside as we sing English songs.

Two toddlers pass by carrying a bucket of water (probably a chore by their mom).

Our door offers quite fascinating stories indeed :)

A good thing that I can prepare my own module. I already have some simple ideas in my head, I plan to make it play-based mainly. I hope they can enjoy it. I don’t know what relevance is English to their lives, but I hope this can be something interesting and fun for them. So… wish me luck : )


Tutor: Ayo tebak2an nama buah.. Buah apa yang warnanya merah…

Children: Apeeel…!!

Tutor: …rasanya asemm

Niar: Yakuuuult            


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