First week at Foundation noordeen , Takengon

Taking the long bus up from Banda Aceh , i didnt know what to expect. Off course the ride was going to be an adventure . Sitting in a “Bus” ( more like a minivan) with people who most likely i could only communicate with Sign Language was only making me smile more. I knew this experience would be great.

I reached Yayasan Nordeen and in the first 10 minutes is spend there i fell in love with this place. Father  ( Mr Samsudin) woke up some of the children who could speak english and offered me some tea. I thought it was pretty unusual that the children woke up at 5:30 am in the morning just to greet me and i felt bad only to later realize that it was their routine. They woke up at 5am went for thier prayers and got ready at 6 am for some  delicious breakfast and them took off to school.

Luckily for me , the kids were on their holiday . They were all shy to first encounter a new face in the foundation but it only took them 5 minutes to warm up and they were not singing for me , taking about stuff they like. It melted my heart to see how much the children took care of each other .  The lunch which is served there reminded me of the food i ate back in india , actually it was more like my mothers food and the first thing i did when i ate it was call my mom.  The children are soo well mannered , they offered to take my plate and clean it too but i resisted. I figured this 3 weeks i need to be as much part of their lives as possible and it starts with small things like doing your own dishes , cleaning my own room. It felt great.

We played soccer one day and i was very impressed with the skills of the 10year olds. Went up trekking  to the beautiful mountain behind the foundation and ate some fresh Pineapple from the farm on the way up. One thing i realized is that the children like when people come to visit them and more if you try to hear them out. My first project there was to get them to improve their confidence. I explained to them what a blog was, gave them a video camera and asked all of them to speak about themselves in front of it. They were shy initially but they realized soon that speaking is not that hard. They started interviewing each other and at the end of the day i had 24 individual “About Me” pages for the children.

Over the course of the week , we studied english together . I had some competitions for the children cause they like healthy competition. I had to fix up the computer room so that they can start using it. Part of my project with TeachAClass was to setup offline learning tools for the children. This had content from KhanAcademy and other open source content providers. Miko who is one of the eldest boys in the foundation became my best friend. He spoke really good english and was always there to help me out. Eventually we had all the computers up and KhanAcademy running. You could instantly see how the children liked it, being able to do math problems on the computer is something they were not used to.

Its been a great week here , i love the children and i do not want to leave. I think some of the friendships i have made will last longer than the 3 weeks i spend here. These children do not expect much , they want your love and your time. They are eager to learn and to share .

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