Monday, April 26, 2010

Padang Relief Effort

A group picture at the second school we went visited.
Brooklyn jumping rope with the kids.
We were working on our passing skills here.
Sydney passing out toothbrushes.
These two pictures are of the temporary classrooms the students are still using.  Notice the lack of a roof on this structure.  It rains often in Indonesia so you can imagine the results of this.  These are some of the desks we have donated.  You can see they are sitting on a dirt floor. At this school even the part that has been rebuilt has a dirt floor.

Through all of their troubles the kids always keep smiling.
Kade making friends at the first school we visited.
In between playing volleyball with the new soccer ball; Trey, Sarah, and Syd pose with their playmates.

This past weekend our family, along with the Austin family (also from Stanwood/Camano Island) hopped into cars and headed out on an eight hour car ride.  We were granted time off from school on Friday in order to deliver new sports equipment to two schools just outside Padang, Sumatra, the site of the devastating earthquake of 8 months ago.  

This was the realization of much fundraising and planning both here at ISR in Rumbai and also back home in the Stanwood-Camano School District.  ISR donated about $3500 total to the relief effort and the students and staff at Stanwood Elementary, Stanwood Middle School, Utsalady Elementary, Twin City Elementary,  and Elger Bay Elementary donated a combined total of $2100.  These funds were used to purchase blankets, 200 sets of desks and chairs, sports equipment, and toothbrushes for several school that were flattened by the earthquake.  

On our trip we were able to visit two K-6 elementary schools.  One of the schools has been rebuilt completely and we were able to see the desks that were purchased with the donations in their classroom.  They were very appreciative of the support.  In the second school we visited the school is not fully rebuilt and they are still using what amounts to lean-to classrooms as the rebuilding continues.  Some of the desks were in the rebuilt part of the school and some were in the lean-to's.  At this school they told us that 90% of the students homes were destroyed. Several children lost their parents but all of the children made it out safely.    

At the first school we took part in their morning exercise routine.  In that heat I though we were going to die but we all made it.  After they showed us their routine Mr. Austin, our P.E. teacher along with the help of our kids taught them some stretches we use.  It was great fun and the kids were cracking up repeating Dave's famous, "I feel good," and "hubba, hubba, choo-choo," quotes.  

After that we handed out soccer balls, basketballs, jump ropes, badminton equipment (very big here), toothbrushes and candy.  All the kids played in little groups with our kids mixing in.  Sports is a great way for kids who don't speak the same language to enjoy being around each other.  We also got to play with a  calf that wondered into our games.  It was such a surreal experience.  

At the second school we led them in some stretches as before and had some imprompto English lessons with the kids.  They were all smiles and in great spirits.  We then passed out the sports equipment and all the rest and set off to playing for about an hour with them right there in the dirt.  The dirt is all they have to play on.  Neither school has grass or playground equipment of any kind.  Just a open space of packed dirt.  They seemed to be totally fine with it though.

As we were getting ready to leave every single student who was there came over in groups and took our hand and placed the back of our hand to their foreheads.  This is how young children show respect to others in Indonesian culture.  They even did this to our children.  Normally this is reserved for their elders.  This was the ultimate symbol of their thankfulness for what little we did for them.  

This left a profound impact on all of us.  Sydney said that of all the trips we have been on (Thailand, Singapore, Bali, Disneyland) this was her favorite.  I asked why and she said because of being able to help the kids at these schools.  That struck me as pretty powerful coming from a 5th grader.  

I will post more in the days ahead but we would all like to thank the Stanwood-Camano schools that donated funds; as well as ISR and our principal Lory Thiessen for their support in this project.  None of this would have been possible without all of these groups and people working together to help out people in need.  This was by far one of the most educational and memorable experiences our families could have during our time here. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Can I play?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spring Musical

Thursday was the Spring Musical at ISR.  These are photos of the Preschool performing prior to the play.  Our music teacher made a great call and had them perform prior to the start of the play.  That allowed them to watch the play with mom and dad.  Wise women that Mrs. Hill. One of the songs they sang was to the tune of "All the Single Ladies" about washing their hands.  Brooklyn was letting out her inner Beyonce for sure.

Star of the Week - Yoyo

This week was Brooklyn's turn to be "Star of the Week" here at school.  She was thrilled to be the center of attention.  She was very much into talking about each one of the pictures Kathi had put up on the bulletin board.  In fact I had to cut her off as we were getting a little long winded in our descriptions.  I was afraid that our principal was about to give us the hook.  She really liked the attention and so it was a very good experience for her.

P.S.  For those of you wondering why Kathi never appears in a photo I will just say this.  She is the one who gets the pictures up so feel free to ask her for a self-portrait.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Marching Band

The Cendana Marching Band performing for the school.  They were very good!

All Done

Upie, the sewing lady we hire on the weekends, finished Brooklyn's Hundred Wishes Quilt. Each of the Ladybug squares were sent to Kathi by other adoptive parents, family and friends while we were waiting to go to China to get Brooklyn. Upie did an amazing job and Brooklyn now has an heirloom for her family.

Science Fair

Saturday was the school-wide Science Fair.  Both Kade and Sydney participated.  Kade and his group tried to find out if an egg can float if you put it in a salt water solution.  Sydney and her group worked on finding out what types of plants you can get extracts from.  

The science fair was followed by the Cendana student (the Indonesian school on camp) marching band performing for the school.  They are the #2 band in all of Riau province.  They are really pretty good.  

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Party