Some places just exude a sense of welcome. This is what greeted Sara and me when we disembarked from the exciting three and a half hour cross country Sumatra bus ride from the Chevron Rumbai camp to the Duri camp (more about the bus ride later). What this place lacked in monkeys it made up in hospitality.
We were met at the station by school principle Jeff Crawford and whisked to our guest bungalow and then walked to his place for dinner with his 1st and 2nd grade teacher/wife Susan.
What followed was three days of classroom workshops and a couple assemblies. The schedule was perfect – that opening assembly makes so much difference in that it allows the students to learn a little bit about us before we come into their classrooms.
The Duri organizers split our assembly between the little guys and the middle school. The elementary were scheduled for our first day and the older kids for the last. This was a good plan but Sara and I worried that the older kids wouldn’t have had a chance to meet us before we came into their classroom the first two days of work. So – true to any great educator they improvised – the older kids joined the first assembly for the first 15 minutes or so and then split off. We continued on with material specific for the younger crowd and then were able to present another show aimed for the older guys later I the week.
Again, this was a little school with big ideas. We got to see each class three times and really got some good work done. I even got some poetry out of the 3 year old pre-K class by taking them out on an image gathering expedition armed with iPads. people that know me should get a good chuckle out of the image of my working with these tiny folk. One of my favorite memories is a kindergarten student asking me if I was angry with them. My voice was too loud and deep and sounded scary. I assured the guy that no way was I even slightly upset and he chilled out.
Dinners were had in teacher’s homes and we laughed and marveled at what a small world it is as we shared stories of our mutual travels and of the friends we had in common all over the globe. Sara even had a glitch repaired on her computer that had been previously worked on in Kuala Lumpur. Turns out the guy who looked at it here (who you will meet in a later mountain biking post) had worked with the guy who worked on it in KL and had inside info on the custom configuration that was causing the dilemma. Like I said – small world.
Sara and I also got to test drive several of our projectable lessons and we were happy to see them perform satisfactory – but we are going to add some tweaks once we get back.
What doesn’t need tweaking though, is the atmosphere that permeates the Duri campus like the aroma of orchids. Thanks for a great visit!