Inspired Words

These are the experiences of our volunteers in Bali.

Day 3: First day of work at the Orphanage

Posted in Bali on February 17, 2012

Today we get started on what we came here to do. Breakfast is punctual as we are all excited to get to the orphanage. As is usually the case in these parts of the world, pick up time is 08:30 plus or minus 40 minutes, usually plus. Eventually Wyan, a short, round smiley Indonesian arrives to collect us. The drive to the orphanage was longer than expected, a further testament to just how far off the mainstream we have travelled. The drive is the usual circus of cars, trucks and scooters until we break from the main road. The orphanage is in a Christian district of the island, with more affluent looking homes as well as cleaner, well maintained streets (we use that term loosely though). The steep un-kept driveway opens up to a beautiful courtyard/pavilion with two sets of dorms on the phalanx. We arrived to find most of the children at school, avoiding the anticipated herd of little hands and feet surrounding the vehicle. It was nice to ease into the environment. The kindergarteners, having only one hour of school a day, greeted us with no apprehension whatsoever. Based on their experience with the set of DWC visitors, they assumed we were all Canadian; just what an American wants to hear after traveling 9000 miles. The boys are a team of three, the most notable being Gasper and Axiel. Both the age of five, they are the youngest. As the week progresses, we learn they survive by sticking together with just about everything they do. The girls are Micel (Michelle), and a couple others that are too shy to meet us the first day. Micel is completely the opposite. Before our feet can even touch the ground she has latched on to one of us in a way that could impress an octopus. The rest of the day she is going, doing and holding hands with all of us. Lastly, we meet a German aid worker who has been teaching English and helping day to day operations for the last five months. Her grasp of both the English and Indonesian culture and languages never stops impressing us the whole time we are here.

Next on the agenda is a two hour orientation/Q&A session which takes as many minutes to accomplish. Bathroom here, work over there, coffee under here. It takes the first week for us to completely understand what exactly we are helping to build. Today we busy ourselves moving large and small rocks from one side of the complex over to the other where the building is being constructed. Newcomers to the DWC experience are eager to get the process going and are looking for any efficiencies they can exploit. It is a race to see what wins you over first, the ambient conditions and heat exhaustion, or the realization that to the Indonesians, time is not the most precious asset. The workers on every level here do a good job of balancing work with rest. It is too hot and humid for even them to work as we would expect in western society. Time is on your side, take as much of it. Forty minutes feels like two hours, and that’s when you’re in the shade. You feel very under productive taking so many breaks, but the locals insist on stopping regularly. By the end of the day we have moved two moderate piles of sand and rock as well as destroyed two wheel barrows (one person). Lunch is with the children; it is what you would expect from a boarding home. A large bell is rung and the walls of each dormitory seem to open up and spill out children big and small.

This afternoon was really hot and we are slowly learning why things don’t “move” quite as fast as back home. One of the first Indonesian words we learned on the job site was "plean, plean"…which means slow, slow or slow down. We are all looking forward to a cool long shower and many hours of sleep.

Tommy Marx
DWC Team Leader

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