School Starts Back
(an update from our children's charity)

This past Sunday I had the opportunity to attend one of Gede's classes which I've been wanting to do for a long time. I've taught in a classroom in Bali previously, and after meeting Gede and hearing about CPF I knew I had to see it for myself!

I've been with Gede to Kintamani and some of the surrounding villages before. The place itself is breathtaking. Cresting the ridge of the caldera (rim) surrounding Batur is one of those moments forever imprinted in my mind. A massive valley floor punctuated by blackened lava flows, forests, villages and the aqua blue water of Lake Batur. In the centre stands Mt Batur, an active volcano that dominates the landscape.

Descending the caldera into the valley you start to get a sense of the issues here. At this time of year things are dry. Very dry. Dust kicks up from the wind and vehicles and despite the cooler climate the sun beats down fiercely (I have the sunburn to prove it!).

Arriving at the school we are greeted by 18 smiling faces who rush to the balcony to see who is coming today. These are children, some of whom have walked many miles, who absolutely embrace any opportunity to learn. The ones in public schools have given up their Sundays to be here.

After introductions we begin class and I can see the results of what CPF has provided to the children previously. Children as young as 4 and 5 years old can count in more languages than I can! They relish the chance to ask questions and new words and sentences are written into their books without prompting from us.

At the end of the lesson Gede provides the children with presents. Toothbrushes and school books. The excitement and appreciation in the room was amazing. I've seen less excitement from people winning a car!

That's the striking thing about the people of this region. The thankfulness and enthusiasm to learn and develop skills that will hopefully change their lives in a positive way.

All too soon it's time to finish for the day and before the kids head home they politely shake our hands and say thank you. One child asks Gede whether I'll be back next week? Of course I will!

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