Day 4: Carmen Ng

Day 4 was the first day of having a full schedule. It was also the first day where I met all three of my kids! I was lucky enough to get the kids which understood English the best in class and I was grateful that they were still engaging with me even though I couldn’t speak a single word of Malay. In the first session, I had to gauge their English level so I made them read a story book and to my surprise they really enjoyed the session; we jotted down the vocabularies they’ve never come across and also they did a lot better than what I expected. I felt accomplished that they enjoyed my session and got something of out it.

Besides teaching, we also started to work on our mural for the school which is located in the Astrama this year. Most of the heavy lifting was done by the guys since they were tall enough to reach. We started painting over the original colour of the wall so we have a clean canvas to work with. 4-5 is the kids’ playtime and we are requested to join them to play catch and volleyball. It’s the time when the kids are the most lively and you can see that they really treasure this time especially because suddenly this bunch of kakak and abang came to join them. Even though it gets super sweaty, it’s worth it being able to bond with them and seeing their happy faces.

It’s really hard to expect everyone to settle in fully by the second day. As a foreigner volunteering at this school, it’s such a far stretch to what I’m used to, the humidity (without air con), the mosquitos (was the worst), showering in the river was all scary and new to me. But after spending the first full day, I realised you don’t really notice these things in the process, you forget about the fear and discomfort because the focus shifts to preparing for the next class, slipping in a nap in between class, play time with the kids and always, what are we having for dinner!

Looking forward to the upcoming days when I become closer with my kids and also seeing them grow in knowledge. It’s been a rollercoaster so far and I cannot wait to see what is yet to come!

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