Day 10: Iman

After yesterday’s fun day out at the pekan and Taman Sorinsim, I was ready to start teaching the kids again and making the best out of my last few days with them. Since this was my second time back at Teringai, I knew how heart-wrenching it would be to leave them behind yet again. And admittedly, I could feel myself starting to feel sad already, knowing the end of the project was coming fast. We didn’t have any classes with the Year 6 students until 11:50AM on Mondays. So, I spent that morning prepping for the upcoming lessons with the student in my group (Aimie, Ronodit & Edry) and helping to finish up our mural at the student “asrama,” which was part of our annual Projek Keceriaan this year.

Painting the mural at the student accommodation building

Instead of our usual lessons, we had a Health & Hygiene workshop today. During the workshop, we taught the students the proper method to clean their hands and wash their teeth. Sadly, we weren’t able to make the workshop as interactive as we had hoped because there was a severe water shortage during the second week of our project. Hence, we chose to conserve the limited water we had instead of using it for the planned demonstration and “teeth-brushing” activity.

Luckily, the kids were still excited about the workshop because they were each given a dental hygiene kit – all thanks to Colgate Palmolive who generously provided them for the beneficiaries of Project Teringai-Tumunda.

Besides teaching them about basic hygiene, we also taught them how to treat minor cuts and wounds and ensured they knew what to do in more dangerous situations. This was something new that we chose to implement this year because last year, so many students injured themselves and their cuts got infected because they didn’t know they had to clean it.

Students during the Health & Hygiene workshop

At night, we went continued our usual extra lessons with the students.


Ronodit brought along his “rumah semut” to class tonight. He named one of the ants in here Kilau.

For my lessons today, I decided to recap all the things that I taught Aimie, Ronodit & Edry during the previous week. Although they didn’t remember everything, I was happy to see that they could answer most of the questions I gave them without much difficulty. Still, I couldn’t help but question: what is it that I’m really leaving behind for them? Is it only lessons about how to multiply and divide, or all the conjunctions and pronouns in the English language? Is this all I have to give them?

And the answer is no. I wanted to make sure they understood that it’s okay not to understand. That is part of learning. I wanted them to understand that yes, you can be frustrated, upset or angry when you’re struggling to wrap your brain around something, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from trying. I needed them to understand that they shouldn’t be ashamed or afraid to admit that they didn’t understand. That it’s okay to say, “Kakak, I don’t know” or “Kakak, I need help.” I needed them to believe me when I said “you can do it.”

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