They first school we visited was the school at the JAVA lumber mill site in the town of Keningau, about 2 hrs. away. There are over 120 Indonesian children in this school. They had a real tragedy about two months ago. They live in apartment type homes with many families in many apartments in a single building. The building is made out of very old wood and is certainly not safe. One family was frying some food with oil and started an oil fire which quickly spread and burned down the whole apartment complex. Five hundred families lost EVERYTHING. What a traumatic experience. I felt so bad for all of them. The JAVA mill who owns the housing, had all the other families whose homes were not destroyed take in one or two other families. There can now be as many as 15-20 people in one small two bedroom (?) unit. So tragic. Kathryn went up to visit the school and housing the day after the fire and said that the children were mostly worried that they wouldn't be able to attend school. Since the school wasn't harmed, school continued as usual.
Here are pictures from the JAVA school closing:
The next day we headed over to the town of Beaufort, about 1 1/2 hours away.
They sang one of the 11 patriotic Indonesian songs they are required to learn. The little girl on the left was the leader and she knew how to lead music.
I just love the expression on this boy's face. It says it all. And the girl behind him too. You just have no idea how thrilled and excited they were to get their new backpacks, school supplies and hygiene kits. It was like Christmas, except they don't celebrate Christmas because they are Muslim.
Our group: l to r David Liew, Elder's Quorum President KK2, Bro. Melvin, Branch missionary leader, a teacher at the school, Sis. Alisia in the RS Presidency KK1, Sis. Caroline from KK1, me and another teacher.
Our next closing was on Nov. 12th in the Village of Telupid. We had to fly to Sandakan to get to this school. It was about a 2 1/2 hour drive out of Sandakan. The Sandakan branch president and his wife, Elder and Sis. Lee (who are also full time senior missionaries) a member from their branch named Jeffrey and the counselor in the district presidency went with us.
Their teacher and their motto. The teacher is Indonesian also.
The children prepared several dance numbers and songs for us. They had really worked hard to have a good program. When we presented their backpacks to them, they each handed us a thank you card they had made. So sweet.
The group. My niece Natalie was able to come and spend a week with us and go to this closing with us. It was so much fun to have her with us. She is on the back row left in the blue shirt. Thanks Natalie for coming with us. I will blog more about our trip with Natalie later.
I hope we will be able to visit these schools again some time and see how they are progressing. They all have wonderful, dedicated teachers and Kathryn Rivai who cares so much about them. The children in the schools range from the age of 4 on up to 18 or 19. It is usually the first time the older children have been allowed to go to school, so they are in learning the basics with the younger ones. We kept telling the older boys especially to stay in school and get an education. So many times they are pulled out of school by their families and made to work on the plantations for the money. It is so sad. They want to learn. Some of the older ones will even come in the evenings and meet with the teachers to try and learn then.
We had a great week. I hope yours was wonderful too. I will blog about our visit with Natalie next. I HAD SO MUCH FUN WITH HER. God bless you all. Keep sending us emails and updates. LOVE YA ALL
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