By Penny Bunting, EBPP Expert Volunteer, June 2014
“What do you hope to get from your experience working here?” the East Bali Poverty Project (EBPP) Volunteer questionnaire asked.” To give rather than get”, I responded.
The reality is, I have gained far more volunteering at EBPP than I could ever hope to give.
My name is Penny Bunting and I am a New Zealander, 9 weeks into my 13 weeks of volunteering as an English Language Teacher in the 6 primary and secondary schools in Desa Ban. An old Maori proverb best encapsulates my experience here:
He aha temeanui o teao
What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people. It is the people. It is the people.
In a world driven by consumerism this is often forgotten.
The first requirement of a teacher, I believe, is to have a genuine interest in your students. In the English Language Programme here, we are focused on being ‘student-centred’, being innovative and creative with the few resources we have, to develop lessons that are both relevant, fun and motivating. “If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.” As teachers, it is our job to ignite a spark of determination, a love of learning that will empower students to develop their potential.
The world is rapidly becoming a ‘global village’ and English has become the key language of communication. While for many children in remote villages, English may seem irrelevant, as the use of the Internet increases and tourists encroach on accessible villages like Cegi (to view Mt. Agung), the ability to communicate in English will enable local people to have more control in the development of their own areas. To this end, we are teaching English to not only the children, but also run classes for all the EBPP staff in the afternoons. This has given me a brilliant opportunity to get to know other staff members, while having loads of fun as we negotiate the intricacies of the English language. Reciprocating in each other’s language is important for all of us.
Many kind people contribute to EBPP through donations of money, goods or time, but in my work here in East Bali I am reminded of Maya Angelou’s words,
“People will forget what you said.
People will forget what you did.
But people will never forget how you make them feel.”
EBPP through its work, is making the people of Desa Ban feel valued. The smiles I receive every day from the children and staff I teach and work with,make me feel valued.
Thank you David and everyone involved with EBPP for this wonderful experience and the opportunity to live in a piece of paradise.