Here I sit in the principals office at just after 7am. Pak Hadi is busy on his computer, so I am enjoying some time to make a start on my blog for today.
My day began at 4:45am when I awoke to the sound of birds and the morning call to prayer. Bapak is a bird collector and just outside the back door are several large cages of birds. I recognise 3 of the birds; one is a sulphur crested cockatoo, one is a asian minor bird and the third is a bird of paradise! There is also a beautiful parrot looking bird as well as a smaller nondescript brown and green bird, the size of a large sparrow. The cockatoo sits free on a bird stand while the others are all caged and their cages are just below my bedroom window. The parrot and the minor bird are such good mimics.
Bu Sovia and I headed off to school at 5:45am and the roads are lovely and quiet by Jakarta standards but busy by Port Elliot standards! I have asked for bubur (rice porridge) for breakfast instead of having bread with Bu Siovia, so we stop on the way and buy bubur from a seller by the side of the road.
The principals office is cooled by an air conditioner which is set at a temperature significantly cooler than outside. His office includes a formal seating area as well as a desk, a large bookcase, a money safe, and photos along the wall of all the past and present principals.
On the table are boxes of food for us and a plate of fruit. In the box is a sealed cup of water, a straw, a plain cupcake, a ‘rissole’ (crumbed cold samosa) and ‘lemper (glutinous rice filled with a chicken stuffing & wrapped in banana leaf).
We begin with a short prayer, then welcome the special guests. This is being done by the Mandarin teacher who popped in earlier to the principals office to introduce herself. Such a great ambassador for her school.
We are now going to sing the national anthems of firstly Australia and then Indonesia. When I visit next time, we must bring the copy of the Australian anthem that we use at the PEPS assembly. The version we listened to was very formal and very slow! It would also be lovely to have PEPS students sing along with it
Afterwards, I showed the teachers and guests our school website, with the photo of the year 7 boys working in front of the Indonesian map, my blogs, which they absolutely loved, especially the song video by the year 7’s, and explained about our current ICT focus and was able to point out all the class blogs. The staff were all very impressed and while I was talking, I could hear some teachers humming, “Kalau Saya Kaya”! It i such a catchy tune, isn’t it Kathy (yr 7 teacher PEPS)?
I then spoke generally about our school and the Indonesian Language program that runs at Goolwa, Victor Harbor & Port Elliot Primary. To finish, I invited questions from the teachers. The questions were great. I was asked about student reports, what would be the total number of students we could host, are there classrooms for specialist subjects, where do we get our Indonesian resources from and also how do Indonesian teachers learn about Indonesian culture in Australia. For the latter they were very impressed that the SA government had allowed me to take extended long service leave so that I can travel around Indonesia to learn about the different cultures and customs here and then share my experiences with PEPS students.
Next on the agenda was the signing of the MOU to ratify the sister school agreement which already included Mr Hudson’s signature. This was immediately followed by a photography session with all the staff!
The meeting finished and teachers are now busy finishing reports ready for Wednesday when parents come to school to collect them. Teachers who are on top of their reports are socialising and look less stressed than those who are struggling to meet the deadline. Sounds very familiar doesn’t it!l
While teachers are doing that Pak Hadi has a desk full of reports that he is wading through. He has to sign each one! I think he was horrified to hear that our principal also writes a comment for each student as well as signing each student report!
While waiting, I peel a salak for you to look at. We don’t have salak in Australia. They grow on trees and are available all year round. The are crisp like an apple and have a large brown shiny seed in each segment.