Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Week 3: Classrooms, Rain, American Football

Each night after dinner, Dwiwarna puts loaf after loaf of the above sandwiches along with boxes of Milo for a night snack in the boys' dormitory. The 'sandwiches' are always heavily buttered and filled with chocolate paste and chocolate sprinkles, cheese, or some kind of flavored jelly. Students and security guards alike take the sandwiches and peel them slightly apart before adding loads of Milo. I'm not sure what Milo is, but it doesn't exist in the US and they absolutely love the stuff here. It's a chocolate type milk sugar powder made by Nestle. When I eat it I get visions of men in labcoats designing addictive chemicals to add to the chocolate powder for kids. The security guards and students dump piles of the powdery mystery onto their already smothered sandwiches.

During orientation, we spent alot of time discussing the larger classroom sizes in Indonesia and their attendant difficulties. At Dwiwarna, however, classrooms remind me of my private high school. All of them have air conditioning. 12 students or so is the norm. They have Smartboards, which are advanced enough that I had never even heard of them before coming here (basically they are giant touch-screens that if you have the right software you can use as a touch-screen computer projector). I have only seen them used this way once or twice at this point so it seems like one of those features that is more about bragging rights than actual usefulness, but who can really say. All I know is I (and even moreso the students) am extremely privileged to be at this school:

I miss the seasons for sure, but I love the rain here. It is almost always accompanied by massive thunder and lightning. And it rains HARD. The kind of rain you can just sit for a half an hour and watch and listen, not doing anything else. Hopefully it will keep me mesmerized for 7 more months. Also worth noting is the weather pattern with rain isn't like in the Northeast. It is almost always sunny in the morning. If it rains, it usually rains in the afternoon and maybe on into the night. Here's a picture of the main school building area in the downpour:

There is a large group of students at Dwiwarna who love American football (even though they don't really know what it is). They will even get together to play it after school - but usually only in the pouring rain. Playing football in a torrential downpour with massive thunder and lightning didn't seem like a good idea at first, but it really grew on me. Here's the main area, much of which is covered in little ponds of water, where we play football:

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