The children have also started to water the plants in the school garden; a task formerly done by staff members. “We never thought that it could be of interest to them and that they could participate,” Tai says. “Now, children water the plants every day, using the water jugs they bring from home.”
Yufen notes that there are other new projects that have brought fresh life to their school. “We made our own attendance boards,” he says. “We made them from recycled materials like used plywood, paper and plastic. We made it together in class. When we come in to the classroom, we mark our arrival time ourselves on the attendance board.
“In every class we also have an honesty box. It is made from used carton. It teaches us to practice honesty. If we find a pen, we put it in the box. If tomorrow morning, someone is looking for a pen, he or she will be asked to look for it in the box,” says Yufen. “Once, I lost my book. The next day I checked in the box and I found it had been put there by my friend!”
Yufen also likes to play soccer with his friends after school, but his village doesn’t have a soccer field, so they play in the garden. He hopes his school will get a field one day. As for the future, Yufen would like to be a soldier. He often visits the soldiers at the border post between Indonesia and Timor-Leste.
“The soldiers teach me how to be disciplined and polite, just like our teachers do,” Yufen says. “My favourite soldier is Farid; he is a soldier from East Java. He once gave me a school bag and has played soccer with me many times. He also taught me how to play volleyball. I was sad when he was stationed somewhere else.”
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