One of the children, Tony, is working as a surf instructor at the nearest beach so we promised him we would take a lesson last week. We had breakfast as usual with all the children at 6 am, said goodbye to some of them as they went off to school and took a taxi over to Kuta Beach. We found a Starbucks (so I could get my soy milk!) and met the nicest Aussie man named Peter. There are so many Australian people here! We ended up chatting with him outside on the terrace for an hour as he filled us in on some Bali tourist tips. He even introduced to his two “adopted” Balinese children. Peter also helped us locate a Balinese cell phone so we could call our families. He told us to give him a call if he ever needed anything and to pay him a visit when we come to Australia. So glad we met him. We then headed over to the beautiful beach and had a great rest of the morning. Surfing, sun bathing and of course getting harassed by the locals on the beach coming up every five minutes or so to make sure we indeed did not want to buy a sarong, a towel or receive a pedicure. We’ve gotten very good at haggling, Bali style, which basically means they look at us assume we are dumb Americans and charge 150% more than what the article actually costs. 10,000 Rupia is equal to $1.25 American dollars. Most things don’t cost more than 50,000 Rupia. Taxis, sunglasses, meals etc. It’s all wonderfully inexpensive. We’ve been back to Kuta beach a few times now bringing some of the children along with us. We took them out to lunch after, lunch costs us $25 for four people. The children thanked us profusely after we arrived back at the orphanage. They are so amazing.
The kids are so polite and thankful for anything we give them. I of course brought tons of DMC threads and embroidery floss with me and dole more out each day. They get so excited and gobble up the threads, thanking me over and over again. Even the boys faces light up and get busy making bracelets and anklets, using manly colors of course.
Last week I taught the children how to cross stitch. It was only our first lesson and they definitely seemed to be able to pick it up. I just had them do practice stitches using DMC Mentor Kits – cute little kits that DMC makes that has everything you need to complete your cross stitch project. Aida fabric, needle, embroidery floss, instructions and a chart. I taught them how to find the center of their fabrics, stitch rows of cross stitches, start their threads and end their threads. It warms my heart when I left the orphanage tonight to steal away to an internet café and I see them in circles stitching away and chatting happily. Each time we leave at night, which during the week we limit to once or twice a weekday, we get cries of protests, “Where are you going Ali-son and Mell-in-Da?!” I love it here.
We had a wonderful weekend in a place called Ubud, about an hour north of Denespar where we are staying. It was an amazing weekend, we met so many interesting people, spoke of philosophy, politics, religion. Saw the monkey forest, rice paddies, batik painting and weaving, a Balinese fire dance…so much more. We were fortunate enough to make some new friends that had motorcycles and they took us around each night so we could see all of Ubud. More details and pictures coming soon from this weekend. We may or may not have broken into our hotel the first night when we arrived back at 5 am to a locked hotel gate, details later.
Despite the fact that we barely slept this weekend – we arrived Monday early afternoon and dove right in to our classes and activities with the kids. I held a painting and drawing class with these amazing water color, colored pencils and chalk sets donated by Jerry’s Art Supplies and acrylic paints donated by Plaid. I handed out print outs of fish and underwater creatures (thanks Moma B for the idea! My mom happens to be the best art teacher in the world, really though) the kids loved it and had a blast drawing their selected sea creatures out and coloring them in with craypas, pencils and water color paints. I showed them shading and blending techniques, how to use water colors which they loved, how to blend craypas, and how to shade and get depth by building up color using colored pencils. I tried to sit with each child individually and walked them through how to best sketch out their fish and plants, looking at the basic shapes and drawing those out and then going in afterwards to fill in the details. The artist sets from Jerry’s were so great to have, the glitter paints from Plaid were also a huge hit with the girls. The kids had such a blast using the new supplies, they were very special gifts. Thank you Jerry’s Art Supply and Plaid! You made these kids day!
Mel held a Hip Hop dance class last week to the song of Push It. The girls loved it and were able to get most of the moves down pat. They also learned how to tut and we were impressed by how easily they picked that up too. Yesterday after art class Mel taught a ballet class to the song from Lion King, a fun free style ballet dance. She had received lots of donations from dance companies and handed out ballet slippers, jazz shoes, tights, leotards and t shirts for the girls courtesy of the sponsor Free Style. Mel was interested to see how eager they were to learn different styles of dance, not just hip hop snince at first she thought they may only be interested in that. The girls take to corrections and listen. Its so cool to see them learn with their eyes and helps us reinvent our teaching styles to better appeal to different senses. It really re-defines the term visual arts.
We are both having an amazing experience here teaching the kids, but I think we are the ones getting taught the most. Ubud post coming soon!
PS more awesome friendship bracelets are being made each day 🙂 I may try to set up an Etsy store for them,