Wednesday 14 November 2018. I am sitting at Bali’s international airport and cannot wait the moment I will meet at the neighborhood island my Slovakian friend Maja and the volunteers from the Czech Kintari foundation. Before this happens, my patience is tested by the traditional Indonesian transportation, nothing works here as it should. My plane with a 3 hours delay, a very high price for 25 minutes of flight between the two islands. Ok, it still does fly, that is important, or at least it looks like it does… With a ferry it would be much worse and swimming with a 23-kilo bag on my back, I am not going to try that out (of course not, just joking). After an hour of waiting, the impossible happens – departure. Thanks God I didn’t decide to kill the time in one of the airport restaurants. Welcome to Indonesia, either your flight gets cancelled or the changed time is being changed again. Take it or leave it, don’t complain, it won’t help you at all.
Finally, I am landing at Lombok. For dinner I am meeting the group of six “brothers and sisters” from Czechia. Main coordinator Jakub and 5 lectors-volunteers. My friend Maja from Nitra stopped working for Kintari only recently. After the dinner both Slovaks and Jakub go for a beer, Jakub is the “oldest” Czech on the island. He is the main Kintari coordinator, in addition he is a great tour guide too. I am getting to know how the day to day life on the Muslim island runs. Our volunteering life, their Muslim life. How for example a stranger can kidnap a woman he has selected before and after that goes to her parent’s house to “buy her out”. Once they agree, he can start preparing the wedding.
At the moment almost the whole Kintari squad is indisposed: Bara has an issue with her ear (barotitis?), Petr with the tooth, Míša with intestines and Tereza had a motorbike crash, her teeth and knee don’t look the best. This is the price for volunteering at the other end of the world, here you never know, what is going to happen to you the next day. If you didn’t fall from the bike yet, you are not really living here. Indonesian test of fire. Although there are obstacles at every step, our volunteers seem to be happy and smiley all the time. They stick together, and that is the most. I can feel how great this team is, even though they don’t know each other for years. People in such situation with such mission don’t need to know each other for years.
The Kintari activities on the island are since many years focused mainly on teaching English in the elementary school and kindergarten in the village Ngolang. Few hundreds of children get a chance for a better future. We are visiting them the very next morning, after we discuss at the breakfast about the earthquake from night and about my morning run with the Kenyan professionals. I cannot say much about the first one, the earthquake of 5,2 Richter scale which hit Lombok and Bali I slept through. The beds were shaking, people running out to streets, but Slovaks were sleeping peacefully (Maja did the same). Luckily, nothing serious happened, no one died, all houses stayed on their place… My earthquake was supposed to be the morning run with Kenyans, who raced on the island one week ago in a half-marathon – there are two of them left in the Kintari homestay, one of them is the winner of the race. You don’t want to hear about his winning time, you would be challenged on the bike already. Since they are moving to another race just before the weekend, they don’t train, but only jog. Their jogging is my faster run, their average run is almost my training maximum, when I don’t train the intervals (4:30 min/km). Experience for every penny! Well, the next morning also for more pennies, after eight kilometers I must jump into the bushes… you can’t take the napkins with you for your runs in Asia, they are immediately sodden. Crouching down and hurrying up, beware of people, snakes, scorpions, spiders… Luckily, the only one watching is a sleepy dog on the other side of the road.
The kids welcome us with unseen huble-bubble. Every single one who can scream, screams. They jump, laugh, yawl and ask all the time “how are you” and “what’s your name”. These are the phrases everyone knows. I reach to my bag and their eyes shine, how big their disappointment after I take out my camera only. Lollipops will come later, otherwise they would kill me and learn nothing. How bizarre and funny it can sound to us, but for these kids a lollipop or a pen can be a few-days-experience.
The kids are divided into four English classes, based on their language level. The age is not important, you would find seven years old sitting next to twelve years old. Our lectors start. During their stay at Lombok, which is usually 3-6 months, everybody teaches the same class, otherwise it doesn’t make any sense. Although the teaching takes only one hour a day, the preparation takes another few. A full-time job, only very little time for the beach left. But still some time for the beach left. The biggest respect Petr has, maybe because he is a man, maybe because he teaches the best students. Everyone loves their kids, even Míša who inherited a boy only class!
While walking through the classes, I am thinking about the language skills and future of these kids, if there would be no Kintari. Unbelievable, how much work the group around Jana Wolfová did at Lombok. Kintari is not only teaching English, they also drive regularly to the areas affected by the latest earthquakes in August. The island is recovering only very slowly and Kintari organizes help for the local people, from food to other things very important for their daily life.
In addition to the elementary school in Ngolang, Kintari also supports the kindergarten in the same village. This has been built directly by the foundation few years ago. Some very little kids, who are learning the hard life lessons in their very early age. For example, one girly with a skin problem, beaten by her own father, therefore so scared every time he picks her up from the school. Tyrans all over the world, also here. It is very touching to see, how the same kid happily watches the classic of our childhood, Pat and Mat. Pat and Mat in the middle of Indonesian jungle!!! The day finishes again with lollipops, it’s not ideal, but we couldn’t get apples. The kids are running out to the jungle and we jump on the bikes, to find some peace at the beach. On the most beautiful beach I have seen so far on my journey I will swim a bit. Every kilometer counts, every kilometer for Kintari.
Should you decide to join and support Kintari, you can do so via their Czech bank account:
Praha 6 – Jugoslávských partyzánů 12
If you don’t have a bank account in Czech Republic, you can also send the money to my Slovakian account. In both cases please use a comment „Runeller – Kintari“ in the comment section:
About other ways how to support Kintari you can read here.