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My Time Volunteering at Titian

February 2nd, 2019

From the 27th of January till the 1st of February I was able to have the immense privilege to be able to stay at the Titian Foundation in Bayat and be able to meet and work with the most amazing, positive and friendly people. When arriving first at Titian I was greeted with a warm welcoming and massive smiles, and am so grateful to have had the pleasure on meeting Mbak Nurul, who had helped and looked after me during that past week.

Bayat itself is a very special place. Only an hour away from the hustle and bustle of Yogyakarta, it’s amazing to see the breathtaking scenery full of lush vegetation, and be able to bike ride among the villages and up to mountain to see an astonishing panoramic view. The Titian Foundation is situated amongst this, with its clean and vibrant colors of the centre definitely makes not only the learning, but also the teaching environment so inviting and lively. It was so sensational to see children from the village come in everyday to either read a book, to play with the toys, to color and make origami, or even to go on the computers in Titians very own computer lab.

What author Rita Mae Brown once said, “Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going,” resonates with the children’s interest and dedication to learning new skills, especially the English language. The kids are so positive and excited to come into Titian to learn. I am especially so grateful to have had the opportunity to interact and teach the kids English, with the help and guidance of Mbak Nurul, to witness the progress that the kids made by the end of the day was such a highlight. It was also such a privilege to have met the Alumni students and be able to offer my aid and encouragement about studying abroad, how to write essays and motivational letters. It was so gratifying to see Titian’s heartening guidance towards their students in motivating them to further pursue a University education.

Not only was I filled with gratitude to assist Titian that past week, but I was also able to learn about own Indonesian roots from them, by not only through the practise of speaking Bahasa Indonesian with the locals, the staff and the children, but also learn how to make Batik patterns on wood, go to the market early in the morning to buy fruit and tempe and later on learn about and how to make special Indonesian cuisine, (especially Tempe goreng – my favourite).

To the Titian Foundation, you have made my heart feel so full. Thank you to everyone that have looked after me and for this monumental opportunity. This experience has been so eye-opening and a life-time memory that I will never forget. I look forward to coming back very soon.

(Aliya Bella Penn)