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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

English Camp

We spent three days and two nights at an all English speaking campout! I had fun. The students had to repeat the phrase: “Enjoy the game, catch the knowledge. Okay.” It was accompanied with special hand signals.

Sixteen students from my school came with me and a few teachers to the English Campout at the Madrasah (Islamic High School) where another Peace Corps volunteer teaches. Angela’s school had sponsored this event for their 11th grade students for several years, but this year they invited my school to participate too.

The students set up their tents (8 kids to a tent) on the grassy area where school assemblies are held. Some groups had brought their own cooking and washing equipment. They decorated their tents with pictures of the President of Indonesia and multicolored banners. They brought their costumes for the English drama contest. They brought their guitars and drums for the English talent competition.

One evening Angela showed the beginning of the movie, “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” then she stopped the action and the students wrote their own ending to the story.

One night we had a huge bonfire. It began with fireworks fired from the 4 directions and was complete with a flaming ball on a wire that was designed to carry the fire to the giant pile of kerosene soaked logs. As the fire roared, I was invited to throw little baggies of kerosene at the fire and admire the resulting fire spectacular. Angela and I sang and taught the kids “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.”

The 12th graders, who had attended the camp last year, were in charge of all the activities, including a neighborhood navigating adventure where the students made up poems in English and each small group marched with English instructions and answered questions like: I have sharp teeth, I have a long tail, and I live in swamps, what am I?

I helped judge the speech contest. The students had memorized 10 minutes of English literature or any speech that they liked.

They woke up at 4:00am for the prayers that begin the day and then had calisthenics and breakfast. The other students at the Madrasah were attending classes on Islam teachings. The ones at the English Camp had a full schedule of activities. I really liked the drama competition where the boy groups put on plays where they portrayed women and the girl groups put on plays where some of them had mustaches and swords. I was exhausted long before they were when the program ended at 10:00 or 11:00 each evening.

There was a vocabulary race. The different tents competed with each other in finding all the words in different categories – “jobs” or “animals” or “tools” or “fruits.” There were hundreds of laminated words in cardboard boxes and the students had to pick out a word and then race to another table where the words were checked for accuracy.

Here’s the schedule for one day:
4.00 – 4.30 Pray Subuh
4.30 – 5.30 Gymnastic
5:30 – 6.30 Break and Breakfast
6.30 -7.00 Prepare To Exploration
7.00 – 12.00 Exploration
12.00 – 12.30 Pray Dhuhur
12.30 -13.00 Happy Lunch
13.00 – 14.00 Drama
14.00 – 16.30 Games
16.30 – 17.00 Pray Ashar
17.00 – 17.30 Break
17.30 – 18.15 Pray Maghrib and Kultum
18.15 – 19.00 Great Dinner
19.00 – 19.15 Pray Isya’
19.15 – 23.00 Fire Camp and Art Performance
23.00 – 4.00 Fly to Dreamland

I had brought a stack of English magazines and activity books for the students to enjoy in their spare time. I have to say I was ready for vacation by the end of this wonderful experience.

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