We work at the grassroots level throughout the Muslim World to counter violent extremism before it takes hold, to promote tolerance and understanding, and to foster better relations with the United States.
As part of our 2014 School-2-School program, Creative Learning has partnered Ms. Andi Webb and the students at Alderman Road Elementary School in Fayetteville, North Carolina with the Sukma Bangsa school in Aceh, Indonesia. The Sukma Bangsa School, one of our partners in 2013 School-2-School program; was founded for victims of 2004 and Aceh’s internal conflict. Andi Webb is an award winning K-5 instructor who, in 2012, was named Alderman’s Teacher of the Year, as well as North Carolina’s Elementary Social Studies Teacher of the Year. As part of this program, Ms. Webb will volunteer in Aceh, Indonesia for the next two weeks.
If you knew me well, you’d be really surprised I’m not more anxious right about now! I leave for Indonesia in just a few days to volunteer at the Sukma Bangsa school in rural Aceh.
The Skype sessions with the teachers, and the students over this past year have been nothing short of wonderful. We have laughed, cried, and learned a lot. As I think about what my experiences at Sukma Bangsa School will bring, I’m not completely sure what to expect. I have heard only good things about the hospitality of the people at Sukma Bangsa so I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone. I hope I don’t disappoint them!
Let’s see….what I am thinking as I prepare to trek to Indonesia? Well, I’m thinking I’ve got to finish everything at school, finalize the logistical “stuff” of traveling, try to rest some, and get my emotions in check. As much as I love to travel and meet new people, I begin to get sad about leaving home too. I’ll miss my home but am excited to see Banda Aceh. I am very curious to meet the beautiful, kind people I’ve talked with for months now. I hope we laugh as much while I’m there as we have via Skype!
Since we realized we all like chocolate and cookies, I’m coming prepared! I have Oreos, Chips Ahoy cookies, and Tootsie Rolls. I chose Tootsie Rolls so they won’t melt during travel. I’m curious about the foods I’ll eat while there, the mosques we’ll visit, Ramadan, what life is like for students who live at Sukma Bangsa, and so much more! I can’t wait to see the landscape and am interested to learn about the 2004 tsunami from the people who lived through it.
My biggest hope at this point is that I make lifelong friends in Banda Aceh. My previous experiences teaching and working with schools in other countries have left me with friends I still keep in contact with and truly feel like I left a piece of my heart with them. I hope I feel right at home in Banda Aceh and that I represent our country well to the people of Indonesia.