The farewell ceremony

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So the SLV mental health placement has finally come to an end. I’ve met some awesome people and hopefully have made some difference to less fortunate people’s lives in another country. It has been tough, I have been the sweatiest I have ever been (I honestly didn’t think people could sweat this much from the strangest of places!).

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(my homestay family)

So after a full day of our last projects. Sucking up the inevitable tears we got back to the homestay to get ready. Our homestay mum had given us traditional clothes to borrow for the ceremony- a kerbaya (the traditional top) a sarong and a belt which is tied over both.

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We got dressed up and our homestay mum came in and said she wanted to do our hair. We were ecstatic about this- I don’t possess the natural ability that some females have to do their hair. Hair done, clothes on, sweating to the max we were good to go. Then the heavens opened as per. By this point we were just so used to the inevitable downpour.

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(dancing with Grandad as usual- he’s taught me the best of my moves)

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(all of us volunteers)

So we wandered over to the art gallery next to our homestay. A stunning building. We were greeted with a coconut and the rest of the volunteers, dressed up to the max.

It was such a nice evening. We had a traditional Indonesian meal of rice, spicy chicken, fried tempe (like tofu- its soooo good), a few veggies. All the homestay families were there and the SLV staff. We did a bit of Indonesian dancing and finished with the ‘penguin dance’. This was in memory of one of our projects. Every morning the kids would assemble outside and the p.e teacher would lead a couple of dances. The penguin dance was one of them. It was a great sight every child knew the moves off by heart and got so involved, a group would stand at the front and lead it. Every time we were at this project we’d get involved too.

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We were then all given a certificate for completing the placement. Unfortunately after this one of our friends had to leave and get a flight home. She had checked her flight that day (fortunately) and realised that the flight was midnight of this night not the following night. This was a hard moment for us all, finally it was the end and we were all going to have to go our separate ways and say goodbye to the people we have been with 24hours a day for 4 weeks!

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In true SLV style we walked her to her car in a conga line of dance imitation. Dance imitation is something we did at the start of pretty much every project we went to. We’d put music on and make a circle with the service users, one by one we all took turns to lead the dance and everyone would copy. Service users loved it. Its great for self expression, creativity, self awareness, body awareness, confidence, self esteem, physical activity and enjoyment. It really has been a ‘leave your inhibitions at the door’ type of placement. Some evenings we would meet up as a group and brainstorm terrible dance moves to try the next morning- the sprinkler, the crab, the robot.. that sort of thing. But the best one was this girls- ‘the shopping trolly’. Basically she’d walk around with the trolly slightly unenthused and pick things off the shelf and pop it in the trolly, every now and then she’d double check something- head shake, and pop it back on the shelf. Simple! It was a classic. So we conga lined the shopping trolly to her transport and said farewell.

And that was that. A beautiful end to a fantastic but very tough month.

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