24 October 2009

We spent a most interesting day with Simone Gerritsen and her kids from her school Kehidupan Anda or “Your Life.” The goal of Project “Kehidupan Anda” is to improve the education of the children in the village Tongkeina and the surrounding villages.

3 year old Kehidupan Anda school's colorful facade

Three year old school Kehidupan Anda’s colorful facade

We visited the school, which is a stone’s throw away from Thalassa Dive Center. We couldn’t believe our ears when Simone said the entire student body reached almost 400 kids from kinder to high school!

Kindergaten kids sing and dance for us

Kindergarten kids sing and dance for us

Simone Gerritsen with a high school class learning how to dive. Now where do you find a school in the village with diving as a required course???

Simone Gerritsen with a high school class taking a dive course. Now where do you find a school in a rural coastal village with diving as an elective???

School portrait with our big Panda flag. With a few hundred kids, our flag doesn't seem so big!

School portrait with our big Panda flag. With a few hundred kids, our flag doesn’t seem so big after all!

With Simone’s passion and pit bull ability to make mountains move, college scholarships have been found for three graduating students. Amazing. Now if we can help get the word out there that the school needs a language learning kit with headphones and the works! Anyone out there want to make a difference in a child’s life by helping them learn English? Please visit their Kehidupan Anda website and donate a language kit!

We went diving with six of the students and did a reef check in Bunaken Island. They had perfect bouyancy and were very good  divers! I was very very impressed!

Simone explaining the color chart to determine coral health to Dince, one of the scholars going to college!

Simone explaining the color chart to determine coral health to Dince, one of the scholars going to college!

Excellent divers, these students perform reef check to a 20 meter transect in Bunaken reefs

Excellent divers, these students perform reef check to a 20 meter transect in Bunaken reefs

A group photo with a beautiful jellyfish joining the pictorial

A group photo with a beautiful jellyfish joining the pictorial

Our dive buddies and reef checkers posing with us and our little flag!

Our dive buddies and reef checkers posing with us and our little flag!

Lest we forget Thalassa Dive Center and all the staff and dive crew that run this top operation, here’s a group photo as well with our Panda flag, which is getting dirtier with every use. I don’t dare wash this amazing flag as the black parts of the Panda are embroidered to the white parts. I’d rather it get dirty than “hole-y.”

Simone's Thalassa staff and dive crew with the Freund Factory

Simone’s Thalassa staff and dive crew with the Freund Factory

We would like to thank our gracious Dutch hosts Ineke and Jan of The 4 Fish Guesthouse for our stay. It was a lovely visit, albeit too short.

Jan and Ineke rebuilt this lovely guesthouse from scratch

Jan and Ineke rebuilt this lovely guesthouse from scratch