In June and July 2016, 4 Red Nose kids (Wahyu, Akbar, Rijal and Indri) spent 4 weeks away from home, representing Indonesia at the Brave Kids Festival in Walbrzych, Poland.
Led by our two teachers and former students, Wawan and April, they had an adventure they never imagined before. Below are some highlights, taken from both the students’ travel diaries and their responses to the Brave Kids Festival participant questionnaire.
Q: What was your reaction when first Red Nose told you that you would go to Poland?
Rijal (R): I had no idea of travelling overseas, and it was only my second year at Red Nose. So I was surprised, yet so glad!
Wahyu (W): It was a break during a show at IKEA when Ka Dedi (Red Nose Artistic Director) told me about this. I was lost for words. I could only say yes but in fact I was blank. Once I was home and I told my parents, my mom got overjoyed and screamed happily!
Indri (I): Surprised. I couldn’t believe that. I then asked my parents… They were really happy with this and I became so enthusiast since then.
Akbar (A): I was very surprised as many other students do circus better than me. But I was also glad and so enthusiastic! Anytime I was visiting an Internet center, I took my time to browse about Poland, and got more and more excited.
Q: How was your preparation then? Were there any difficulties?
A: Learning traditional dance was totally difficult! Ka Adhim (Red Nose Arts Supervisor) always reminded me to move better, as I looked like a dancing robot! Ha ha ha!
W: It was challenging. I had to practice a lot, as well as traveling across the city to apply for a passport and visa, and many other preparation details.
I: Practicing acrobatics is so difficult, even more I was appointed to be the base for Rijal’s juggling. I was so scared that I couldn’t keep my balance and made him fall.
R: At the time of visa interview I had flu, giving me an ugly photograph with a real red nose on me. (Smirk)
Q: And how did it feel when it was time to depart?
W: I was over excited! I couldn’t wait to see how another country looks like!
A: On our way to airport there was a bad traffic and I was starving. It hid the fact that I was actually nervous.
I: Even until boarding the aircraft, I still felt nervous. It then got better when the flight attendant served me chocolates.
R: Just before arriving at Jakarta airport my Dad got his eyes teary and saying” Is it a dream having my son flying abroad?” I was so touched yet motivated to make my parents proud!
Q: After a long haul flight, what was your first impression about Poland?
W: I was so excited to see snow for the first time in my life, just before a volunteer finally told me that it was summer in Europe. Too bad! Even though, the weather was pretty cool and windy over there. I always had my jacket on.
A: Poland is quieter than Indonesia, but is cleaner. The persons had also better behavior in public space, such as in queuing, waiting at bus stops, or disposing of garbage.
I: I hardly adapted to the local food. There wasn’t even any rice there. Early on, I always left my meals unfinished. After a few days, I started to get used to the food.
Q: How would you describe your relationship with your Host Families?
W: They were warm and kind farmers who treated me like their own son. They even trained me to plow using a tractor. It was exciting!
R: At first, I felt awkward to communicate with my host family. But they were very friendly, so I started to enjoy my stay with Akbar and the family.
A: Our host family loves sports very much. Mathieu (their only son) often asked Rijal and me to play soccer with him. There was also the European Cup happening in France at that time. I watched a match between Poland and Switzerland on a giant screen at a park nearby the house. We all had a party when Poland won the game!
I: I met Gabriella, the daughter of my host family and she was just like my own sister. Every time I had spare time, she always asked me to play tennis, catching butterflies, or hiking around. On my last day in Poland, she cried and hugged me tight, as she didn’t want me to leave. The family also gave me a box with our photos in it.
Q: What did you think about the participants from other countries?
W: I loved learning Samba from our Brazilian friends. It was a powerful dance that made me feel like doing exercise. I also liked the traditional dance from Poland with cheerful background music. I then asked to copy the music file and taught this Polish dance to the small kids at Red Nose
A: I learned characteristics of many different people. Our friends from Nepal for example, they had great perseverance, while the Brazilians were humorous. All in all, they were nice friends who loved to share. I felt so lucky to know them.
R: They didn’t seem tired on every training or performing session. I was much influenced by their spirit and I felt the enthusiasm in me as well
I: I learned to say “Hello” in many different languages. So anytime I met my Brazilian friends for example, I greeted them “Ola” (Hello in Portuguese) and they answered me “Halo” (Hello in Indonesian).
Q: What was your most memorable moment in Poland?
W: Having a picnic in a city park with all the kids. It was such a spacious and clean park. Then Wawan and April asked me to do some acrobatic moves together. The other kids watched our actions and they applauded
I: Hiking to a castle. It was exhausting to hike up the hill after a train trip, but when we arrived, it all paid off. The castle was a bit scary but beautiful, and the city view was wonderful!
A: Playing trampoline. At first, I was scared of falling down. After trying it out, I knew then that it was totally safe. I enjoyed jumping high so much. Hopefully one day Red Nose would have its own trampoline.
R: Nutella party with all the kids from many different countries. We not only enjoyed the foods, we painted one each other’s faces using the chocolate spreads! All laughed aloud.
Q: What did you learn most from the journey?
R: I have become more confident. Before this trip, I was mostly silent. Red Nose teachers have reminded me many times to speak up more. In Poland, I started to get used to chat with people, even in English!
I: I learned to raise my confidence to perform in front of the crowd. Before going to Poland, I had only a very limited experience with circus performance. So I was nervous to do a performance in Poland for the first time. Luckily, the good response I got for the first show successfully boosted my confidence and motivation!
A: I then knew that the world has a lot of different cultures, which are all unique! I was so happy to witness it myself.
W: I had to talk to my friends and the committees in English, so I am now more confident with my English.
Wahyu’s mom: Indeed! I can no longer check Wahyu’s social media as there are many English messages from his friends that I couldn’t understand.
Q: So, after the Brave Kids Festival, what is your plan?
R: I want to make my parents proud. And the trip makes me believe that nothing is impossible!
I: I am so proud with this experience and my sister (5 years old) made me her role model now. She just registered herself for Red Nose, saying that she wants to travel overseas as well. So I have to be more responsible.
W: I have to be more serious with my education and reaching my dreams!
A: Well, who knows when I grow up I will be back to Poland or other countries in a different capacity. I am so motivated to do so.
As you just read, the experience in Poland had a deep impact on the children and their families. This can be seen in their responses to experiencing greater confidence, making friends from around the world and stronger motivation to do better with their education.
Bright futures await!