Jerry and I joined Green School at the same time three years ago. He and Lee Wood—already left—are the people I like most since the beginning. He is an excellent teacher, especially in reading and math teaching. His impressive skill is behavior management; no matter how difficult the children are, they will behave better under Jerry after one year. For example, Holly always had been extremely difficult to the kindergarten teachers; once I saw her make one teacher cry. But, within one semester in grade one, Holly is one of the sweetest students. By the way, she and her sister Bella (grade 3) love me much, always hugged me whenever we met.
I knew Jerry much better when he started raising funds for our foundation. He is a shy person, but he was not shy to say loudly “Bake sale, bake sale. Donation, donation. All money will go to Dr. Ating Foundation”. He also sent mails about our fund raising to all staff and the parents of his grade. He posted our activities in the weekly news. And, he put his own money into the donation jar secretively; he bought tarsier T-shirts for students with financial aid and left-over popcorn for his students.
Jerry has been involved in the foundation since the very beginning. He proofread my website draft and contributed great ideas in various stages. He even created a song that his students sang for me in one assembly. Without Jerry, we might have gotten no money at all.
A parent of Arlo, Zeb, and Silas, Nikki voluntarily wrote an article about our foundation in one Australian on-line magazine http://issuu.com/ember-magazine/docs/ember_issue1_issuu (page 72 – 73). It was well written: brief and clear.
Gabriela is Mom of Myrah, Aileen and Anais. She was the most enthusiastic parent of grade one in the bake sales. Aileen brought two big containers of popcorn one week ahead of the schedule of the bake sale. Gabriela contributed a lot of excellent ideas in the project development. She also donated a lot of money by buying many tarsier T-shirts and leaving me used clothes and toys plus medicine.
Kimberly and Michael Harrison
Calais is one of the students I know very well within a short time. She was a regular visitor of my clinic, but mostly during the breaks. She is a chirpy and smart girl; it seemed she “sang” a lot about me at home. I took her to BIMC Hospital for a broken arm bone once.
Through Calais, I developed good communication with her mother Kimberly. We shared our views on the education of children and environmental issues. She knew well about our project in Sulawesi and wanted to support it. She saw a win-win solution when her husband Michael Harrison needed someone who knows well about Papuan provinces and people.
Michael asked me to help him establish a good relationship with the indigenous people around his project site. In return, he will help me to save some money for my Sulawesi project. The tasks are not easy because the modernization and political decentralization have changed the sociocultural condition of the Papuans. Their values have changed, mostly negatively. Their behavior has become unpredictable to some extent; they are easily violent for trivial reasons, especially under the influence of alcoholic drink.
Although I wanted to run the Sulawesi project instantly, I had to be realistic. There were no adequate funds even for startup. Michael’s offer was the best option available. I have a good impression of the couple; I have known both Kimberly and Calais for some time; and I love Papua landscape and its innocent, simple Papuans. I took the offer.