Day School, Bintan, Indonesia

Our first full day program on Bintan was run at a day school for several hundred children from villages surrounding Malang Rapat. We worked with a fourth grade class of about 45 kids.

The first task was to gather waste/recycle/trash materials for the days work so we headed out on a mini-field trip, across the road, to the beach which was already within earshot of the classroom.

We spent about 30 minutes gathering plastics, rope and netting from the sand and the high-tide vegetation. The pile we created was knee high within minutes, there is no shortage of the worlds trash on the postcard beaches of equatorial Bintan, Indonesia.

We washed the trash in the ocean then wrapped our finds in plastic bags that we found and dragged it all back to the school. Our two interpreters engaged the children in discussion about trash, where it comes from, how they are connected to it and how it effects the environment. We then shuffled up the dune to the road and back to class for some toy making.

Next step was sorting: bottles, caps, lids, bags, rope, Styrofoam, net, organics and so on. Then came the simple exercise of cutting plastic bottles into flowers, assembling cars and planes and allowing free expression using techniques of assembly, weaving, tieing and wrapping.

We had very few tools: a Swiss Army knife, some scissors and one pair of clippers... and a ton of kids. So we went back to the stone age and broke sea shells on the ground to reveal sharp edges which were used to score and cut the plastic. A few nails were found for puncturing with the added help of a round stone as a hammer. The children came up with most of the ingenious ways to manipulate the plastic which we learned is very tough and durable and will last on that beach, or inside a fish or turtle... for hundreds of years.

Using a large fishnet that we found half buried in the sand on the beach we strung up a presentation wall for all the kids to hang their creations after they presented to the group... everyone told of the thing they made, what it is made of and how they can prevent the material it is made of from ending up on the beach again!