Possibly the coolest part about stretching my legs and leaving the safety of the True North Strong And Free is that I meet some amazing people. Actually, sometimes it's a bit overwhelming to be surrounded by such cool people and realize my biggest concerns are that people at work didn't notice I shaved my beard. Sigh.
Well, one such cool person is Gionata, or as the Dalian crew came to know him – John. John, you may remember, stayed with Maggie and I back in February. He stayed with us after contacting me through GlobalFreeloaders , and after a couple weeks continued on his journey. And what a journey, as he's trekking around the world on his motorbike (read more about it at his site).
I've stayed in touch with Gionata via MSN over the past few months and just got word that he's in Indonesia. Recently he stayed with a Mr. Mucsin, who offers free room and board (yeah, that's food) for English speaking travellers as long as they help out at his in-home English school while they visit. Travellers are welcome to stay as long as they like, and are apparently well-appreciated (you caught the bit about free food right?). Here's a bit more from Gionata's blog:
Mr. Muchsin and GEC
Mr. Muchsin has built this school with his own hands and he offers his students the big opportunity to learn English.
He also provides a room and his whole house to all those tourists and travellers.
Since yesterday i'm a guest in his school.
I don't have to pay for rent, food neither specify a limit of time for my staying. It had only been required me to offer my contribute in term of teaching English and to spend some of my time with Mr. Muchsin students.
Every tourist is more than welcome here, with no obligations.
I would like to donate Mr. Muchsin some of my money, as i did in Cambodia, because of the education and the delightfulness he shares with his students.
What a fantastic win-win swap. As Gionata mentions, he is looking to donate to Mr. Muchsin's school and unique concept himself. He also provided the school's address (below) for any people that feel this is a cause they would like to help support. I'm sure any donations would be accepted – English language books, school supplies and of course, cash.
Jalan Pemuda Laut, Gg. Kemuning No. 21
Dumai, Riau, Sumatra,
Phone (0765) 7007546
And if you're in Sumatra and in need of a place to stay … look Mr. Muchsin up. Here are a couple photos of the school. Notice the difference in what Gionata is teaching and what Mr. Muchsin is: