Habitat for Humanity – Final Post

The day started back at the site where our group split into two, one to do cleanup around the site, and the second to pull more nails out of wood. Soon after, a third group was formed to move piles of wood out of the way. The jobs that day were a lot of clean-up and preparation for the next group coming in on Saturday as sadly it was nearly time for us to leave. At this point, the roof was nearly finished and the support beams were being taken down to allow work on the next building stage.

Nearing a break, the group was called over to the Romanian school we have been building next to. It was here where we truly got to understand the reason for all of our work. With Adi to translate, we met a worker from the school who told us of the severity of the situation involving the children at school. This building taught grades 1-8, a smaller range than our own school, but at the same time, in a significantly smaller space. We counted 5 classrooms and one more classroom that was converted to a gym still with its carpets, chalkboard, and teachers desk. We learned about the olympic accomplishments of Romania in gymnastics and the children’s love for football and tennis, although they are not always able to play for lack of equipment.

The already small classes dwindle by the end of 8th grade with a 50% dropout rate, parents become less interested to keep their children in school, despite the compensation of 30 Euro a month up to 8th grade, and urge them instead to get jobs and get married. Instead of highschool, these children are starting adult lives at 13 or 15 simply because it is too expensive to continue learning. Because of this there are only two highschools in Buftea and not a single college. The first highschool teaches agriculture and industry while the second is technology based. For learning skills outside of highschool, there is the option to go to community centers where admission fees are high, the classes are too big, and the students don’t end up learning much. The result of all of this is limiting the possibilities to the generations of children.

Now, in case there was any doubt of the potential of the children here, we were introduced to a young boy who goes to kindergarten in the area and recited a 99 verse poem. Not only did he recite it word for word, but he understood it. He raised his voice and hands to express the emotions. A six year old, learned this off of YouTube alone. And we saw the potential of these children who are held back from their education.

Our mission in this building was to provide a safe and reliable place for these children to go after school, after work, or whenever they can to learn in proper classes the skills they can use to stand up for their generation and change their country run by an unjust government. The government that despite claiming democracy and freedom, still requires cameras in every classroom by law. A government that refuses to spread it’s funds equally. Adi told us of how Romania has everything anyone could want, a full four seasons, a seaside, beautiful mountains, and a common quote: “Romania is such a beautiful country, it’s too bad its populated” We want to change this through our community center, and are honored to be a part of this amazing project.

Ellison & Pritha

Habitat for Humanity – Day 5 in Romania

Today got off to a late start as we got lost in traffic leading to us being well over an hour late at the building site. We then played a game called Shaolin Master in which everyone would have to strike one of four poses and then if anyone had the same pose as the leader they would be eliminated. This ended in a tense final between Derin and Pritha in which Pritha won.

We then started working on site with everyone’s first task. For the boys, it was cleaning the worksite of small bits of wood and wires. The girls then split into two groups, one removed nails from planks and the other group cleaned.

The main challenge of the day was once more the extreme heat, which made every job much more difficult. For the boys, who were carrying wooden beams from the second floor to the ground as well as metal support beams, the heat made being on the ground floor extremely tiring. We had to take a few extra breaks to rehydrate due to the heat. By the end it was satisfying to see the work that we had done.

 Another challenge for some was a small dog named Bella who would love to play with us. We had to make sure she was not in the way whilst we were working. This is why I consider her a challenge that had to be worked around.

The girls mostly spent their day removing nails from pieces of wood from the concrete casing, which the workers were breaking throughout the day. One of the girls labeled the work as ‘therapeutic’. The work was mostly done with crowbars and hammers. At one point the boys joined in on the fun! The other group of girls mainly helped clear the site at the bottom. Overall everyone had fun and worked to the best of their abilities on this very hot day.

 By Derin and Pietro


Habitat for Humanity Romania Day 4

Hello beloved parents and others interested, It is us- Mercy and Gaia – reporting to you live from Bucharest, Romania.

Today was an eventful day. The epic Grade 11 Habitat for Humanity students started off their morning with an even more epic breakfast, ranging from fruits and vegetables to sausages, which are supposed to be a local delicacy of sorts. Waking up was hard for many as much of their energy had been used the two previous days of INTENSE work. But alas, it did not bring their spirits and motivation down! By 9:17 the students found themselves once more at the building site!

Work started after a quick ice breaker (called ping pong), which their dear classmate Anika won. Thus, they proceeded afterwards to continue the tasks that they had been assigned. Two people worked on sanding down floor boards and adding varnish. Another group pulled out nails from wooden planks, a third painted more wooden planks with protective liquid (which went to be used as a base for the roof of the building) and another group worked on lifting planks to the roof.

Then, it was lunch time. The tension in the air was clear, as all opened their styrofoam boxes in what seemed to be slow motion, anticipating the food and hoping, no, WISHING, that it will be edible. A collective sigh of relief was then let out when the proteins of the course were discovered to be chew-able chicken, and the vegetarian option was actually seasoned. This, however, was only the beginning of the surprises that followed suit.

For the past days, there were rumors spreading like a wildfire through the group of a surprise coming. Right after lunch the group was called to assemble and were told that all the rumors were TRUE! The surprise they were waiting for was a journey into the unknown lands of Buftea, full of stray cats and dogs and a green haven in the middle of the city.

The group started by making their way through the town of Buftea and headed towards Ştirbey Domain, which is a palace that used to be owned by the local royalty.

There they saw an adorable alpaca and some amazing peacocks (and a cat. Very important.)

They also came across a stunning church, which stood tall against their small bodies, eyes gazing upwards in admiration.

By the time they were all back, they went to a colorful, cheerful Turkish restaurant and ordered a plethora of food, as expected after a long day out.

Note: Bella’s fandom was greatly disappointed in her absence on site today

Habitat for Humanity – Day 3: Productivity and Water Melon

The day started off pretty early like usual; with a full healthy ROMANIAN breakfast. Everyone wakes up and gets ready and meets downstairs in the hotel lobby. We then took our party bus with the blue and red lights, which hyped us up to a small town near Buftea called Buciumeni. Like usual we got our helmets on and our gloves, we talked strategy and we jump right in. But before we jumped in, we did an energizer to really get the blood flowing.

What came next is how we were split up. We were spilt into 4 groups. The boys were working on moving wood, some of the girls were painting, some were sweeping on the top floor, and some were hammering nails all the way until lunch.

The biggest highlight for everyone was seeing our beloved Bella (the dog from yesterday) come back to us. We initially thought something might have happened to her. We were so excited to see her looking fresh and healthy; and most importantly alive.

A highlight we have encountered every day is how kind the construction workers are. Even if they don’t speak our language (for some of us), they still tried to help us and explain as well as possible. Luckily, not only did they speak Romanian, but they also spoke Italian. Seeing as we have an Italian boy student, and a girl that speaks Romanian, it was easier to communicate with them.

Lunch today was not a highlight. We didn’t realise that bubblegum came with meat flavour but the effort was appreciated. The dogs, however, were very enchanted by the delicacy.

After lunch, we switched tasks. Some of us managed to complete the task faster than others; or more accurately a lot faster than the others.

We had another well-deserved break in the afternoon where we all enjoyed some cold fresh juicy watermelon. Some of us more than others, seeing as even now there are traces of watermelon juice after the watermelon eating competitions; Giulio was the clear winner for those interested!

 And Ms. Mechkova sure did love her watermelon!

Habitat for Humanity Romania Day 2

Today was the first day of construction work. The 12 students and two teachers were split into groups of five.

Each group was assigned different tasks. The first group was tasked with removing nails from wooden planks. Once they finished, the group helped remove water from the flooded lower level of the building.

The second group constructed cement armaments throughout the day.

The third group covered wooden beams with water and rot resistant paint. Towards the end, individuals from all groups joined together to secure small and large wooden beams which are to be used for the roof of the building.

Throughout the work day, we stopped for several breaks. During these breaks, we enjoyed cold water, lunch, and other snacks. We also met several dogs that followed us around the worksite. They were so cute!

Once the workday ended, we enjoyed dinner and some chose to bowl. Others looked around the mall and some went back to the hotel. Overall, everyone had a fun day!

 By Anika and Janne

Habitat for Humanity – Romania Day 1

On Saturday we arrived in Bucharest, Romania. We were surprised by the hot temperatures of +30 degrees. We were picked up from the airport by our Romanian Habitat for Humanity supervisor. We received an introduction to our project.

After dumping our luggage at the Hotel, we went into the center of Bucharest. We had a quick walk around the town and had some dinner. After dinner, we went to the Street Art Festival, which was a different experience, as well as being very interesting way to experience a different culture. After being very exhausted from the travel and the trip to the center, we went back to the hotel. 

On Sunday, we got to know Bucharest way more than expected thanks to the help from Adi, our guide. The most fascinating part of our day was being able to see one of the biggest buildings in the world which was the Palace of the Parliament, built by Nicolae Ceaușescu who was the last Communist leader of Romania. It is more than 250 metres wide and long and has over 1,000 rooms.

We learned so much about Bucharest as a whole and it was fascinating to hear all the stories about past events such as the revolution. Something that was also interesting was figuring out the amount we actually walked. We surprisingly walked near 20 km on the day along with a few hop on hop off bus rides. The bus rides were a perfect opportunity to see the beautiful city of Bucharest.  Seeing the contrast in the areas was so interesting and it really showed how affected the city was by it’s past. We also went on the metro a few times in order to get around the large city and to save us from even more walking.

We went to the Senses Museum which was located in the largest mall in Romania. The museum was interesting as it messed with our senses and created illusions.

To top off our tiring day we went to a nice restaurant by the lake. This weekend was a nice way to get us ready for the 5 days of hard work that we are about to encounter.

By Giulio and Taylor

Unser Ausflug zum PH Garten

Am 6. Juni  2019 besuchte Klasse 1 den Garten der PH Heidelberg. Die Kinder gingen über die Brücke und nahmen den Bus. Dort warteten Studenten auf Klasse 1. Klasse 1 durfte Tiere aus dem Teich käschen. Die Kinder durften die Wassertiere durch das Mikroskop anschauen. Danach sammelten die Kinder Kräuter und machtenKräuterquark. Es gab leckeres Brot mit Kräuterquark und Pfefferminztee. Am Ende liefen Klasse 1 den gesamten Weg zur Schule zurück.

Es war ein toller Ausflug.

Written by Grade 1

Photos by Steffi Staeves

Gut gemessen ist halb gewonnen!

Immer schneller und weiter – Students in Grade 6, 7 and 8 attended a Sport and Technique Workshop and Exhibition at the Technoseum in Mannheim.

During the workshop students took part in practical sports activities learning different ways of measuring sporting performance.  They then had to use their Math skills to calculate average scores and draw graphs.

In the exhibition, the students saw several exhibits and learned a little bit about the history of sports measurement and took part in some interactive activities measuring their sporting performance.

Well Done everybody!

 Mr Knowles

Heidelberg Heritage

Grade 7 Field Trip

Grade 7 students went on a field trip about heritage, where they explored the different traces of heritage, like landmarks or memorials, that they can find in Heidelberg. Each student had a landmark to talk about, and they gave a brief history of the landmark and how it relates to Heidelberg.

They began on the Alte Brücke, where the Heidelberg Schloss and Philosophenweg were visible. 3 students then gave a brief presentation about their respective landmarks.

Somewhere along the trip, they stopped at the Heidelberg university, where presentations were given about the Witch Tower, the University, and the Heidelberg Disputation (Martin Luther).

They then made it to the Kurpfälzisches Museum, where they were given a talk about the Romans, how they relate to Germany, different bits and pieces of pottery, and how they buried the dead. There was even a recreation of what an underground cult base could have looked like in the past.

They eventually found themselves at Bismarckplatz, where a short presentation was given about Bismarck. The students then dispersed for a while to grab a snack.

After a fun time at a Spielplatz, they trekked through the mud and arrived at a WW1 and WW2 memorial, where they respectfully gave their regards to those whose lives were lost during the wars, young and old.

That concludes the field trip, it was really interesting taking a step back in the past, and seeing how people used to live.

text: Grade 7 student

Junior Mathematics Competition Vienna

This weekend, 4 students from MYP went to the Junior Mathematics Competition in Vienna. A total of 40 schools with more than 200 students participated in this event. The competition consists of 3 parts: an individual competition, a team competition and a “chase’.

Unfortunately, none of our students won any prices, but as the host of the competition said: “There are no losers, only people who didn’t win”.


I really enjoyed this trip. I got to know a lot of interesting people and I saw a few familiar faces. All the students in the competition were interested in math, and it was fun to take part in the whole thing.


Very, very cool trip. I got to meet so many talented minds from the international community. The experience to train and challenge myself in a competitive setting really helped me growing terms of mathematical literacy.


I enjoyed going to the ISMTF math competition, because it gave us an opportunity to meet people from all over the world who have one common interest, mathematics. I was quite nervous for the Sunday Chase, as we were teamed with complete strangers, but it turned out amazing and by the end no one felt like they lost because we all gained something from it.


I think this trip was a great experience for us. We managed to meet people from all over the world, build friendship. I would go again, if the opportunity ever comes.


text & photos: ASZ