10 MARCH 2011
Never being enough time in Bali it is now my last day and I had not yet had the chance to see my dear friend Ujang’s son Mayday in his new special wheel chair kindly donated to me by the Apple MAQ Lions Club/Aid and Relief Centre in Brisbane. Mayday is 4 and suffers Cerebal Palsey.
Ujang insisted I go with him to see his work. He works for VSO (Volunteer Services Overseas) a UK based charity arranging necessary permits, licences, visas etc for volunteers from the UK. He needed to collect a wheelchair, I had no idea where we were going but as you do in Bali I simply got in and called out to my friend Kerry to “get in, we are going?, somewhere?”.
40mins later we arrived at Senang Hati Foundation in Tampaksaring, Gianyar. Senang Hati meaning Happy Heart. This is an oasis for wheelchair bound and disabled younger adults. There are 30 inhouse residents and they do their best to service approximately 250 outside.
Ujang introduced Kerry and myself to his friends. We were asked to tour the facility by Ayu, himself in a wheelchair. Ayu’s English was perfect and he explained everything from the dorm room set up, how many sleep in a bed, the multi purpose room and it’s many functions, then to the hair and beauty salon, my goodness, what a fantastic arrangement, they not only do the residents hair, they have the support of the local villages some of who also go to them for their haircuts so they make a small income from that. The therapy room with many many sets of unusable crutches simply as they do not have stoppers! Easily solved that one! Kitchen area was spotless. Ayu then took us to the heart of the foundation, the office. It was so professional it put my own set up to shame. Putu, Dayu and Ayu explained their roles in the foundation and showed us the display on the wall of the structure of the foundation. Unfortunately Mr. Vernkork Laurence of Australia who was a founding member is suffering Parkinsons Disease and is unable to provide assistance as he once did. I was left with no questions to ask, they explained everything so well both Kerry and I commented on their perfected speil.
I explained my association with LARC and asked what was their greatest need at present that would assist them in their endeavors to be completely self sufficient. Parts, I was told, they are desperately in need of front wheels and spare parts of any kind for the many, many damaged or broken wheel chairs. Then they told me that even more than the parts, what they needed most was someone to train one of the in house residents to repair the chairs. Thus creating a job, more chairs and more self sufficiency. Fantastic thinking, Ayu explained that they all truly wanted to be as self sufficient as possible as they did not want to become lazy by getting handouts, this just confirmed their vision and mission are correct and will take them forward. I could have given him a big hug and cried. I love that kind of thinking, he had me already. I was amazed at how clever he was, seemed so well educated, just very clever I think. I must say i was quite set back to be told the many medals along the wall are for weight lifting!
Okay, time is short, next to the gallery, a lovely bright large room where they display the huge number of artworks, top quality jewellery, shoes, recycled bags from soap and coffee packets, crocheted goods, I can’t even remember it all, it was just wonderful so see them so productive. Auy pointed out a huge 3x2x2ft bundle of beads to be made into jewellery for a lady selling them in Europe! I have brought back a couple of sample pieces that are precious to me as Ayu made the bracelet himself and the bag, well just look at it, how great is it and of really high quality. I am having them made in our Coles green bag size so look out for those coming soonish! Bali time!!…I am more than happy to take orders folks.
They told me they have learned much about office procedure through volunteers but not anything about marketing their products. Hhhhmmmm, another one to go in the “toDo” box.
On my next visit to Bali I plan to stay 3 months. I would love to allocate some time to assist Senang Hati in the production of a compost system to feed their lovely gardens. I will also distribute cartoon books to show the benefits of this and how to do it. I can explain the government incentive to buy back plastic bottles etc by the kilo which the residents could collect via and from local areas. These cartoon books kindly donated by I’m an Angel Network. The books will also be taken and distributed on field trips to outside members and beneficiaries of a visit from SHF and the concepts and lessons therein explained to the local children. We all want a ‘Green Bali’. Yea!!
My mission now is to have our dear wheel chair mechanic Les to agree to a 2 week trip to the ‘Island of the Gods’, to take spare parts and appropriate tools for repairs and to train a Senang Hati resident to be sufficient in repairing the wheel chairs for themselves and making more chairs available to the 250 people not fortunate enough to, not able to, or not wanting to be an in house resident at Senang Hati (Happy Heart) Foundation.
Help them, help to themselves. And herein lies the answer.
sorry about the quality of some of the pics, you will be glad to know i have worked out the camera now!
And I still have not seen Mayday in his chair!!!!hours running out, check out ‘Mayday and his new wheels’ story,
Watch this space for the next exciting chapter of the Senang Hati Foundation story……..