I’m an Angel visit to remote Songan Bali school

9th March 2011

I have put off doing this one as i just don’t know where to start, only swear words come to mind!

Golly gee these people are living in Gods country man, they are so high up and remote, I just shake my head when ever I think of how they manage day to day, for memory approx 10,000ft up, f. knows how they stay alive!  Sometimes I think in order to better understand them i need to stay with them a few days, not sure I could manage to be honest.

I have gone on many visits to remote communities with I’m an Angel Network,  this is yet another example of the amazing work Viebeke and her team of Angels do.

The day began with us meeting at Dunkin Donuts in Sanur as we take a donut for each child in the school we are going to visit.  All loaded up with supplies we are now on the road to Songan, today we are joined by Emerald from New Zealand who has come to see what IAA does.  Along the way we meet up with the pilot vehicle (a 4 wheel drive jeep) and get to Kintamani volcano where we veer right toward Mt. Batur.  view over the market gardens to the lake was incredible, several villages along the edge of the lake on the other side only accessible by boat.  Viebeke pointed out we have been to the highest village on the other side of the mountains behind these villages.  A spectacular view and a crushed chest i remember from our day at Madia with the Bali Aga people.

Just when i think i have been to the most remote village in Bali, Viebeke comes up with a new one and Songan was certainly no exception.  FAR OUT that was a tuff one.

We met up with a couple of young architecture students at the Pura Hulundanu Batur Temple, already fairly high up with a volcanic rock landscape.  They are doing a community development program in the area so they have something on their resume.  They don’t get paid and so are called ‘ngi’s’ (non government individuals).  They would be our guides to the school as this was the first visit by IAA.  The IAA team assess the condition of the community through the children in the schools.  This is always the entry point of IAA.  Further up, up, up then to dirt.  JEEP FIRST, then our loaded up van. After a couple of re run ups we made it to ‘base camp’, by now we are almost at cloud level and the view down to the lake, simply beautiful, really was a feeling of being in God’s back yard.  okay, cars unloaded, bikes loaded and the journey is about to begin!  Emerald and her bike riding genius took of in front, with Emerald in her beautiful dress, silver sandals and Hermes handbag (now safely tucked away in a IAA kids schoolbag and over her shoulder).  I have a huge dice under one arm and I am hanging on with the other. UP UP UP, over large volcanic rocks, through ravines with paths as wide as the bike tyers.  these motor bikes are going flat out just to get up the mountain. I was laughing hysterically all the way as all i could hear from n from was F..K, Jesus F..N CHRIST< F>>N F>>K F>>K, is was absolutely something i will remember with a huge smile for the rest of my life.  Through my laughter i managed to yell out to Emerald “do you feel a little over dressed now!”  “F..K, Vieb could have warned me” was the screaming reply.  Thing was, this was our first visit so we did not know either!.  At the time i remember thinking i had never had so much fun, clothes on or off!  Never before have i looked up at clouds just above me then rode through them then they were below us, simply amazing and spiritual feeling.   5kls and 30 mins later we arrived (alive thankfully) at Songan School.

Here is our journal from the day so you can see exactly what we found

Jurnal 9 Maret english

In summary, just to explain a couple of things.  IAA make full assessment on the day.  Viebeke speaks to the community leaders and explains to them that we will provide our program for one semester.  Depending on how it is received, it may continue.  The kids will receive sport uniforms from IAA on next nutrition visit.  And the cement, well, if they want the benefit of the IAA program they must make it so we can get there!

It is a big job getting 85 serves of Nasi Bunkas (rice, small amount veg and small amount fish, wrapped in banana leaf) out to the kids all at the same time.  Then on to the school bags adding milk drink, boiled egg, vitamin B tabs, and a choccy bar to the outside pocket.  Class 1 might have different learning content in their bag so first class 1 then class two then class three.  And they know what is happening by now and want their bags.  Also their are many things to get through.  Viebeke, Program Director of IAA, speaks with the kids, we are introduced by name and we say where we come from.  After the school bags are handed out with only a small riot (kidding) it is donut time.  most of the kids had never seen one but they knew it looked good.  I had to get help from the teacher to get one last little boy to take one, he was terrified of the ‘something new’.  i took finger puppets which Emerald and I enjoyed singing and playing with to amuse the kids.  IAA donate a large environmental awareness based snake and ladder game to the schools so this was set up and played in the unused classroom next door.  (you see in slideshow) and hence the large dice under my arm going up the mountain.  It is a great learning tool and also teaches IAA how much understanding the kids have and next visit we will see what they have learned and how they are progressing in their awareness.

YEP, that’s right, the Government have built another class room but they do not provide desks, chairs, black boards or any other necessities so amazingly it sits idle, difficult to imagine i know.  Just crazy.  85 kids in one room while that new room has to sit and rot for what would probably cost around $1,000 to furnish.

Anyway, while up at the school the bloody rain starts and gets heavier and heavier, we begin looking at each other in horror, ‘oh shit’ was the general comment going around.  This went on for sometime before someone says “I’m walking back down”, yep, yep we all agreed there was no way we were going to get back on those motor bikes and go straight down the god damn freaking mountain in the wet.  the locals are slipping and sliding over so we didn’t feel confident at all.  I enjoyed a great discussion with a man who spoke fairly good English about the Tri Hita Karana and it’s concepts (whole nother story/post )and about how things can get in the way of living truly to the THK..after some time he asked me if i was on Facebook!  you could have bowled me over, here we are, way way above the clouds and some old priest guy asks me if i am on Facebook.  I told him no but perhaps now after this i might!  He takes my email and promises to send me email.  still waiting….the teacher gave a long speech to thank us for coming, he cried saying no one ever go there, not even the Government.

Before we know it we are back on these bloody motor bikes and are heading off back down the mountain.  How it happened i still have no idea, as you do in Bali, we just got on and hoped we would make it.  This time we had some idea what we were in for so were REALLY scared now.  We went up around the tip of one side of the mountain and back around and down the other in full circle.  All of a sudden out of the ravines i looked left to a view all the way down the mountains of green around us, even managed to snap me and the bike driver while we hooted along at great speed on the edge of the ravine.  Never have I seen a more spectacular view, sheer beauty, Gods canvas and she has kept the very best for her own back yard.  I later asked my friend who is a tour driver why he never takes people to that area. In my 20 yrs going to Bali I had never seen it, and I felt this is the Bali tourists should see, this is the real Bali even I had missed.  My friend told me it is too far!  Unbelievable those Balinese, but that is exactly why we love them!

The ride down the mountain was hellishly terrifying and again I laughed all the way.  Was like a wild ride from Dreamworld.  My bike driver yelled out and asked if I was scared, asik asik  I yelled back (fantastic, fantastic).  at one point we came to a massive drop and i thought for sure he would stop and we would have to walk down somehow but no, he just went f….n faster didn’t he.  I crushed into his back, shut my eyes and shut my mouth and f….kn prayed, I kid you not.  Now to get down the hill we also had to at some points go up hill, again flat out these poor bikes were going when our Angel jeep driver is left standing, legs apart, while his bike and driver keep going, so funny, but quick he’d better get off the path here we all come.  Trying to go around him my driver flattens it and takes off in the grass.  Of course we didn’t get far before he loses it and over the bike goes, he is trying to hang on to the bike and i am trying to get off the bloody stack without getting a Bali kiss (burn) from the red hot exhaust. Still laughing though!  Our crash stopped everyone else so we all walked a bit before getting back on to have yet another go at getting killed on a motor bike in Bali!  Wonder if my insurance covers trail bike riding too?

Arriving back at base camp i am shaking in relief getting off the bike.  I crashed and lay out on a pile of timber.  Now, let me say, i never drink on days out with IAA, too busy then too tired usually and don’t want to have a toilet stop, BUT today, soon as Emerald said the beer word i thought, yep, me too, i’m in.  Keys?  Oh no, we had forgotten the driver, poor Andy was left up the mountain and with him the keys to the van, and the beer!  Disaster, quick someone go get Andy.  Felt like it was the longest wait for a Bingtang………I thought at the time what a great idea to market this type of days outing in Bali.  Adventure and Service Tours or Karma Tours.  I would love for people to experience some of the joy i get from my days with Viebeke and the entire I’m an Angel team.  I always feel honoured to be able to contribute.  And i hope they make use of the concrete real soon!  Oh and I now have a Facebook account! ha ha

excuse the quality of pics, now know how to use the camera and i am not always photographer

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Next we are off to deliver the two wheel chairs I brought from Oz for Restiti and Alit along with the two Barbie dolls my dear pal, Mr. Bloody Ron of Sanur Beach Villas kindly gave me the $ to buy to give to the girls with their chairs……….come with me on that amazing journey next…..and this is all in one day guys….yee haa!

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