Category Archives: March 2011 trip

Restiti and Alit

9th Maret, 2011

After coming down from Songan School mountain we are now hungry and tired.  The morning we have had I didn’t imagine the day could get any better.

We arrived at the home of Restiti (19) and Alit (11) who live with their Mother and 3 sisters, Dad has left them.  They are also in Songan area of the Kintamani region (up near volcano). Their home is rather nice and clean, tiny of course, they even have pet fish.  5 Girls in one room, gee, they must argue!……..Restiti and Alit are propped against the wall in what i guessed was their usual place to sit all day.  I found it difficult to imagine they have never been out of their home, after meeting the family I can see it would be very difficult to carry the girls for any length of time and going out for a day would be impossible for them. Very sad, but that is why we are here today.

Today Restiti and Alit get mobile!Terima Kasih Mr. Ron

I have great support from the Apple Maq Lions Club here in Brisbane who donate the chairs and from the wonderful Louise of Virgin Airlines who grants extra baggage allowance in order for me to take the chairs.  Thank you guys for your support, together we do this, i am just the lucky one who gets to see and deliver.  A big thank you also to Mr. Bloody Ron (aka) The Lord Mayor of Sanur, who after hearing my story of the girls, and my desire to give the girls a new Barbie in a box each, kindly donated the money for me to race off and buy the dolls.  I am very grateful for the support of the many people who come together to make this all happen.  As i said i do not do this alone, it is a combined effort.

Okay meetings and greetings over, Mum in tears, more girls coming in to the home.  I was not aware of the three more sisters and now am feeling guilty i have nothing for the other girls.  I wondered if they might feel guilty that they are okay and their sisters are so disabled.  Mum is quite attractive as are her daughters.  As a mother i cannot imagine how helpless she must feel.  Sometimes in these situations i have to put a halt to the thinking and just get on with the job.

Restiti is busy making her Barbie kabaya’s and shows me her beautiful work.  I happily pay top dollar and buy a dozen of the outfits.  Great money for Restiti.  We are then shown Alit’s drawing book, WOW, what talent, her drawings are age appropriate but of very high standard.  Immediately i imagine a calender or packs of birthday greeting cards, these drawings are just beautiful.  Alit has nice pencils and drawing books but i’d love to see her go with paints.  Looking back I wish i had asked her to draw me something special so i could have it framed.  Next time…, also a paint set for Alit and something for the three sisters who probably miss out due to their disabled sisters getting all the gifts and attention.

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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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Mayday’s new wheels (and Squish)

10 March 2011

Well with only hours now until i am flying out we are now racing from Senang Hati Foundation to Ujang’s house to see Mayday in his chair.  Mayday was distressed upon seeing the chair for the first time (or maybe at the sight of ME!) so we thought it best to ease him into it slowly and not send it with him that day, Ujang came and collected later and was able to slowly introduce Mayday to the idea.

Flying traffic buzzing both ways, so close, cars, bikes, trucks, horns and a tiny little kitten stuck in the middle.  OH shit DEAR! 

STOP i screamed and like the crazy woman i am got out, ran into the middle of the road, mini skirt, no shoes, and now a kitten too!! YiPPiE,  not!!

Golly how tiny it was and just bones.  Jang pulled over a bit up the road and says “put it out here, it will be right”, I looked at Jang, looked at Kerry, Kerry looked at me.  no way was it going to make even an hour left out there.  NAH, sorry Jang, dont think so.  too far back to BAWA (Bali Animal Welfare Association) so Jang tells us no problem we will take it to the shelter near his home.  okay, we all agree to that.  a bit further up the road Jang is now patting, who by now i have named Squish and has said better we take it to his little group of families compound.  then he is minding it until i get back in June, by the time we get to his house, Squish has become a fully fledged VIP guest of the household.  i just hoped it could manage to survive until i got back.

Then i saw Mayday being wheeled out by Mum, oh my, the chair was made for him, it is simply perfect.Sitting up so straight and now more at ease. Until he saw me!, i am the scary lady who brings scary things! How proud am i to  be able to do this,  i am truly blessed.

look at me!

By now Chiqitita, Jang’s daughther has whisked Squish up, got him milk and not put him down. By now I am sure my new cat will be just fine!

Might not get him back though!  I had to apologise to Mrs. Jang, “i am so sorry but your wheel chair comes with a cat!”  we all had a great laugh.

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My visit to Senang Hati Foundation

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!

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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……..

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