This week has been a very busy week. I was back in the full swing of things again after being in isolation and quarantine for over a week. On Monday, we visited the Tanah Lot temple which was a popular Hindu temple and participated in a Hindu prayer with offerings. We also dressed up in our pakianadat that we bought because it was the only way to be allowed in to participate in the prayer. It was a beautiful experience even though I’m pretty sure I didn’t follow the prayer steps correctly. There was two holy snakes you can pay to touch which I did for good luck!
The next few days we visited the Bali Health Foundation and Rumah Berdaya. The Bali Health Foundation focuses on prevention and supporting those with HIV in Bali. It was interesting to learn about the history of the organization and what they do as well as the history of drug usage in Bali and how it later played a role in the transmission of HIV in the area. Rumah Berdaya is a mental health center where schizophrenic patients can receive free treatment. The treatment is fully funded by the government and there is an emphasis on family involvement as part of the treatment plan. The patients’ creativity is also nurtured rather than minimized so many patients partake in painting, drawing, making music, and so forth as an outlet. It was interesting to learn that some of the participants even created a band and that their music can be found on SoundCloud!
After that, we traveled to Amed and stayed at a beautiful hotel and learned about ecobrick building from Peduli Alam and participated in a beach clean up with local children from the neighborhood through Trash Hero Amed. We were also given the opportunity to try ecobrick building, and I was surprised at how much plastic you can stuff inside a water bottle. When it came to the beach cleanup, the kids were very energetic and collected a lot of plastic while simultaneously having fun and joking around with each other. I appreciated how snacks (various fritters such as banana, mixed vegetables, and bean sprouts and biscuits) and juice were offered to everyone after the clean up. I saw how happy the kids were eating and how some of them grabbed two or three of the fritters instead of just one to make sure there was enough for everyone else. It made me think about how some kids might be facing food insecurity and that these snacks can be significant to them. Afterwards, the children are all gathered into a truck to be dropped off back home which I thought was really nice because it was dark and it would be unsafe for them to return home at night alone or even costly for some families to pay for a motorcycle taxi. I think that through these means, it’s a great method to incentivize locals to take care and clean up their neighborhoods and instill sustainability at a young age for children participants. Overall, it was a humbling experience, and I hope that we inspire or serve as a reminder to be sustainable to the tourists or locals who watched and saw us picking up plastic trash.