Tuesday July 17, 2018
Most of our globe trotters arrived to Bali safe and sound and the GLA staff and our local Bali Institute partners welcomed them to the island and also into our leadership family! The students met each other, learned a little bit about the staff and their peers, and settled into our home-base, Kaya House.
A delicious Balinese feast was the perfect end to a long voyage and a much needed night of sleep will prep the wary travelers for their first full day in Bali. Tomorrow we will dive head first into the culture, language, and scenery of this magical island-Let the journey begin!
-The Bali: Global Health Initiative Crew
Not pictured due to late arrival: Gal, Jackson, Eva, Caroline, Logan, and Mackenna
We’ll be sure to update soon with a full group photo!
Wednesday July 18, 2018
We began our day to the unique sounds of Hindu prayer. Gongs, music and prayer echoed throughout the village of Ubud. Fog rolled over the peaceful sunrise, as the residents of Kaya Culture House slowly woke up.
After breakfast we did a quick 2 hour orientation followed by Soto Ayam (Chicken Soup with rice noodles, sprouts, potatoes, and eggs). Afterwards, we separated into groups of 3 to 4 and began on our scavenger hunt around Ubud. On one particular route, we passed by a Balinese wedding and they invited us inside to celebrate and meet the newly-weds. We ate these amazing solid jelly cakes, and roasted nuts. The bride was beautifully dressed in vibrant colors and lavish jewelry. Absolutely everyone we met along the scavenger hunt was friendly and willing to point us to where ever we needed to go.
It’s crazy how one could be half-way across the world, and people are still considerate enough to know your language. School children all knew basic greetings in English, and all said hello as we walked by. Due to the unique culture of Ubud, it was common for the groups to go inside the homes of locals and speak to them. Some locals didn’t speak English well so it was a fun experience to try and understand Bahasa Indonesia and communicate back. The scavenger hunt overall was wonderful and we ended up buying smelly fruits called Salak.
At night, we ended the day with card games like Uno and board games like bananagrams at the Kaya House. It was a good opportunity to get to know each other better and ended a successful first day in Ubud.
-by Amy, Henry, Riley
Thursday July 19, 2018
The morning began, once again, to the sound of chanting. Today, however, instead of going immediately back to sleep, we trudged down the stairs. Our disappointment quickly dissipated due to the wafting smell of cane sugar and green banana-pancakes. After sitting down to breakfast, cards, and conversation, we rallied to the vans and started our long, but fun, day of travel. We arrived at our first cultural experience of the day, the herbal walk. We split into two teams and explored the unknown culture of Balinese traditional lifestyle and all-natural medicine. We discussed the various facets of herbal medicine with our extremely intelligent guide.
After sharing snacks and visiting his herbal shop, we parted ways and began our adventure to the temple. Due to our separation into three buses and the language barrier between chaperones and our local Balinese drivers, we were unable to communicate directions and subsequently realized that we had taken a wrong turn. Our three authors for the night, Jackson, Haley, and Henry, who were conveniently located in the back of one of our buses, noticed the familiar site of the housing construction and the scented vaporizer shop we had already passed. This led the group to suspect the possibility of a wrong turn. After an additional 45 minutes of travel, the buses finally reached the destination and met up with the original group that had correctly navigated the winding Balinese roads and had waited for nearly a half hour.
Wearing our sarongs, we gave offerings to the gods and had a firsthand experience with the power of healing water. We then departed from the temple and made our way towards the mountainside buffet where we would enjoy lunch with the stunning view of volcanoes in the distance. After taking pictures with the scenic view, we headed back to home base where we greeted the Balinese medical students. They informed us of the various activities we would be performing for the days to come, and ate dinner in the common room with us.
As the medical students silently departed, we celebrated Caroline’s 17th birthday with chocolate cake and more games. We also had a bit of free time before we participated in the evening activity on sustainable travel with Kelsey. We eventually grew tired after enjoying activities such as card games, hangman, and soccer with the dog, and retired for the night.
Authors: Haley Inzunza, Jackson Tahmoush, Henry Huang
Friday July 20, 2018
We woke up to an egg and toast breakfast one hour before we left on our first excursion to the banjar 15 minutes away. During this 3 hour activity we had the privilege of being immersed in day to day Balinese culture consisting of wood carving, traditional dance and song, and the crafting of canang offerings. During our first activity, each student was introduced to the different tools used for the Balinese art of wood carving.
We were all able to carve our name into a block of wood held by our feet. In the next activity, we were taught by an instructor the unique art of puspanjali, which is a dance that focuses on the hips, eyes, and hands. Activity three was lead by a local musician within the Banjar who took on the role of teaching each student to melodize in order to come together in a song-like ritual. During the last activity we learned first-hand the technique of turning a local plant into a base used in the daily rituals of offerings. This outing was topped off by a fun bus ride to the Home Base.
After lunch provided by the local staff, we got ready to head out to meet up with the medical students, and begin our very first service hours. We broke up into our pre-assigned groups and took off to the houses of the locals. The medical students showed us how to take blood pressure, weigh, and measure the height of the patients. Each of the GLA students got the opportunity to interact in a genuine capacity with the locals. After a long afternoon of fulfilling we returned to the home base. We finished off the night with a presentation on stereotypes and an insightful discussion of the positive and negative effects of your words. A great third day of our Bali trip!
Love, Logan, Gal, Cella, and Jarom
Saturday July 21, 2018
In the morning we went to laughing yoga. It was kind of awkward at first but really fun once everyone got into it. We had to shake each others hand and just start laughing. We also did a few dances where we had to laugh the whole time. We had to pass around a microphone and do different types of laughs that were suppose to heal different parts of your body. At the end we did sun salutation. After we got ice-cream and T-shirts.
After lunch we went back to the banjars with the medical students to continue service. Each group had different experiences while walking around the banjars. Sam, Abbey, Riley, and Gal found really cute puppies at one of the houses and got the pick them up and play with them. Olivia, Cella, Mackenna, and Anna met a man who spoke 5 different languages and he attempted to teach them Bahasa. On the bus back, Fika did the In My Feelings Challenge which is where she got out of the bus and did a dance to the song In My Feelings by Drake along the side of the bus as it was moving. There was a group of Balinese kids watching her and they waved to us afterwards. There have been many funny moments like this throughout the trip.
We went on a tour of the Peliatan Royal Palace and ate dinner with the Prince of Peliatan. We got to talk with him and ask him questions about the culture of Bali and his views about it. After dinner we watched the Legong Dance at the Palace. The colors during the dance were bright and the costumes they performed in were very elaborate. The dance lasted about an hour and a half. Overall it was a really great day and experience.
-Abbey, Olivia, and Sam
Sunday July 22, 2018
Today was yet another great day! Our morning began with a trip to a local community center for the disabled. We were lucky enough to be able to tour the facilities and to meet some of the residents. In the Balinese culture it is often viewed as black magic to be disabled, but the NGO center offers nothing but great opportunity for its residents (English classes, sewing classes, and a sense of belonging).
After our tour, we played the drums along with our new friends and ate lunch with them. Lunch consisted of a variety of Balinese delicacies that we have come to love including rice, chicken, and tempeh.
After lunch we headed back to Kaya Culture house for a quick break before service. It was our third and final day of home visits with the Balinese medical students. Service was very enlightening yet again. Every family we visited was extremely welcoming and grateful for our help. Meeting them was an incredible privilege and a wonderful lesson— to appreciate what we have and to always be kind to others.
Saying goodbye to the medical students was sad, but don’t worry, many instagrams were exchanged.
After service, we headed back to home base and were surprised with the thing we have all been missing the most— PIZZA! (we miss our families too of course). After dinner, we had a relaxing night and we packed our bags for our beach trip to Amed tomorrow. We can’t wait to explore more of this beautiful island!
-Jordyn & Anna & Julia
Wednesday July 25, 2018
This Monday and Tuesday we traveled to Amed for some down time from service. Throughout these two days, we spent time at the infinity pool and at the beach, where we all learned was not like a normal beach in America. The beach was full of coral and beautiful sea life. After we settled into our bungalows, we ate dinner at the resort restaurant and enjoyed fresh fish and chocolate milkshakes. We woke up bright and early the next morning where “spider boats” took us to watch the sunrise.
On the way back, we stopped to snorkel over the Japanese ship wreck where we saw lots of fish, coral, and the underwater history. Afterwards, we made our way back to the resort where we ate chocolate crepes, cheesy omelets, and freshly made banana smoothies. Some of us got massages while the rest relaxed on the beach and by the pool. In the afternoon, we ate lunch then took a small hike to learn about a company that makes recycling bins and Eco bricks.
Eco bricks are bottles stuffed with different plastics to lower the pollution in and around the ocean. Overall, these two days were a relaxing break from the service we have been doing, and we’re eager to get back to Ubud and learn about our next project.
Authors: Kaity King, Peyton White, William Hawkins
Thursday July 26, 2018
This morning, we visited Bumi Sehat, a clinic specialized in childbirth. Bumi Sehat provides free health care services to patients that cannot afford large hospital bills, which can sometimes cost as much as a family’s annual income. We walked past the reception area, emergency room, office spaces, birthing rooms, and recovery rooms where we were given brief explanations about what rooms were for and how they contributed to the functionality of the clinic. After taking a short tour, we watched several films about the history of the clinic and how the founder was able to raise enough funds to build the establishment.
This afternoon we were surprised with a special treat from the cooking staff, fried chicken and spaghetti! Everyone was delighted with the change of cuisines because it reminded them of food at home. Also, it was great to eat something other than the usual chicken, rice and noodles. After lunch we split up into three groups (each led by a mentor) to compete in a series of challenging activities for a special prize, donuts! We participated in three activities which required team-building characteristics such as communication, strategy, and patience. For example, the first activity was a relay race with a very unique twist; we had to pass a ring off to each other using the pens in our mouths! This required an extreme amount of patience and strategy because we needed to figure out the most efficient way to pass the ring. Out of the three activities we participated in, John and his group decimated the other two mentor groups with three victories; however they are not the champions yet because there are still more games to be played.
Next, we continued our service portion of the trip. On today’s agenda we had to educate fourth, fifth, and sixth graders on hygiene, nutrition, and exercise with a half-hour lesson, something the Balinese schools do not offer. This is very vital to children because it encourages them to lead a healthy lifestyle. While preparing for service, some groups felt a little nervous about working around the language barrier, however the young students were very attentive and cooperative, a great aspect which turned out to be fun and a little relieving. Also, the kids were very cute and gave us hugs and goodbyes while we were on our way out from the school. Finally, we went back to Kaya House in a great mood, prepared for the last upcoming days of service.
-Antonios and Alex
Saturday July 28, 2018
Today was an early start. We woke up and had some delicious pancakes before heading out to white water rafting. On the way, we made a quick stop at a coffee plantation where we were given some samples of the different coffees and teas. They were all delicious- even the one made from cat poop!
At white water rafting, we split into groups of four and got dressed in our life-vests and helmets before heading out on the boats. The water was rough and at times a little scary, but the beautiful view made it hard to be afraid. Afterwards, we had lunch and dried off with towels before piling back on the busses and heading home to get ready for service.
We again taught the students at the schools about nutrition, hygiene, and exercise through lesson plans that our groups created and delivered in Balinese. The kids were even more excited to see us again, and did not want us to leave.
After service, we had dinner of chicken and rice and prepared our lesson plans for tomorrow’s service. After which, John led an eye-opening activity about privilege that left us all feeling very thankful.
Authors: Jordyn, Caroline, and Eva
P.s. Shoutout to Eva’s Dad, Giuseppe. Happy Birthday!!
Our last couple days in Bali together were packed with final service, ceremony, traditional healing, soccer (futsal!), and fun in the sun!
Our last full day together was spent in Legian Beach where students shopped, lounged, and caught some waves! After surfing and chilling beach-side, the evening was spent reflecting on our 2 weeks of adventure, cultural immersion, and service. Students shared their goals for the future, made one final offering, and watched a slide show of special moments from the trip. A mini “graduation” ceremony closed the night where student’s received a wooden Balinese carving of their name and an Indonesian flag.
This afternoon, everyone headed off to the airport to depart from Bali. Tears were shed, hugs were given, and wishes of safe travels filled the air. The GLA and local Bali Institute staff were so glad to meet the session three students and live and learn alongside the 25 leaders and future world changers! True relationships formed and we have no doubt that these awesome individuals will be lifelong friends! While our time together in Bali is complete, our memories and GLA bond are forever <3