Time Capsule Letter
Can you believe so much time has flown by since we shared such an incredible experience together on the enchanting island of Bali! Gosh we really did a lot together. This program was especially packed with activity and service, and we certainly hit the ground running.
We knew upon first impressions that this was going to be a very special group of students. Arrival is always full of excitement and perhaps a little bit of nerves too after such a long journey. It’s a very brave & big leap jumping into a foreign landscape, as far away from home as you could possibly get with a group of total strangers. You all did an incredible job adapting to your new environment and creating an inclusive environment for everyone from day one.
The first morning in Bali we we woke to songs of the local prayer and traditional instruments being played at 6 AM which would be our waking alarm clock for the weeks to follow. The magic started to happen when we saw the smile’s start to emerge on our first day of programming. We loved seeing students getting to know each other and opening up so quickly. We had a blast exploring our new community through a really fun scavenger hunt that encouraged us to be curious and ask questions.
We were welcomed by our Balinese hosts with open arms and jumped right into working with the local community doing medical home visits with Indonesian medical students guiding the way. We stepped up to the task by collecting and submitting health data from the local to the Ministry of health.
It’s was a pretty special thing to be welcomed into a family compound seeing the authentic way of life for Balinese families first hand, and helping them. We were welcomed with big smiles, and patient guidance into local traditions.
We were lucky enough to be in country for the Galangun holiday and celebrated in the victory of good versus evil, where we decorated a panjar pole is our declaration of good. We dressed up in our traditional attire of sarongs and sashes, got blessed, and paid our respects at the local temple. We visited other holy places like the water temple, and even learned a few traditional prayers along the way.
We met with 4 local NGOs that were contributing so much to the local community. I think it’s safe to say these NGO’s were inspiring and planted a seed in each one of us showing us how we can have a vision, create action, and support others to make a positive impact on the planet.
There were van rides full of laughter, loud music, and group singalongs. We even had a grand encore in our very own karaoke lounge one evening amongst the hustle and bustle of Denspasar. We acted like monkeys and laughed until our cheeks hurt while taking part of the ridiculous practice of laughing yoga. We visited a traditional healer, met a prince, learned traditional dance & how to make offerings, and even played some Balinese instruments! And what about the volcano Basur, how beautiful was that view?
We tried so many new things including foods, fruits, and even local herbs we encountered on the morning herbal walk through the rice paddies. For some of us we even took part in a water purification ceremony!
And then there was Ahmed. The sleepy Balinese seaside village of soft sand, clear blue waters, woven bungalows, and tranquility. We found some relaxation and restoration after some action packed work days. We learned to make an eco brick, played some crazy group games, snorkeled on a japanese shipwreck, and experienced a once in a lifetime sunrise from the hull of a traditional outrigger spider boat!
After our time by the sea, we jumped right back into action completing the remainder of our service working with a local primary school teaching health education and rewarding happy students with certificates of achievement. The last few days of the program were full of adventure between whitewater rafting (remember the big drop!), getting our surf on in Legion, and mastering our haggling skills in the hunt for some souvenirs.
For your “One meaningful Goal” You chose to focus on reducing single use plastic use by implementing personal choices for a planet with less plastic, and inspiring others in leading by example. We talked about how to make behavioral changes for 30 days until they become habit, choosing reusable options whenever possible (including straws, water bottles, and bags to start).
We discussed this whole concept of zero waste and reducing plastics whenever possible. The group decided to stay in communication in regards to this goal, to hold each other accountable, and to educate peers. We spoke about additional tools to raise awareness like petitions, and the importance of recycling education.
You all came to this program in the spirit of being a “helper” and contributing to the world. Thank you all for co creating such a respectful, engaging, and open environment to have this incredible experience together! Be the change, because you are the change, and the world needs you all now more than ever.
I can speak on behalf of the whole staff and saying we hope that each one of you are doing really well back at home, feel free to reach out, and keep shining your light!
Mentor Session 3
Bali Global Health Initiative
Friday July 19, 2019
We couldn’t be more excited to begin our leadership adventure in Bali.
It was a long road, some delays and late flights but, we have finally all made it to homebase. Although exhausted we know tomorrow begins our adventure, service and learning!
Desireé, International Director
Saturday July 20, 2019
After a rough night of arrivals and jet lag, we woke up at 6:30am to the sounds of the Balinese prayer chants in the streets. The GLA students ran to the hall for a delicious breakfast of eggs, toast, and fruit, a traditional Balinese morning dish. When the meal was over, we introduced ourselves and got through the orientation. We learned how to properly wear a Sarong, count in Balinese, and how to say basic Balinese words, such as greetings and thank you. After the orientation, we gathered ourselves at the table for a lunch consisting of rice, vegetables, tofu, chicken, fruit, corn fritters, and rice chips.
With well satisfied stomachs, the GLA students ventured out into the streets of Ubud for a thrilling scavenger hunt; meeting locals and completing the challenge questions! When we got back at the homebase, we learned about the differences between public health and global health and we were left in shock after learning the many differences between these two worlds in the medical field and their effects on the people of Bali and all around the world.
The GLA students then met medical students in Bali, who showed us the procedures needed for Sunday’s service in the communities. We then ate dinner; rice, tofu, chicken, tuna satay, vegetables, and cassava chips. After dinner we had debate groups come together to discuss a medical-ethical scenario. Then the winners of the scavenger hunt were revealed (congratulations to Ariana, Sydney, and Tori). We later met with our mentor groups to check in about our day. After a loooonngggg day, everyone was extremely tired and we were all ready to get to bed. Day 1 done!
Sunday July 21, 2019
Today we woke up to a lovely breakfast of banana crepes and fresh fruit. After training with the Med students yesterday, we were ready for our full day of service today. During service, we encountered struggles, such as the language barrier, bathrooms, loud barking dogs, and heat, but the feelings we got from helping the community and hanging out with the children were indescribable and well worth the struggles we overcame.
For lunch, we had a lovely box of cultural food, which consisted of rice, vegetables, chicken, and rice chips. We then continued our day of service; all of us were exhausted. Then we got on the buses and headed to home base to talk about our experience and enter the data from the in-home checkups.
Once we were done we got ready and had dinner in the city at a traditional Balinese restaurant, which is also an NGO that supports a public clinic in Bali. We learned that for every meal that we order, it is equivalent to two medical consultations that the NGO and the clinic provides to the people. The food was AMAZING and we all really enjoyed the curry and gelato for dessert. We can’t wait to continually keep you updated throughout our trip!
-by Genesis and Ariana
Monday July 22, 2019
Selamat Pagi Bali!
Today in Bali we awoke around 7:00am and enjoyed our breakfast cooked by Made, a very sweet Balinese woman.
We then were lucky enough to take a trip to Alfa Mart to truly get a taste of some Balinese snacks! After indulging in the different flavors of Bali we hopped on the bus to Bumi Sehat, a natural birthing clinic. At this clinic we toured the facilities and talked with Robin Lim, who was awarded as 2011 CNN Hero, about her life’s purpose of helping woman and other local people in receiving free health care plus safe and natural child birth.
After that touching experience, we headed over to laughing yoga where we acted like happy monkeys and let out all of our laughter! Healthy! Happy!
Today was also our last day of service with the local medical students. We did our last round of home clinical visits and then said our goodbyes to our newly found friends.
We closed this impactful day with an activity that talked about the danger of single stories and stereotyping, and we then discussed the impacts of this in our mentor groups.
– by Tori
Tuesday July 23, 2019
Early this morning, a group of us decided to join RJ (one of our mentors) on a sunrise run through rice paddy fields. Pictures were sent to the group-chat (: Afterwards everyone came together for an amazing breakfast consisting of banana crepes that were customizable to our own needs. After a delicious first meal of the day, we hit the ground running by visiting a non-profit organization called Senang Hati. Their goal is to support the disabled/differently abled individuals in Balinese communities. The organization offers many opportunities for these people to make a difference in their communities and be valued. While we were there, we got to learn about these individuals, who are often overlooked, and their struggles to get to the places they are at today. We were also able to participate in a drum/music circle with some of the residents of the organization. This NGO also provided us with a tasty lunch of rice, noodles, and veggies. Some of the students claimed that it was the best meal they have eaten so far.
After the memorable experience, we drove back to home base and had an hour or so to relax and go on a quick snack run. Later, we split into two groups and had a Penjor making competition. Penjors are a traditionally decorated bamboo stick that locals place outside of their houses to show their spirit for the holiday we are lucky enough to experience. Towards the second half of the day, all the students were able to truly bond over a bunch of great games including “Mafia.” The group ate dinner which was similar to other nights and then watched an inspirational Ted talk on how to be a leader. The last activity of the night was splitting up into mentor groups and walking to a park (some blindly) to talk about how to better ourselves as people. Also shoutout to RJ’s group for winning the Penjor competition. Thank you!
Wednesday July 24, 2019
Today was Galungan, a holiday that happens every 210 days here in Bali. This day embraces Balinese traditions—marking new beginning and honoring ancestors. We started this day with breakfast; cereals, white bread and Hershey’s sauce. Our attire for the day was a white shirt and a traditional Balinese sarong. After breakfast, we were blessed by Mangku Kandia and his wife in their family temple. We had to be purified in order to enter the community temple and pray as a group. We received a bracelet, offerings, and incenses, and were instructed to follow the prayer of the Mangku Kandia in the temple.
After visiting the temple, we visited a local mask maker’s shop. Once we got to home base, Balinese children welcomed us with a traditional dance and music. After we ate lunch, we did a workshop on preparing lesson plans for our upcoming community service. We finished the evening and spent our free time making bracelets and playing fun activities together. We further bonded as we are about half way point of our GLA trip. Goodnight! We have to wake up early tomorrow for the mountains!
– Ally and Vincent
Thursday July 25, 2019
Good morning, today we are at the half point of our trip to Bali. We’ve learned so much about the culture and ways of the people in Indonesia. Today in the morning we did a herbal walk through a Balinese farmland with a guide where we got to touch and taste the herbs along with at the end of tour getting to buy products which were made by the locals with natural ingredients from the garden.
After we visited a water temple which contained a holy water pool where offerings and prayers are given and done, it was packed today due to the sacred holiday time. We then had lunch at a buffet outside with a stunning view of a volcano and mountains in Kintamani.
After enjoying the stunning view and great food, we headed back to home base and drove straight into our next activity, a culture workshop! For the next two hours, GLA students participated in four mini courses teaching common Balinese traditions including dancing, painting masks, making offerings and playing gamelan, a classic Balinese instrument similar to a xylophone. These classes were a super fun and interactive way to further engage in the beautiful and unique culture of Bali.
Later, we excitedly filled up on a delicious spaghetti dinner and were thrilled to find out that our mentors had booked us a room at a karaoke bar! With the help of a party bus and it’s blasting music we made our way to a luxurious vip karaoke room where we spent a two hour session of dancing and singing our hearts out to iconic 2000s hits. Truly an experience I doubt any of us will forget! Overall, a perfect way to spend the 7th day of our program.
– Ariana and Iman
Friday July 26, 2019
Hi. Today we had a unique breakfast of Chicken Fried Rice (Nasi Goreng) and fruit. The students really enjoyed it. After breakfast we packed for Amed and planned for our Health Education Workshops. We left for Amed at around 9:00 and stopped at a restaurant and had a delicious buffet for lunch. On our way to Amed, we encountered groups of monkeys, rice fields, chickens, and a view of the gorgeous ocean. Before arriving, we came upon another GLA trip and introduced ourselves.
We learned that they were apart of the three week program. Our group finally arrived at Amed and then completed the swim test. The students had free time on the beach and at the pool until dinner . During that time, we also got fitted for snorkel gears that we were going to be using tomorrow. Then we had dinner and our evening activity. For dinner, we had fried noodles. The students were stoked for anything but rice. Our evening activity was a riff off.
We all got into groups of four and our mentor, RJ, gave us a specific word. The goal was to come up with a list of songs with either the word in the title or in the lyrics. Each of the groups then had to sing one song we came up with and the last group standing won. Everyone really enjoyed the game. After long day, we were all super tired, and we were really excited for our second day in Amed!
– by Eliana
Saturday July 27, 2019
Greetings GLA parents and families! Today was our first full day in Amed, Bali. We all woke up in beautiful bungalows right on the beach. We began our adventure at 5:00am and got into spider boats as we started to sail out to sea. At 6:15 we all witnessed the most beautiful red and orange sunrise. It was a very peaceful and serene start to our day. We then sailed back towards the shore to snorkel over a Japanese shipwreck. It was a little chilly but we loved seeing all the beautiful fish and coral below the crystal blue waters.
After our water journey, we got back to shore and enjoyed a classic meal of delicious scrambled eggs and toast. Along with that we had the most amazing chocolate crepes and watermelon juice! We finished our meal and headed back to our bungalows, where some of us enjoyed the most relaxing massages. Soon after one of our mentors, Ashley, led us all in a sensory activity. It was a very hot day here in Amed, but we all still had many laughs during our group activity. After our activity we headed out on a short walk through a cave to make eco bricks! This local NGO gathers plastic bottles from the locals and stuffs them with non-biodegradable materials. The outcome are these sturdy, hard bottles which can be used to build homes and walkways in Bali.
Then the mentors led us to a high point where we watched the sunset and enjoyed fresh pineapple and lime juices. All of us headed back to a surprise dinner we had all been craving… Mentors and students really enjoyed the grilled chicken sandwiches and sweet potato fries for dinner, it was absolutely delicious! As the night came to an end the mentors took us onto the beach for a bonfire and surprise s’mores!!!! We stargazed and sang songs as we enjoyed our last night in Amed. Although it was a very early start to the day, we all enjoyed the amazing things Amed had to offer.
– by Mia and Eloise
Sunday July 28, 2019
We woke up to a beautiful view of the ocean at 6:30 and headed down to an amazing breakfast which consisted of eggs, salad, toast and a crepe with chocolate sauce and a refreshing watermelon juice.
We did a final sweep of our bungalows before heading on a long journey back to the home base in Ubud where most everyone slept on the bus ride.
We got back to home base where lunch was already ready for us to enjoy, after lunch we got to rest for a little while before having to go to our first child health education workshop, most all of us were excited but very nervous about how we were going to speak to them. The workshops went really well, and we’re so happy meeting all the kids!
After workshop we headed back to home base and went on a snack run to a fruit stand to enjoy fresh mango and oranges. We then walked over to a local convenience store and got some snacks. After our snack run we got to rest for a little while before dinner. We enjoyed a beautiful cooked meal and got our two topics to start preparing for two more days of service.
We ended the day with preparing our workshops for another two days of service ahead of us.
Monday July 29, 2019
Today we had delicious green banana pancakes and fruit for breakfast. At 9am, Beni showed us a presentation for traditional healers in Bali. We learned about their cultural importance and their huge responsibility to the people. Then we walked over to our community healer. We all got individual checkups from the healer. Thankfully, everyone is healthy. When we got back to home base, we planned our lessons for the health education workshops. We ate delicious Phu for lunch.
At 2pm, we started our workshops with the kids. We all taught 4th, 5th, and 6th graders all about exercising for your bones, negative effects of food on the body, and washing hands. We struggled a little bit, but we all did great by the end. In between lessons, we all ate unique local snacks with the kids. When we got back, we all quickly changed and drove to the Prince’s Palace for dinner.
When we arrived to the palace, we entered into a gorgeous courtyard with lots of cool buildings and artwork. We met the Dewa who is he Prince’s snazzy BFF and he gave us a tour. We walked though many areas and also learned the history of the ten generations and Bali’s struggle with independence from the Dutch. We also learned that the only security in the whole palace is just two statues by the entrance that ward off evil. They trust their people and I thought that was really cool. In the last courtyard, we were given cucumber juice and little dough rolls with sugar and coconut in the middle. There were also gambelan music being played while we sat.
Then the Prince came and invited us all to sit with him. We talked with him for a while before we were alerted that dinner was ready. We got our food and continued our talk. We learned that he is 9th in line for the throne and the youngest at age 31. We discussed our GLA trip and the Prince’s life. At the end, he let us follow him on Instagram and he followed us all back!
Then we all went back to the largest courtyard and watched an amazing performance. There were Balinese instruments being played on the sides while dancers performed in the center of the stage. The technique was crazy. Lots of quick body, hand, and eye movements that matched the music perfectly. When the performance was over, we took a fun group picture with the dancers and thanked them all for the great experience.
Once we got back to home base, we all made sure we were prepared for our next education workshop and all went to bed.
Tuesday July 30, 2019
Today we woke up very early in the morning to a yummy breakfast of toast, fried eggs and fruit. For our first stop, our mentors surprised us with a trip to a coffee tasting place. We got to meet Luwads, who after eating the coffee beans, poop out less acidic coffee that is world famous. There was also a humongous swing that swung over a gorgeous view of Bali. A lot of the students purchased some of the coffee for home. We then set off for the White Water Rafting at 8 am. We carefully checked our protective gears with the help of the staff, and each of us took a paddle. It was so exciting and fun with all the small waves and rapids of the river and a four-meter waterfall. Many of the groups tried to race each other, but in the end, we decided that enjoying the nature was more important. Luckily there was only excitement and no injuries. After changing, all the students sat down at the table for a really nice lunch at the rafting place. We then went back to home base.
In the afternoon, the students started their third and last Children Health Education Workshop at 1:30 pm. We all came to a conclusion that our final day was one of the best days we had at the service. We not only educated the kids, but also gained a lot of knowledge ourselves through the process . At the end, we gave certificates and school materials to each of the kids. Although the experience was tiring and the preparation was hard, we thoroughly enjoyed the service and had a very hard time saying goodbye at the end.
After service, we had some free time and then dinner. Dinner consisted of fried rice, noodles, vegetables, tempe, and chips. After a great dinner, we came together for some inspiring and fun evening activities. First, we did the human knot game where we had to link hands with people to create a knot. We then had to untangle ourselves. It was quite the hassle 🙂 After the game, we sat down and took time to reflect deeply on what we have learned from the culture here in Bali and ourselves these past few days. The students then discussed in order to create O.M.G.(one meaningful goal) from now on. Our O.M.G is basic and simple: reduce/minimize plastic-usage. From now on, our students will control their usage of plastic in their everyday lives. We would also like you to do the same. LET’S DO IT!!!
We look forward to our last day in Bali tomorrow and we will see you shortly 😉
Wednesday July 31, 2019
Today we woke up for breakfast at 7 and then started our long journey to Legian Beach. Once we arrived we split into groups and started to walk the streets to do some shopping. At 11:30 we met up on the beach to eat some lunch.
Then the first group went out to surf while the second group stayed and swam. After an hour the groups switched. Before heading back to home base a couple of us got some yummy fresh juice. Once we got back to home base we took surveys and worked on packing up. We had a surprise supper of pizza! After dinner, we participated in some closing ceremony activities, such as the connecting string, postcards, and a final Balinese prayer to send all of our wishes to heaven.
We then said our thanks to each other wished each other well. Lastly, we all headed to our rooms for bed. This trip has been a truly incredible experience and I think we all learned a lot from it.
– by Kirsten
“It’s not goodbye, but see you later.”
The 14 days of service learning, cultural immersion, and fun-filled adventures has now come to an end. But as the DPS Ngurah Rai Airport’s tagline says above, Bali will always be here to welcome these 15 future world leaders again!
The challenge of contributing to the positive change in the world has now began for these GLA students. We pray that they will always uphold the values of respect and diversity and share the culture of optimism and kindness. May they always be inspired to do more and speak more, to live more and learn more, to accept more, and to love more.
RJ (International Mentor, GLA Bali)