Time Capsule Letter
Days and months had passed but we can still feel the summer breeze, the sunset glow, and the morning tranquility of Bali. Who could have thought that the 14 days of being in a new place, with completely unknown strangers, would end in a very special and memorable experience!
From the green pancakes for breakfast, the tempe and rice for lunch! The burger and pizza that we craved for days, and the freshest smoothies we ever had! I know it’s all food; but wait, who could forget that spicy rice and noodles wrapped up in a banana leaf that we tied in with a fresh coconut water during the herbal walk? I will never forget that.
I will never forget the sunrise boat in Amed, I will never forget the heartwarming heat of the bonfire by the beach. Will never forget the smiles and laughter of the students during our workshops (Sehat or Tidak Sehat?), will never forget the “beep” while getting the blood pressure. Never forget the songs we sing along in the bus rides, never forget the late night talks and face masks sessions. I will never forget that because I will always remember.
I will always remember how good the day was during the White Water Rafting, I will always remember how Robin shared her wisdom and the actual giving birth video she showed us, I will always remember the Futsal.
I will always remember our One Meaningful Goal: share our stories of gratitude and kindness!
And I will always remember how Riptide was our summer song.
And one more thing that I will never forget and will always remember, is that last summer, I was brave enough to travel across the globe and challenge myself to be the positive change that I hope, and I wish, and I pray, to see in this world.
Written by RJ, Mentor (GLA Bali, GHI)
P.S. When you get to read this, please send a message to your friends from this program, and tell them that: “I remember, and will never forget.”
Tuesday July 2, 2019
It was a long journey to Bali for us, but we have landed safe and sound. As we waited for some flights to land and change some money we were finally headed to our homebase in beautiful Bali.
We couldn’t contain our excitement, seeing the busy roads and beautiful architecture on our drive home!
As we arrived we were welcomed with sweet coconuts and a flower in our ear. We tasted our first Balinese meal of rice, tempe, chicken and veggies!
After a quick rundown of homebase rules we settled in for the night, washing of the long day and ready to put our head to the pillow! Although some students are still in route we are excited to be complete and to begin exploring and learning.
*not pictured: Anna Kay Knowles, Lauren Kitner ,Audrey Binns and Madison Mede
Tuesday July 2, 2019 Part 2!
We are finally complete getting our morning started with the group!
Wednesday July 3, 2019
After some late arrivals last night, everyone woke up a little jet lagged for breakfast but excited for our first day in Bali. We ate breakfast and began orientations. We were given a presentation about the local customs and beliefs including the culture surrounding entering temples. Did you know it’s against the Balinese beliefs to enter a temple while you are menstruating?
After lunch, we separated into our mentor groups and talked about our purpose in Bali and motives for choosing GLA. We also succeeded in passing two small loops around our circle while holding hands with minimal frustration. Wahyu and Beni, our local directors taught us some basic language to use in Bali, extending our Bahasa past the one number we memorized for headcount.
In the afternoon we had an amazing race competition around the community. We met many different local people who were friendly enough to open up their homes to us. It was so sweet how kind they were. Many of the locals were super enthusiastic about talking to us about their culture. We did many things in the race such as finding coconuts, and durian. It helped us get to know the Balinese culture a lot better. Along with that we also picked up trash along the way while we were exploring the town. Beni was the judge of the race.
Group 4 (my group) ended up winning. For dinner we had some delicious food which consisted of rice, Tempe, noodles, chicken and many more. All of us were very hungry and the food was really good. After dinner we chilled and had an evening activity where we had a role pay debate between the government and Pharmaceutical Company which sell malaria drugs for expensive prices. That was an interesting experience to see what we would do if we were the leaders of these powerful groups of people. After a very exhausting night, most of us head to bed at 8:30.
– Audrey and Cher
Thursday July 4, 2019
We started off the day a little earlier than yesterday for our morning activity, the Herbal Walk. This consisted of two groups hiking along multiple rice paddy fields. This experience made me realize how blessed and thankful I am to be on this trip. I learned about the different plants that the indigenous Balinese people use for medicinal purposes. Thankfully I was able to buy a couple of souvenirs for me and my friends. My favorite memory was participating in the traditional water purification ritual/prayer. Not only was I able to experience a glimpse of their religious practices but it was also enlightening. I felt peaceful and calm as I was following the steps. This was a day I would never change for anything in the world.
And then in the afternoon, we had the amazing experience to meet some of the local University students who study medicine here in Bali. They did not speak much English, so the language gap was somewhat of a hard barrier to overcome. We divided into groups each with 2 university students. They attempted to teach us how to take blood pressure, which was very hard to do! They were all very sweet and were as helpful as they could be with the lack of communication between us and the students. I can hopefully speak for the rest of the students on this GLA trip in saying I am very excited to see what the rest of this week of service with the medical students!
– Madison and Tori
Friday July 5, 2019
A few of us started the day by going on an early jog with Beni, our Local Director. After a delicious breakfast (Nasi Goreng and eggs!) we started off the day with going to the Banjar workshops. We tried many of the things that the locals here do; like making offerings, masks painting, and performing dances and music. Making the offerings were a lot harder than we expected them to be. The boys really enjoyed the Legong dance practice and put on a great show for the rest of us.
We headed back to the home base for lunch and awaited the arrival of the Med Students! In our groups we went door to door in the communities taking their vitals such as blood pressure, blood glucose, height and weight along with asking them simple questions about their health. We also brought soap and used our newly learned Bahasa to teach the children how to wash their hands properly. Exhausted, we finished dinner and our night activity, succeeding in flipping yoga mats over while standing on them without our hands. Teamwork!
– Audrey and Cher
Saturday July 6, 2019
Now that we’ve reached day 5 of our adventure, we are starting to get into the rhythm of things. The day began with Beni’s Running Team taking on the streets of Mas for a 5k, while the others went for a Photo Walk with RJ. After that, the group gathered for breakfast before heading to laughing yoga. The yoga leader taught us exercises on how to laugh and what that kind of laughter would do for us. It was a bit awkward at first, but being surrounded by friends, that quickly melted away. The “Happy Bali” dances were super fun and really got the energy of the group going.
When we got back to the Kaya House, we had lunch and then took a trip to the convenience store to get some snacks. It was fun to see the different snacks they have here in Bali. After our morning of fun and culture, it was time for our service. We walked through the streets of Ubud, going door to door and doing health checks for the people that lived there. The things we were doing seemed small— measuring height and weight, taking blood pressure, and teaching kids to wash their hands, but hopefully it meant more to the people living here. Along with the good feelings we got from the medical service we were doing, it was amazing to be able to engage with the Balinese locals. They were all so welcoming and kind and it was really touching to be able to help them.
After our time doing service, we cleaned up for dinner with the Prince of Peliatan at his palace. The palace was beautiful and it was really interesting learning about the meaning of its intricacies. The prince was very kind, relatable, and wise. He was not quite what we expected, he was very down to Earth, even though he was royalty. After our dinner and conversation with him, we watched a show that includes traditional music and Legong dancing. It was yet another exhibition of Bali’s very rich and intricate culture. After a long day, we are all very ready to get to bed and rest up for another great day tomorrow.
-by Lauren and Kate
Sunday July 7, 2019
Today we had a bit of a later wake up, which was really nice because everyone felt a lot more recharged. Right after breakfast we headed off to a facility for people with disabilities. We were welcomed with a flower in our hair and contagious smiles. We joined them in performing a traditional Balinese song by beating on drums. At first it was hard to follow, but then we got into the rhythm and had so much fun. We had a delicious meal and drank refreshing mango smoothies! Plus we bought really nice homemade bracelets that will help the foundation gather some funds for their projects.
We came back to home base to prepare for our last day of home visits. The last round of home visits went amazing because everybody was now comfortable with the tasks, especially taking the blood pressure. We came back for dinner and prepared for the first day of children’s workshops tomorrow. We are excited but a little nervous to begin our first presentations!
– Kamryn and Olivia
Monday July 8, 2019
On our 7th day of our Bali health initiative GLA trip, we experienced a new way of healing by visiting a traditional Balinese shaman. Each of us had the privilege to sit with thee shaman separately for a reading. And to learn more about ourselves through his abilities. We talked about our health and personal life. Here in Bali not many people go to doctors and use shaman as their main form of healing. It gave us the opportunity to see a part of Balinese culture that we don’t get to regularly experience.
For lunch we also got our fill of food that we were homesick for, which included spaghetti and French fries. There were a lot of happy faces at lunch today.
For the second part of our day we had our first service with children education workshops. We got to meet with a range of ages from local schools and help to educate them on general hygiene and health habits. Although there was a language barrier we got to work together with the children and everyone here in the program to solve the problem and end up having a lot of fun with the children.
Service for the last 4 days have been super eye-opening!
– Abbey and Emma V.
Tuesday July 9, 2019
Today we sat through a long car ride to finally reach our weekend getaway. After a long 8 days of service and cultural immersion in the depth of Ubud. Seeing other bits of Bali on the way to Amed was such a nice experience, and it was fun to bond with new friends in the bus ride to our final destination.
On the way to Amed we stopped at a Water Palace, that has an amazing scenery! After the lunch we sat in the bus for another hour to finally reach Amed, where the beach was beautiful and the hotel was different to the first one. The ride and the time spent to get was well worth it because the outcome turned out to be great.
Once we got to good “Good Karma Resort” we had time to settle in the beachside bungalows. After settling we gathered together since it was time for our swimming test. The swimming test took place in the great pool by the beach and luckily everyone passed the swimming test.
Since everyone passed the test we could freely swim in the pool or ocean but of course under supervision. While most people went swimming other were just relaxing by the beach, tanning or just enjoying the breeze.
Around 6pm it was time for dinner but after that we had our night activity. During our night activity we were tested on our knowledge on music with a fun game hosted by one of our mentors. By the time we were done and got in our mentor groups to have a recap on the day it was the end of the day.
– Seif and Ali
Wednesday July 10, 2019
To start off the morning, we woke up at 4:30 and had to leave on boats at 5:30. It was 3 people in each boat and we sailed out to sea in which we watched the sunrise. When it was bright out we went toward a Japanese shipwreck where we went out of our boats with flippers, scuba mask, and a personal floatation device and we got to see the shipwreck up close. After 30 or so minutes we went back to the beach to have breakfast. After that was free time which most people went ahead and got a massage.
After that was lunch then we hiked up a hill to a place where a German woman makes eco bricks. We, as a group, then went ahead and made our own eco bricks with the plastic we collected. After which we learned would be used to build walls. After that would be our free time which most people sun bathed on the beach. We then had dinner and then an evening activity which involved all of us to sit around a bonfire on the beach and sing songs and tell stories.
– by Nathan
Thursday July 11, 2019
This morning we left the beautiful beaches of Amed and made our way back to our home base in Ubud. We all really enjoyed our time at the water and the gorgeous rooms we were staying at, but it was time to get back to work and continue our service. Upon our arrival in Ubud we had lunch then all of us went up to our rooms and settled back in.
We came back down and started the preparation for our upcoming two days of service at the school. We all worked very hard and managed to finish both of our presentations for the kids at the school. Dinner followed right after. For our daily night activity the staff took us to play a competitive but extremely fun game of football/soccer, called “Futsal,” which we all enjoyed immensely. We were all extremely drained after tho and went straight to bed!
– by Yehya
Friday July 12, 2019
To start off the eleventh day of our amazing GLA trip we ventured off to explore a natural birthing clinic here in Ubud called Bumi Sehat International. During our time there we were able to observe their complex which consisted of many healing centers including a general clinic, an acupuncture and massage wing and a birthing center. We learned from our tour guide that this non profit organization treats the rich and poor equally: giving every mother a room to stay in, clothes for the baby, blankets, natural creams for the babies skin, and ample time to recover.
We then spoke with Robin, the founder of this NGO, and gained some perspective on the concept of midwifery and the benefits of natural childbirth. She also discussed the effects of climate change and the importance of preparedness for natural disasters to occur at any time. To relate the two ideas she also shared with us pictures and stories from her personal experiences in delivering babies during the devastating events.
After visiting Bumi Sehat and eating lunch, we continued with our second day of Health related teaching lessons at our elementary schools. The teaching is definitely a challenge at times due to the significant language barrier between us, however our wonderful local staff never fails to assist us in translations. The kids really enjoy our interactive lessons and activities regarding personal hygiene and basic healthy living.
We also encourage the students to practice their English skills in a supportive environment and have fun learning. It’s amazing to see how we able to apply our new communication skills that we have acquired during our time in Bali. It is truly a privilege to help educate the next generation and to see their eagerness to learn about prevalent health issues and how to solve them.
After walking back to home base and eating dinner, we met with our mentor groups and completed a teamwork activity. As our GLA experience is coming to a close, we reflected on long term goals as individuals and groups. As a group we decided that our O.M.G (one meaningful goal) was in short; sharing lessons and experiences of gratitude and kindness and continuing to seek knowledge and grow as people. Following our action packed day, we headed to bed looking forward to our exciting adventures in the days to come.
– Annah and Zoe
Saturday July 13, 2019
After 12 days, our service trips, consisting of home visits and children education workshops, comes to an end. This morning we woke up at 6am to prepare for white water rafting. As we drove through the narrow streets of Ubud to get to our destination, some of us were excited while others were terrified. We had a stopover at a local cafe that sold the famous Luwak Coffee, and had an amazing experience at the Bali Swing! When we finally reached our stop for the rafting adventure, both mentors and students split up into groups of four and started the journey down the river. Although the ride down the river was bumpy, we got to enjoy the beautiful scenery that Bali had to offer. We saw several towering palm trees, cascades, and waterfalls. At the end of our journey, we enjoyed a delicious buffet-style lunch next to the river.
After lunch, we drove back to home-base and quickly prepared for our last day of service teaching students about the importance of hygiene, nutrition, and physical activity. Although our last service day was bittersweet, it was rewarding to see the impact we made on all of the students this past week.
In the evening, a local NGO, the Fair Future Foundation, gave us a presentation about the free healthcare service they provide to Balinese people who cannot afford or access it. They treated us to an amazing dinner and informed us that the money from each meal allows the NGO to provide medical care to two Balinese locals. After, we enjoyed dessert at a local gelato store and headed home.
Sunday July 14, 2019
The last full day! It started full of happiness and excitement. Early in the morning, we set off to Legian Beach where we all had an amazing surf lesson. Soon after, we headed shopping and all bought great gifts for our loved ones. As we got back to our home base and started our closing activity there were many emotions.
Everyone was highly grateful for this experience yet so sad to leave all of the wonderful people we have been so lucky to have met. The night ended with the family saying bye to Yayo, Ali and Seif as they were the first ones to leave at midnight.
Our last day in Bali, a group woke up before the sun to say goodbye to Cher who had an early departure to China. After going back to sleep everyone woke up for our last early morning breakfast of rice and eggs. Before our flights, we all decided to go on a snack run to stock up for the long journey home. We rested up, packed, and ate Balinese pasta for lunch.
We headed to the airport, saying our last goodbyes. There are tears shed, but we all know this experience will never leave us and our paths will cross somewhere down the line. We are all so excited to reunite with friends and family and share our experiences!
– Emma C.
Here is a video of the last 14 days – prepared by Mentor RJ 🙂