Friday June 15, 2018
Om swastiastu and greetings from the GLA Bali team!
It’s day one of our amazing two week adventure together and everyone has arrived to Bali safe and sound! The GLA staff and our local Bali Institute partners welcomed the 27 global travelers to the island and also into our leadership family. A delicious Balinese feast and hydrating coconuts (with reusable bamboo straws!) were the perfect end to a long voyage! Everyone settled into our home-base, Kaya House, and a much needed night of sleep will prep the students for their first full day in Bali where they will dive head first into the culture, language, and scenery. Let the journey begin!
*not photographed due to late arrival times: Maria, Katie, and Chloe
-by Kelsey Stone (International Mentor) on behalf of the entire Bali GLA Team
Friday June 15, 2018
Sending an update with a photo of our late arrivals who weren’t in the original photo (Maria, Katia, and Chloe)!!
Sunday June 17, 2018
Day 3 began at 5:30 this morning with a delicious and familiar breakfast of toast and eggs. We then headed off to our herbal walk. We got to try many exotic plants and learn their holistic properties. We even tried a spicy pepper known for killing bacteria in your mouth, but it felt like breathing fire. We had wonderful guides who explained to us the significance of nature and how it inspires Balinese artwork. Afterwards we went to a shop that sold holistic medicines and all natural products. Many of us bought organic coconut oil, tea, face masks, lotion, and plant-based vitamins.
After that, we visited the Holy Water Temple where we learned how to wear traditional Balinese sarongs and how to pray by presenting offerings. The prayers were concluded with a priest splashing us with holy water and giving us ceremonial rice grains which we placed on our foreheads. On the way home we visited an Indonesian style buffet that had a view of a volcano, lake, and rice paddies.
Once we returned to home base, we prepared lesson plans discussing nutrition, hygiene, and exercise. Tomorrow we will put these plans into action at local primary schools. After dinner we discussed how stereotypes may not be true and are incomplete. We also discussed how not to base your beliefs on “the single story.”
Today was a great day; we learned how Balinese beliefs play an important role in their close-knit communities among farmers, priests, and other locals. Everywhere we went we were greeted with smiles. We are all grateful for the cultural opportunities we had today and we can’t wait for tomorrow!
-Rutva, Chloe, and Maguire
Monday June 18, 2018
Today we went to the Banjar. At the Banjar we took time to understand Balinese culture by doing activities such as: wood carving, dancing, playing music, and creating offerings. Offerings are used to thank the spirits for everything in life, they consist of multiple colored flowers in a basket made of bamboo leaves. We split into separate groups and learned a traditional dance. Then the boys learned a dance which is performed when going off to war.
Afterwards, the group split and drove to two separate schools. There we taught 4-6th graders about exercise, nutrition, and hygiene. The kids were excited to learn, but we had minor complications due to language barriers. Luckily, we were able to overcome this challenge through games and hand gestures. All in all, we were surrounded by a wonderful environment and used our obstacles as lessons for the future days on the trip and in our lives.
Authors: Delaney and Olivia
Tuesday June 19, 2018
Today in Bali we started off our day in a very unique, silly way. Laughing yoga is a way to relieve stress and take in some positive energy. At first, it was a little uncomfortable because it was different and awkward, but after a while it became more natural and funny. The best part about the morning was definitely the ice cream that we had the option to buy after.
Later on we were the honored guests of the prince of Bali. We had a chance to ask questions about daily life in Bali and the founding of the Balinese culture. We were eating a traditional Balinese dinner and the prince explained that behind the closed doors we were eating in front of, “his uncle was resting inside”. So we all assumed that was his uncle’s tomb. About 5 minutes later we saw the lock turn and a man walks out of the room. Everyone jumped because we thought we were experiencing paranormal activity but after much confusion the prince explained his uncle was literally just sleeping in the room. The experience was super cool because the prince was outgoing and engaged us in conversation.
So far we have been experiencing new culture traditions and different foods. This trip has changed us for the better and we are excited to see what the upcoming week has to offer!
Authors: Madison and Luca
Wednesday June 20, 2018
Today we started off the day with Kaya House’s green pancakes with shredded coconut, banana and syrup. We found out at the herbal walk that the color comes from a plant. They have been long awaited for since the first day of the program when we tried them, and they’re loved by all of GLA’s Bali students. After breakfast, we visited Senang Hati’s building to learn more about and talk to Balinese people with disabilities,then finished up our first week of service at the schools, and finally witnessed a traditional Balinese legong dance at the Palace of Peliatan.
Senang Hati and their people of various disabilities opened our eyes to a valuable lesson. Despite people’s differences in abilities, cultures, environments, religions, languages, and values, the experience of music and smiles can bring everyone together in an instant. Everyone at Senang Hati began by playing a song on several different instruments and singing all together. It was amazing to learn that most of the people performing when first learning the song struggled at being able to hold the instruments or hit a drum. Their stunning act really demonstrated how with practice and determination, those with disabilities and physical differences can achieve anything that anyone else can. We concluded the visit with GLA students playing their own rhythms on the drums and playing alongside the performers, eating a delicious Balinese lunch, and lots of students buying bracelets and shirts to wear and support Senang Hati.
Poem by Lauren:
The rain hit the ground as our feet left the bed
We downed our pancakes and packed into the tiny buses
A long travel we had as we reached Senang Hati
We taught the children to clean, eat, and exercise
We wiped our tears as the children waved goodbye
Our eyes reopened from our naps at the palace
The dancers jigged as we watched in awe
As we headed home and we laughed until our eyes shut in bed
After lunch, we made our way to SD Negeri 3 Kemenuh, Sukawati and SDN 2 Kemenuh Sukawati, the 2 schools we have been volunteering at. All the 6 volunteer groups have now completed each of their lessons on nutrition, hygiene and exercise. As we finished up and ended our service, we gave the kids certificates, pens, pencils and books as gifts for completing our lessons over their break. Tears were shed and hugs were given as we said our goodbyes to the children we taught and loved.
Finally, we completed the day with a legong dance performance at the Royal Palace. It was cool to see all the instruments played and dresses and makeup worn in such a unique dance.
Authors: Annika and Lauren
Saturday June 23, 2018
A collection of blogs from our excursion to Amed, Bali:
Let’s go to the beach, beach. Let’s go get away.
After PULLING ourselves out of bed at 8:15, we took a scenic journey throughout Bali to the fishing town of Amed. This is where we are about to thrive. In the car we bumped to Nicki M and stopped for lunch at a precious, little restaurant. After our wonderful lunch of chicken and rice and an hour more of driving, we arrived at the Good Karma Bungalows. Everybody scrambled into their bathing suits and marched to the beachside pool for an intense swim test. It consisted of jumping in a 5 foot pool and then standing up, swimming across the pool, treading water for 30 seconds, and floating on our back for 30 seconds with the sun glaring into our poor eyes. It was fantastic.
When the mentors learned that we all were able to swim, we were free to venture and swim about as long as we had adult supervision, aka babysitters. Most of us took advantage of the Balinese sea and ran in, others chilled by the pool or lounged in their hammock. We all survived the coral attacks with battle wounds to prove it. No pain, no gain. To conclude this fine day, we enjoyed a dinner of Japanese food at the beachside café followed by chocolate crepes and fried bananas.
-Rachel and Abbie
Today was our earliest morning yet. We dragged ourselves out of bed at 5 with sore muscles all over from the vigorous swim test the day before. We all gathered on the beach and loaded onto small boats that each fit three people plus the Captain. We departed the beach and headed out to sea. There was a bit of wind and the waves were a good size which added some fun to the voyage. At one point, some of the captains opened the sails and used the wind to propel the boats. We eventually turned around and headed toward a Japanese shipwreck near the shore. After a few minutes, we reached the shipwreck and jumped in the water wearing our snorkeling gear. There was a lot of coral and many cool brightly colored fish along with the degrading ship resting on the sea floor. In addition to the fish there were also some odd looking jelly fish that stung a few people. After snorkeling, we went back to the bungalows where we ate breakfast followed by free time.
At 2:15, the group went on a short hike which ended at a dark cave that led to a pavilion. At the pavilion, we watched a presentation about trash in Bali and then proceeded to make eco-bricks, which are plastic drink bottles filled with non-biodegradable waste such as plastic to the point where it’s as hard as a real brick. We finished this service at 4 and went back to the bungalows where we had some free time until dinner. For dinner, we had burgers which was a nice western surprise. After dinner, at 8, we built a bonfire on the beach where we roasted fruit filled marshmallows and danced to music. When the fun ended, all of us crashed into bed and passed out.
-Nischal and Jordan
For some students, this morning started out early. Many wanted to capture last minute pictures at the beach, while others enjoyed an early morning yoga sesh. Breakfast consisted of chocolate crepes, smoothies, and assorted tropical fruits. Students then made a mad dash to the bungalows and frantically threw their clothes back into their suitcases.
After the three hour scenic ride along the coast of Bali, we finally arrived back at home base. The next two hours gave students the ability to finish their car naps or go wooden mask shopping. Once free time was over, students shuffled downstairs to listen to a presentation on Global health. As we were wrapping up our presentation, the medical students we will be working with for the next few days started rolling in. We learned how to take blood pressure, fill out medical records, and check homes for sanitation. We wrapped up the night with a birthday cake for Maguire.
-Macy and Maria
Sunday June 24, 2018
We all were awakened at 7:00 am to a delicious breakfast, consisting of a banana pancake, along with fruits and corn. After breakfast, we learned about traditional healing and how it can be used to do medical check-ups by watching a video on it. Mangku Kandia, the owner of the Kaya house, gave us medical check-ups using his medical powers, and we all were in good medical condition! He explained to us that with his methods, he can detect rashes and diseases, but he could not detect broken bones. It really impressed us all! We came back shortly after to take some rest before having lunch.
After lunch, we split up into service groups and drove off to different Balinese Banjars (kind of like neighborhood communities). We worked with Balinese medical school students. In each group, consisting of 4-5 GLA students, each person had different roles. The roles were checking the bathrooms for mosquito larva, checking the patient’s height and weight, teaching the people to wash their hands thoroughly. All of us went to at least 2, or maybe 3 houses before leaving. It was a lot of fun, helping these people out!!
We then came back to having a wonderful dinner of rice, chicken, and salad with the medical students before doing an evening activity. All of us had to step into a circle, and one of the staff members would ask personal questions. Every time the question applied to us, we had to step closer into the circle. This activity helped us learn more about each other on a personal level, and it hopefully brought us closer together as a family! It also made us realize that we are not alone, and that we have each other’s backs for anything that comes our way. Now, we are all going to pass out after a long, fun day!
It has been getting close to an end for our trip! We have had so much fun here in Bali, and a lot of us are going to miss it!
Monday June 25, 2018
Today we departed for our adventure at Bumi Sehat, a NGO focused on providing free maternal care and assistance in natural birth. When we entered, it was as if we’d re-entered America. The architecture was new and bright. We ventured on an exploration through the facilities and experienced two babies. We gazed at a few videos depicting the origination of the foundation and a deeper look into the benefits of a water birth. After a few questions and some merch purchases we left, t-shirts in tow. We thought we were going home, but no! Rain<3 took us on a detour to a Whole Foods-like, americanized, Bali market entitled “Bali Buda”. We went ham (and cheese) on the bread and the baked goodery.
After lunch, we went on our second day of home visits with the medical students. We had a blast saving the world, one visit at a time. Blood pressure. Blood sugar. Height. Weight. It was like an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, even with the hand washing. We returned and encountered a bit of free time before dinner. We napped in preparation for our feast. Dinner was noodles. Smiles were a plenty. We found out there was going to be a surprise.
Excitement was building. What were we going to do? We hopped in buses with the knowledge we were going to venture onto an hour long course to our destination, Denpasar. We snaked through the city, seeing lions, tigers, bears, and a sign for “Happy Puppy”. We shrugged the sign off, thinking it was nothing. Little did we know. A U-turn signaled our liftoff to adventure world. Our spacecraft? Happy Puppy Karaoke. Oh snap. We sang and danced the night away with 80’s bops, 2008 classics, and ending with the iconic Nicki Minaj hit “Starships”. We have our differences. We are from different places. We all love different things. But above all, we love Starships. It tightened our bond as a group. We came back, tired yet gratified with our experience, enticed with the idea of another tomorrow.
-Julia and Grace
Tuesday June 26, 2018
We started our day off this morning with a trip to the coffee plantation after a fun night of singing karaoke. At the coffee plantation, we tried a variety of local teas and coffees and learned how they make a delicacy in Bali consisting of the stool from Luwak cats. The coffee comes from the beans that are fed to the cats and then separated from the rest of the waste. Then, we headed to a local Balinese river for some white water rafting!
During the white water rafting, we first met our guide named Made and began our journey on the rapids. The river started off calm and steady, but after a small waterfall, it became a bit rough. The river winded through the Balinese jungle and provided us with many breathtaking views. At the half way point, we had the chance to get out of the boat and look at a giant waterfall sitting in the middle of the jungle!!! After we got back in the boat, there was more twists and turns and we finally made it to the final drop. It was a small waterfall that was 4 meters (1 story) high!!!!
Finally, we finished the day with our last round of service to local families and dinner at an NGO supporting pop up clinics that help less privileged towns that need medical help. Today was our second to last day in Bali and we couldn’t have thought to spend it in a better way. We are excited for some shopping and surfing tomorrow!
-by Hailey and Arriana
The last day was packed with fun in the sun 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 for their peers to sign. This morning, everyone headed off to airport and departed 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 one students and live and learn alongside the 27 leaders and future world changers! While our time together in Bali is complete, our memories and GLA bond are forever <3