Time Capsule Letter – October 2016
Wow! Can you believe it has already been a few months since we were all together in Bali? I feel like it was just yesterday that we were eagerly awaiting your arrivals at the airport and see your jetlagged faces ready to embark on an adventure of a lifetime ☺
Recently I have been back to Lovina to visit our friends from the summer. We reminisced about all the fun we had with Domingo, Anik and the singing boys at the beach. Saw the dorm staff and they say its already lonely and feeling vacant without you there. And of course I visited the schools that you made such an impact on. The children were so excited to see me because they thought I had brought all of you back! Unfortunately not, but I can tell from talking to the teachers that they have a new enthusiasm for learning that directly stems from your incredible teaching ☺☺
I hope that you have had an amazing start to your new school year. I have no doubt that you have stayed true to your commitments that you left with at the end of the program and that you have a new understanding of your role in the world. Keep traveling and keep taking risks, I know that each of you is going to make such a difference in the world!
Miss you all and stay in touch!
-Ryan and the rest of GLA Bali Staff
Here are just some of the things I remember from our summer together:
- The holy water ceremony where we got drenched!
- The Lion King theme song with Luna
- Meditation and dinner with children from Narayan Seva
- A special birthday surprise for Rose!
- Ros and her endless knowledge of alternative healing treatments
- Beth and Jennifer with their incredible voices
- The boys terrible singing at dinner in the dorms
- SO SO SO many children to teach!
- Noah’s ability to disappear during night tag in Amed
- And so much more!
Summer Blog Posts
Selamat Datang di Bali! (Welcome to Bali!)
After a long day of arrivals, we have our entire Gla community together in Ubud! Here is the first photo of the group, along with some of our staff waiting at the airport for students to arrive.
More photos and stories to come, stay tuned!
– GLA Bali Staff
July 18, 2016
We woke up to pouring rain and had toast and eggs with tea and coffee for breakfast. After we had our first global citizenship seminar. We did an exercise where controversial topics were asked and we had to share our viewpoints without judgement. It was still raining and we had amazing chicken soup for lunch and went to our workshop. At the workshop we had 4 stations where we learned how to make Balinese offerings. Made woodcarvings of our names, created authentic Balinese music. And finally learned how to dance the Legong in our sarongs. Finally we had a tour around the prince of Peliatan’s palace and met him to have dinner. He was very friendly and we had great conversation. For dinner we had rice, green beans, chicken kabob, and fruit- everything with lots of spice! Everyone is already super close and having tons of fun!
Elle LeBlanc and Rachel Eldridge
July 19, 2016: Video Blog
July 20, 2016
Today was the day that we transferred locations from Ubud, Bali to Singaraja, Bali. During our drive to the second home base, we made a few stops on the way. First, we stopped at the world famous temple: Ulun Danu, Danau Bratan. Ulun Danu, Danau Bratan is one of the main temples in Bali and is wildly recognized because of its history to the Balinese culture. After we left the temple, we had an extravagant lunch at a very tasty restaurant close to the temple. Shortly after we arrived to our home base in Singaraja, we took a trip to Lovina Beach and took a dip in the ocean before heading out the spider boats. On the spider boat, the group went snorkeling and watched the sunset. When we returned back to shore, our friend Domingo prepared us a very yummy, flavorful dinner at his beachside restaurant. Him and his staff then set up a bonfire where the group sang along to popular American songs. It was a fun filled day in Bali. We closed our night by participating in our first evening activity: Mentor Olympics. We split off into three groups and participated against each other in a series of games. First we untangled ourselves in a game of Human Knot, and then we finished off the night in a game of blindness. Each group was blindfolded and each person was given a number. They then had to arrange themselves in numerical order without speaking or seeing. It was a fun day. Can’t wait for tomorrow! Thanks for reading. 🙂
We started off the day with our typical morning routine; after breakfast we continued with an activity which entailed a personality test that showed us the type of leader that we all are and the pros and cons that come along with it. After the personality test we all participated in a game where one was blind folded and the group had to blindly direct the person. The game taught us how essential communication and compromise is in our daily lives. After these activities we ate lunch and continued to prepared our lesson plans. We then left for our second day of service and taught the kids a new topic, which was animals and landscape. Teaching the kids is always such a joyful experience because it’s a gift to know that we get to expand their knowledge. Once we left we immediately began to plan our next day. We then ended the night with a fun game of musical chairs.
Hello fellow friends and family and readers of the blog! Today we began our day a bit differently with a nice trip to the beach. We spent about three hours with some nice sunshine and swimming, along with some shopping. Once we got back we enjoyed a nice lunch that consisted of traditional Balinese food which was rice, grilled chicken, potato and corn fritters, and fruit. After we split into our mentor groups to have a discussion on our strengths and weaknesses as a person and who inspired us the most in our lives. This discussion helped us reflect and realize why it’s important to look up to someone because those are the people that help shape the person you are today. Once we finished our mentor group discussions we headed for our third day of volunteering at our schools. Today’s topic was food! It was fun to teach the different types of food to the children and to see how excited they were once they got something right. It’s always the best part of the day being able to be a part of expanding a child’s knowledge. After teaching we came back to the home base and enjoyed dinner. The mentors got us all pizza because it can be a little tiring eating rice and chicken all the time. During our free time after dinner the whole GLA staff and GLA members got together to decorate the common room for a surprise birthday party for a fellow GLA member, Rose! She was very surprised and had a very happy birthday! After some relaxation and fun we headed straight to work to create our new lesson plan for tomorrow. We had a pretty exciting day today and there is only more to come, so stay tuned! And a VERY Happy Birthday to Rose Rogers! ☺
July 24, 2016
We woke up bright and early this morning to volunteer at the school at 8:30 am. Seeing the kids is super exciting because their enthusiasm and love for learning inspires us all. Jesse’s compassion, Anna’s positivity, and Channing’s passion with the children inspire our peers and is often reflected back in their attitudes. Even when we say goodbye at the end of each day, every child makes sure to say goodbye to every one of us.
Then, we headed off of to the children’s home which was definitely eye opening. These are some of the happiest children we’ve ever met – greeting us all like we’ve known them forever. The head of the children’s home educated us about their school. Their home is barely funded by the government, receiving most funds from donations. She also said that their daily schedule consists of mediation, yoga, studying, cleaning, school and cooking. All of the kids agree that the yoga and meditation really helps them focus and be patient. They all contribute in these household chores to build a sense of community. The kids also performed a Balinese dance and yoga show for us which was truly amazing.
After visiting the children’s home, we got together for a huge soccer tournament at an indoor field. Jennifer’s spirit, Valerie’s determination, and Nikki’s enthusiasm were contagious in this scene, lightening the room around them. As the teams battled it out, we all broke a sweat and created stronger bonds.
July 25, 2016
Good morning creators,
Today we had to wake up earlier than usual to go into town and visit a nearby community. Here, we were helping to clean up plastic to support the no-plastic movement that has been recently implemented in Bali. We then visited the community temple, prayed together, and later got our souls “purified” with holy water. The ceremony lasted about one hour and was led by the head of the temple. After this we drove to Hardy’s market and were allowed to purchase various snacks and clothing, as well as play arcade games. Following lunch, we went to our fifth day of volunteering at the school. Today was a special day where we were allowed to assign our own lesson plan topics, adding to the difficulty of teaching the children. All of our activities today were filled with excitement and interesting lessons.
P.S.- tell Cuervo I say hi
Brianna and Nikki
July 26, 2016
Today was relaxing and had a different vibe to the rest of the trip. After breakfast we went on a long drive to a beach resort. When we arrived in Pemuteran, we listened to a presentation from locals about the preservation of coral reefs. It was very interesting. To our dismay, we found out that 55% of all coral reefs have been destroyed on account of global warming and selfish human activities such as cyanide fishing and dynamite fishing. Fortunately, two clever men came up with a solution to the coral problem: Biorock. Biorock is a metal structure with electric currents running through it that help the coral grow 3-5 times quicker than usual ones. When at the resort, we had the pleasure of getting to see the Biorock, with its coral and the corals inhabitants. A local took us snorkeling in the ocean and we saw many fish such as the clownfish and blue tang (Nemo and Dory). The whole time we were continuously stung by jellyfish, but the view was worth the pain. During part of the snorkeling there was torrential rain, which was kind of cool. By the time we were done, the weather was lovely and we sunbathed and got massages. When at home base we ate then constructed our lesson for tomorrow. Then we played games including one that caused us to get deep in our feelings.
Beth Hawksworth and Presley MaGann
July 27, 2016
Today was a fairly normal day for us. We had an egg and toast breakfast and then we left on an hour-long drive to a boarding school. For the later part of the drive we had a view of the ocean to our left. Arriving at the school there was an immediate difference between the privately funded orphanage we had visited earlier in the week. The boarding school we visited is a government-funded school for gifted but impoverished children from primary age through high school. We met with different students our age and were given a tour of their school. Afterwards we ate lunch together. Following lunch we returned to one of their halls where we were taught how to make offerings and were given lessons in traditional Balinese dance. After saying goodbye to the students we had met we drove back to Singaraja to teach English. We work in groups of five or six at two different elementary schools; we teach three different classes of English using classroom work, art, and games. After volunteering we walked back to our dorms in the afternoon heat. Walking around in the afternoon shows us what the locals here are doing; we see vendors, students, and children going about their normal lives in Singaraja. After dinner we planned our lessons for tomorrow, which will be our seventh of eight days teaching the children. We then met in our mentor groups and talked about how we could grow as leaders and leave our comfort zones with the last few days of volunteering we have left. After a health check with our respective mentors we were told that we would be competing in an improv competition in our mentor groups. The mentors judged our performances and the winners got ice cream. The rest of us went to bed.
July 29, 2016
Today was our last day of volunteering. We woke up at the usual time and had some cereal for breakfast. After breakfast we had a five and a half hour GLA session about social entrepreneurship and volunteering. We watched a Ted talk about voluntourism, which helped us learn that not all volunteer programs have the right intentions. After the video we got broken up into 8 groups where we had to create a social business around environmental or educational problems. Each group presented their ideas to their peers.
Shortly after the presentation, we walked to the schools for our last day of volunteering. One group taught the children about the 7 wonders of the world and had them colour in the picture. Another group taught the children verbs where they had to perform the actions and race each other. For the remaining 10 minutes we had a full review of what we taught them. They really enjoyed it because they were rewarded candy for each right answer. We said our goodbyes and many tears were shed. The children gathered around all the GLA students and gave them gifts. We finally said our last farewells and headed for Domingo’s restaurant. Many of us changed into their swimsuits and dove into the ocean with a breathtaking sunset behind our backs. We had a buffet style dinner, which incorporated Indonesian and Western food. Several of the students got massages from the Balinese masseuses. We gathered around a bonfire where we sung and danced while the fireworks were lighting up the sky. We all left the beach and we’re sad that we’re leaving Singaraja. Tomorrow we depart for Amed where we will be scuba diving.
Erin Connors, Eve Marks
July 30 2016
In the morning we woke up to a GLA class where we learned about cross- cultural communication; we divided into groups where we created our own community dealing with the issue of cultural differences. To create a successful, well-rounded civilization we had to take everyone’s cultural values into consideration. We were all able to construct a project in which we achieved our goal.
After a nice meal of lunch, we headed to our schools to teach fourth, fifth and sixth graders different topics in English. One of the groups taught directions and danced the cha cha slide with the kids. Another group used worksheets and calendars to instruct on weather and time to the students. Household items and tourism were other topics taught.
Jessica Lefebvre and Ana Vilana
August 2, 2016
Today we had an early morning and we headed to an elephant reserve. It took us approximately 1 hour to reach our destination. The car ride was long and the roads were narrow and winding, but the view was amazing. When we reached the elephant safari, everyone started getting anxious because we could all see the elephants in the distance. We first crossed a small pool which housed a two metre Arapaima which is a rare freshwater fish, and two Pacus which are omnivores and sometimes mistaken for piranhas. Shortly after, we started to interact with the elephants. We fed them all sorts of fruits and vegetables and took several pictures with them. Everyone was overjoyed and we went to watch a talent show. The show consisted of the elephants playing sports, painting on a canvas, and playing with the audience. Although, it was a short talent show, we quickly hopped onto the back of several elephants. The elephants took us around the premises. The ride was bumpy and everyone had a lot of fun. After an exciting morning, we hopped into the buses again and headed back to Madra for lunch. In the afternoon, we visited a tourist temple where we shopped for four hours. It took around an hour and thirty minutes to reach our destination. The temple was by the ocean and it was a unique view. The temple was to worship their god of water. The building was protected by a holy snake which would bring you good luck if you touched it. Once there, everyone went into a shopping frenzy. We broke off into small groups and bargained our way through the whole market. Several of us purchased paintings while others received henna painting which are temporary tattoos that allow the students to express themselves. We had a scrumptious dinner there and watched the beautiful sunset. Sadly, all the stores were closing and so we returned to our home stay to rest for tomorrow where we are going to have an exciting day full of rafting and coffee.
Ps: We apologize we don’t have any pictures of the market, we were having tons of fun and we forgot about that.
-Valentina Mantilla and Ryan Wong
August 3, 2016
Today, we went to a coffee plantation, Teraz Agro, in Karang Asem. The coffee was made from Luwak poop! A Luwak is an animal that is native to Bali which basically looks like a cuter opossum. We sampled several different types of coffee and tea and even got a chance to purchase some at the gift shop located at the end of our plantation tour. We experienced the natural ingredients that each organic coffee and tea was made with such as: vanilla, mangosteen, ginger, cinnamon, lemongrass, ginseng, and coconut. After the brief visit to the coffee plantation, we set out on a short drive to our next adventure. We arrived to the whitewater rafting place fifteen minutes away from the coffee plantation and spent the afternoon ripping through crazy dips and spills down the class 3-4 river. Our river guides created certain code words in order to give us our paddling commands and ensure our safety. There was the obvious forward/backward paddle but there was also “boom-boom” and “pedal to the metal”. “Boom-boom” meant we were about to crash into something so we should hold on and “pedal to the metal” fed into our competitive side and was a way to get us enthusiastic about paddling for nearly 2 hours. The ride down the river was not only exciting, but also beautiful being surrounded by greenery and waterfalls. Towards the end of our adventure, we rafted daringly down a waterfall. After our whitewater rafting experience, we climbed up what felt like 10,000 stairs to a restaurant with a beautiful view. We ate lunch, tanned, and changed out of our wet clothes for the long ride back to our homestays. Finally, after an incredible day we arrived at our homestays and rejuvenated ourselves in preparation for an enlightening and final GLA session.
GLA Bali Babes- Nat and Ro
To access the video posted CLICK HERE
Last day in Bali!
Saying goodbye at the airport. We had so much fun with you all, you are our new GLA Bali family! Stay in touch and we hope to see you back here soon 🙂
– Your GLA Bali Staff