Participants are finally arriving and all of us here at GLA Bali could not be more excited! We are still waiting on three more participants who will be arriving either late tonight or during the day tomorrow, but here’s everyone so far!
Everyone has arrived and GLA Bali has started in earnest! Today we all got an intro to Bali and Balinese culture, before setting off on a 4 hour scavenger hunt around Ubud! We met and interviewed interesting people, learned about the culture, tried some new foods and so much more! After dinner, GLA Bali attended a Kecak dance (fire dance), pictured below – it was out of this world!
The day started off with our group meeting at 6:30am for breakfast. Our plan was to visit the early morning market, which opens at around 4am and closes at 9am, when it turns into a tourist market. Vendors here sell fruits, vegetables, fish, meats, spices and offerings, and Balinese people, mainly the women, do their daily grocery shopping here in the morning. We got to try delicious fruits and traditional Balinese breakfast dishes, such as a Pisa Goreng (a fried banana). It was very nice to see locals doing their grocery shopping to get a real feeling of what their everyday lives look like. After the market, we drove to beautiful rice paddies and took a walk along these gorgeous fields. Rice – of course is one of the main ingredients for Balinese dishes, however, the Balinese people do not actually eat the rice they grow and harvest for months – they eat imported rice due to a cheaper price.
Next on our program was visiting the Tirta Empul Water Temple, which is a Hindu temple that is visited everyday by devotees of Hindu to fulfill their rituals. We even got the chance to experience such a prayer ourselves, and we participated in one of their praying ceremonies. In the temple, we had to wear our Sarang and Sash, which is traditional Balinese clothing. It was a very unique experience that gave us an insight of Hindu rituals and their religion and beliefs.
After visiting the temple, we had a hour-long car drive ahead of us – to Kintamani, which is a popular tourist destination as it provides a wonderful view of the volcano Mount Batur as well as Lake Batur, which is the biggest lake in Bali. Here we had lunch at a delicious restaurant, and we ate traditional Indonesian food along with the best view of the volcano that you could ever imagine.
On the car ride home, we were all tired and many of us took the opportunity to take a nap in the car. Back at the homestay, one of our mentors Agung gave us our first language course in Indonesian and so we learned how to say Good Morning (Selamat Pagi) or Thank you ( Terima Kasih).
We ended the day with a reflection upon what we did and saw today. It was a very interesting experience to see Balinese interact with each other at the market and the temple, and of course the food we had today was amazing as well.
Today we started with a discussion about global citizenship and our own roles in the communities we inhabit- local, national, and global. We talked about a multitude of issues that impact people all over the world, and explored our own perspectives on them to work towards the betterment of the entire global community.
Later, after a lunch of nasi campur (rice with many different sides), we dawned our sarongs and headed to the local banjar (community center) for lessons in traditional Balinese cultural activities. First we worked on our skills in Gamelan music and with Bapak’s conducting, we learned a song commonly played in Balinese ceremonies and could almost play it in nine-part harmony. Next up was Legong dance, where we practiced our coordination to move hips, feet, head and eyes all at the same time without letting our elbows drop. Then we learned to make two kinds of traditional offerings by bending bamboo peels and sealing them with stick pins. The products were filled with a plethora of multi-colored flowers and sweet smelling grass. Our final banjar activity was woodcarving where we were presented with wooden plaques of our names to finish using mallets, metal picks and sandpaper.
To round out the day we dressed in our finest Bali gear and drove to the Palace of Peliatan for an inside tour and dinner with Prince Cok Agung. We got to sit down for a humble conversation with the Prince in the private Palace temple over a wide range of topics from tourism to culture to food delicacies before we enjoyed a lovely dinner prepared by his Palace kitchen staff.
Finally, our evening closed with a spontaneous visit to the banjar to watch the Gamelan musicians rehearse for their performance in an upcoming ceremony.
Hey all! This short video that I made will allow you to take a look at a few of the things we got to see today. We first drove to Bedugul to see Lake Bratan and the Ulun Danu Beratan Temple. We then drove to Singaraja, where we’ll be staying for 10 days for English camp.
Download Video: Bali Video
The Beginning of the End
Coral is beautiful unless it’s sharp and positioned so well that it makes a perfect cut on your foot. That’s right. I got a cut on my foot while we were at the beach in Lovina. The locals rushed to my help with tissue to absorb the bleeding and herb to disinfect the wound. Thankfully, one of the GLA counselors brought first aid kit. The cut was nothing too serious. This was at the end so let me start from the beginning.
The Beginning of the Beginning
The first day of school, or camp should I say, is always nerve-racking. Will the kids like me? Will they have fun? We arrived to the school in Lovina early in the morning and the students were already buzzing with excitement. The students became fortunetellers in art, sharks in games, and color hunters in class.
The End of the Beginning
By lunchtime, our camp was over, the students left, and we boxed lunches at the school. Then we went back to the dormitory to relax before going to the beach.
The Middle of the End
Once my cut was taken care of and we finally were able to evade the swarm of craft sellers on the beach, we rode spider boats out into the ocean. The sunset was beautiful and the horizon looked like pink fluffy cotton candy. We took and a lot of great pictures in the middle of the ocean and we even tried to take one under water. That pictured turned out blurry but it was worth a shot.
The End of the End
Back at the beach, we had dinner at the beachside restaurants while the craft sellers anxiously watched us. If you make eye contact with any one of them, they will try and lure you with their “cheap prices” and “good deals.” Good thing we had some experience in bargaining or else the craft sellers would essentially be robbing us in a fair way. We ended our beach trip with a sing-a-long. We are hoping that the counselors will take us to a karaoke place. Fingers crossed!
Today was our second day working at the school in Lovina. Everyone rotated roles. Grace, DJ, and Sawyer were outside; Taylor and Mishta were in the art room, and Alanis and Declan were teaching inside the classroom. Today’s topic was animals. After teaching we all went back to the dorms and took a break. After the break we were taught the foods in Bahasa because that’s going to be the topic for tomorrow. As soon as we were all finished preparing and learning for tomorrow’s classes, Ryan got a few of us to play soccer behind the building. There was Team Girls, which consisted of Mishta, Sawyer, Taylor, Jackie, and two of the hotel staff (who were not girls). And there was Team 2, which was made up of Ryan, Julian, DJ, Declan, and one of the hotel staff (who also was not a girl, but that doesn’t really matter in this case). Although outnumbered 5-to-7, Team 2 defeated Team Girls with a final score of 10-to-6. After soccer, everyone had thirty minutes to shower, and get ready to go-out for dinner. We walked out to go try some street food. There was mie goreng (fried noodles), fried bananas (pisang goreng, but no one calls it that) and several other miscellaneous foods. There was so much food that we only ate about half of it! We ate so much it was all very tasty. For dessert, Ryan and Agung walked a mile away from where we were sitting eating the street food, and then we met them back at the dorms where we played games while waiting for dessert. They came back with a few boxes of this pastry that was fluffy like a pancake, but thicker, and had a thick chocolaty/nutty filling. For the evening activity our leader of the day, Alanis, decided to play a game where there were six categories (country, city, celebrity etc), and we’d get a letter, and we’d have to fill out the categories with things that began with that letter (please revise, I don’t know the actual name/how to properly explain it, or just leave this in as a joke or a blooper or some sort of “Behind the Scenes” sort of thing). It was a lot of fun and a good game choice. Today was a very exhausting day, so everyone made their ways to their rooms at around 9:30.
Today we taught the kids the names of food in English. Alanis and Declan taught them about food using clay in the art room. Mishta and Taylor played games outside like “apple, apple, banana” and “hot potato”. Sawyer and DJ made menus in the classroom to teach kids how to order in English. After volunteering we headed back to the hotel for a much needed rest. For dinner, we drove out to Lovina where we enjoyed a beach sunset and our first western meal.
6/23/2015 – Today’s Timeline
7:15 Breakfast begins and we discuss any last minute details of our volunteering plans for the day
8:30 We get to the school and see all the kids who are so excited to see us and we prepare our activities for the day. The topic of today was days of he week, times of the day, and the months. The games group played “What time is it Mr. Fox” and the kids had a great time. The art group made a collage of all the months, which turned out beautifully. The classroom group taught the days of the week and months of the year in an interactive way.
12:00 We came back to our hotel to discuss the day’s volunteering and have delicious Nasi Goreng for lunch
12:30 We all then went to our rooms to take a much needed nap after the hard day of volunteering
2:30 After we were all rested we came together to plan the next day’s activities for the kids
4:00 To end our day we took a trip to the beach in Lovina. We spent some time shopping in the market and bargaining down prices then went down to the beach and played telephone
6:00 For dinner we went to Anik’s Place and spent the rest of the evening drinking banana juice and singing along to songs on the beach.
Today we took a day trip to Pemuteran, a beachside village about an hour from our base in Sinagaraja. We began with two guest speakers and an informative video on the Coral Restoration Project in Pemuteran and the use of biorock skeletons to initiate the regrowth of Bali’s colorful corals. This idea centers on the concept of an electronic current, which can be heard when snorkeling over the biorock, which stimulates the formation of calcium carbonate on the structure, allowing coral to grow in waters where nearly all of it had been destroyed by, now illegal, fishing bombs.
After learning of these efforts to rebuild the coral community, we actually got to snorkel over the biorock coral and watch the fish swim in their preserved habitat through water that was as clear as glass (see the video below). Then we proceeded to hold a high-stakes, nine-person game of Uno, competing for a…drumroll please…high five!! We finished our day at the beach relaxing in the sun and taking a break from our work in the school before driving back to Singaraja to prepare to tomorrow’s lesson on conversational favorites and hobbies.
Today at the school we taught favorites. In the art group we had the students create a “Book of Favorites” and even got several kids to come up and present their books in English in front of the class. When we got back to the hotel, after resting, we had our second to last GLA session. We split up into two groups and made a pretend business to better the community in Indonesia. The business had to be self-sustaining, innovative, and impactful.
YouTube Video: https://youtu.be/BgPAnqbnVa8
Today DJ made a video blog. Here is the link: https://youtu.be/_e8NcQBQPMQ
Have you ever had the chance to view the world from the back of an elephant?
Me neither … But today I finally got to experience these wonderful animals from not more than inches away! We started our day at usual time – around 7:30am we enjoyed delicious fruits and pancakes for breakfast to get some energy for the day. On the car ride to the Elephant Safari Park we were all very excited – only one of us had ridden an elephant before and described it to us as one of the most amazing experiences she’s ever had!
Once we got to the park, the elephants were all ready for the little photoshoot the tourists enjoy having with these fascinating creatures. Selfies, polaroids and videos were taken in large amounts, as you can in the photos below. While waiting to be called up for our elephant ride, the hourly elephant show took place. Drinking banana juices and Frappuccino’s, the GLa troop got presented an incredible talent show by the elephants themselves – they played soccer, basketball, solved math problems and sprayed the audience with water, which they seemed to enjoy the most… Then, finally, our group got called up for the elephant ride. A bit nervous, but far more excited, we took a seat in the basket that was attached to the elephant’s back. The ride was quite shaky, but I absolutely loved it!
After we got back to our homestay in Ubud, we had a little time to rest before we would have our last GLa session. This one was about wrapping up everything that we have learned in the previous sessions, which included Global Citizenship, Volunteerism, Social Entrepreneurship and Cross-Cultural Communication. We got to identify what kind of leader we all were, which was very interesting to see and definitely very helpful for future anticipations. We ended the session with a reflection upon the entire trip, which included the learning on Balinese culture and volunteering, but most importantly how we would apply this knowledge and understandings to our own community and personal lives. It has been a fantastic day J
It is Independence Day, and also our groups last full day in Bali! The time went by so quickly, but there was no time to be sad on our last day as we spent it surfing at the beach, and then watching the sunset! We sure are going to miss everyone!