June 22, 2017
Today the GLA Bali team eagerly awaited the blue “Be the Change” shirts that were due to arrive in the Denpasar airport.
In blue waves from 11 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. the students of GLA’s Bali: Land of Discovery trip arrived for their exciting, enriching 21 days to come! We were driven to our lovely home base in Ubud, ate some local Indonesian cuisine together, and quickly saw how special and incredible this group of teens is.
It is seen as a blessing in Bali when the rains come at certain timing, and today the skies only opened up as the last students walked in to the home base, giving us auspicious beginnings as the weather waited to commence until we were all together.
We are so excited to continue discovering with our group in the days to come!
Below are photos of our team, and we excitedly await the arrival of Gabriella in two days to complete the team.
Om shanti shanti shanti om from Bali,
The GLA Bali Team
Written by Eva Bednar
Today GLA dove headfirst into the Balinese culture exploring the aspects of entertainment, history, royalty, and everyday activities. As our first cultural immersion, we split off into groups into the bale banjar and were overwhelmed by new experiences. At one station we made our own individual offerings for the gods. With leaves and bamboo sewn together, it took a couple of tries before successfully making an offering that didn’t fall apart or one that looked like it was already run over. It was fascinating to see how fast and effortlessly the Balinese could make their offerings in a matter of minutes without actually thinking about it. The next activity was learning to play traditional Balinese music. With instruments that looked like drums and xylophones together we learned simple tunes that once put altogether sounded beautiful, even with the slight ringing left in our ears. Moving on we had the challenging woodcarving station where each person had a stunningly crafted wooden plate with their name engraved on it. It was our mission to finish carving our name with the given tools and shave off the excess wood. Needless to say, for the most part, the part of our names that was carved by the instructors was much, much better than ours. Lastly, we were all able to strut and bust a move in our intricate sarongs on the dance floor as we were taught moves from the traditional legong dance of Bali. This part may have been the hardest of all as the dance is no simple Macarena. With its precise hand poses and exact eye movements, it was fun to learn and a memory none of us will forget. From the banjar we walked to the Peliatan Palace and were in awe of the architecture and history of the palace and its royal family. Speaking of royal family we all had the utmost pleasure of meeting the prince. He was the epitome of kind and friendly, and not exactly what we had expected. He was more than willing to take countless selfies, learn all of our names, and answer any of the questions we had. Following our introduction, we were able to feast like royalty, quite literally. We had a little appetizer, main course, dessert and a hot drink to wash it all down. Without a doubt, it was a meal for the books. To finish the day we had the honor to watch the pro legong dancers of Bali hit the stage and amaze us. Their dance showed us numerous stories of war and love with music constructed throughout the piece. It was breathtaking. As one can see, today was filled with cultural shocks and immersion. It was a wonderful day for learning and new experiences.
June 25, 2017
Today was a packed filled adventure. Our day started with an early rise and we headed off to the Ubud Market to go sample some foods for breakfast. We tried many foods, ranging from fried bananas to snake fruits. After our festive breakfast, we made our way to little shops where we bargained for goods. Once we stocked up on baggy elephant pants and bracelets, we had a chance to visit the Laplapan Rice Paddies farm and enjoy a small snack before moving up the mountain to visit the Tirta Empul Temple. The Temple was beautiful and we were able to participate in a prayer service and learn a formal Balinese prayer. Afterwards, we were starting to get hungry, so we continued up the mountain to Kintamani, a place to have lunch and view the Batur Mountain and Lake Batur, the largest lake in Bali. Lunch was an enormous and delicious buffet — everyone went back for seconds. We were so exhausted after visiting such amazing places, we made our way back to our homestay for some free time and community activities. Some of our community activities included setting our expectations for our group for the rest of the trip and finishing off the day with fun games that made us all laugh. Overall, today was fun filled and we were able to all connect more as a diverse group.
By Mia Davila, Megan Deschapelles, Hattie Ferridge
Today we got a late start at 10am as we headed out on our 3-hour drive from Ubud to our second home base in Singaraja (North Bali). On the way, we stopped at a buffet style restaurant near the banks of Lake Beratan. Lots of us were excited because we had western-style pasta for the first time since we left the States. We then drove a few minutes down the road in order to reach the Ulun Danu Temple, one of the considerably better known sights to see in Bali. Unfortunately, about 10 minutes into our visit, it began pouring down with rain and every single one of us ended up soaked!
Today marked our first day of working with the Balinese children. We taught them the colors and numbers through fun games and activities. The kids were thrilled to see us and super excited to learn! The school day was separated through three fifty minute periods in which the kids went from outdoor games, arts and crafts, to classroom learning. By the end of the school day everyone felt exhausted and accomplished! As the children left they all shook our hands and placed them to their forehead, which in Bali represents wisdom being passed down from the elders to the children.
After an exciting day of working with the kids we then headed back to our homestay and prepped another lesson for tomorrow. We then all got some time to relax and hangout before heading to Lovina beach. There we all got on “spider boats,” which are similar to a long canoe, to watch the sunset. We went out into the Indian Ocean and swam in the perfectly clear water. We saw beautiful coral, tiny fish, and starfish. Then we all got back into the boats and sailed into the sunset. Coming back to the shore we had a delicious dinner made by close friends of our local staff. Everyones favorite part was the french fries. After the wonderful dinner we had a bonfire on the beach with fireworks. We ended our day with songs around the fire and Ryan’s wonderful dance moves.
Written by: Meaghan Brown( I love you mom and dad), Nicole Kaiser (Hi mom and dad 🙂 <3), Isabelle “Izzie” Lifton ( What up Jim and Michelle I miss you )
June 28, 2017
Todays GLA session was about learning more of our leadership characteristics. We had three different rotations in which we had different roles. One activity we did was the leadership compass that talks about our personality and different types of leadership. The second activity was more of a teamwork activity. There was an obstacle course with one person being blindfolded while the other was watching the obstacle course. The person watching the course couldn’t speak, they could only give directions to the blindfolded person. There was then another team member that could speak, but couldn’t see the course. The whole team had to work together, each with their own restriction, to get the blindfolded person dressed up in funny outfits and acting out silly charades. All while not being able to see! The last activity was a competition of making the tallest pyramid, but each member of the group had a role. One member of the team could only use their left hand and others couldn’t speak but could use both hands. These activities were fun, but frustrating at times. It helped us develop leadership skills and better understand our strengths and weaknesses. We also learned that in a team it is very important to communicate.
By: Maria Garcia
June 29, 2017
Very special video vlog update for you all!!!
June 30, 2017
After our usual day of volunteering at the english camp, we had two hours to relax. When those hours were up, we headed to Narayan Seva Children’s Home. Upon our arrival we were given a detailed story about the founding of the home and the values that the children live by. Here we also learned all about the orphans and their daily schedule in Bali. We broke off into groups and were given tours by the eldest kids that live there. We then watched the kids perform acro-yoga that they practice everyday. After, we went into their meditation room and experienced their pre-dinner meditation routine. We then gathered for dinner and the kids were welcoming as they shared their space with us. Our dinner consisted of vegetarian foods that the children eat everyday. Overall, today was an eye-opening day that makes us even more grateful for the lives we live at home.
Created by Maddy K, Chloe W and Ellie!
July 1, 2017
Today we spent the day at the beach resort in Pemuteran in Northwest Bali and went snorkeling! We got the opportunity to learn about the coral restoration project. After a mass amount of bad fishing practices, careless acts of divers and global warming, the coral is unable to survive and the large reef was destroyed. Structures are now being built with an electrical charge running throughout to allow the coral to remain strong and grow faster. We were able to snorkel over these structures and witness the restoration process.
We also made a video!
Made and edited by Stella, Mia R. and Anna. Hi Mom and Dad!
July 2, 2017
We went and played indoor soccer this evening, highlights in the video below 🙂
Created by Meredith Power, Maggie Sebastian, Madeline Coats
July 4, 2017
Today was our last day volunteering at the schools. There were many smiles, hugs, and tears. After we said our goodbyes we drove to Bali Mandara Boarding School. We watched a choir performance, toured the school, and played games with students. Then, we went to Lovina beach for a celebratory Fourth of July dinner- a bonfire, a firework show, and live music. We then headed back to Edutel Resident Halls to celebrate Hattie’s 16th birthday! #happybirthdayhattie #balibirthdaysforthewin
LOVE CELESTE, MADISON C, AND SPENCER K
July 5, 2017
We are headed to East Bali Immersion EcoCamp for an overnight!
Video by Meaghan B., Kate
July 6, 2017
Sunrise hike and East Bali Cashews!
Video by Gabby, Celeste, Spencer D.
July 7, 2017
After waking up to the delightful sunrise and the sound of the waves crashing on the sand, we gathered in our beachfront bungalows. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast then left in groups to travel to a dive resort. Here, we learned the basics of scuba diving in the resort’s 12 foot deep pool and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. We then put our learning to the test and completed our first dive into the ocean. We were all shocked and excited to see the ocean from a new perspective. We saw schools of fish, an underwater temple, coral, and more.
While most of us were new to diving, 5 of us had some previous experience. These certified divers travelled 40 minutes away to a shipwreck 70 feet below the surface. They also completed a second dive where they experienced the vibrant fish and coral reefs that the other 34 students witnessed in their introductory dive. We were all in awe of the charm of the town of Amed, especially when we received friendly smiles from the locals.
After our dive, we returned back to our bungalows and were treated to a delicious western dinner– pizza! Many of us also enjoyed ordering our own food from the restaurant adjacent to our bungalows, from tropical fruit plates to whole coconuts to fried pineapple. We ended the night with a group game (where we learned just how bad we are at counting), and some relaxing in our hammocks.
While we were all excited to enjoy another scuba adventure tomorrow, it is undeniable that all of us are sad to end our short stay here in Amed– it has truly felt like paradise! Off to Ubud tomorrow!
– Spencer Knutson, Zoe Peach-Riley, Madison Cook
Today we left around 8am and took a 45 minute drive to an elephant sanctuary. 27 of the elephants were saved from Sumatra and 4 were born naturally in the sanctuary. While there we got to wash the elephants using a hose and a brush to scrub their skin. Then we were able to feed them bamboo and corn and take our pictures with them; one really likes to hug you with its trunk. We also saw a talent show, one could kick a soccer ball, another could spin a hoola-hoop on its trunk, and one could walk across a log beam. Many students did not watch the talent show because of their opinion on the training of the animals and weather or not it was ethically right. We chose to wash them instead of ride them because of many opinions that the training is cruel and that riding the elephant is painful to the elephant. We had a lot of fun with the one on one time we were able to spend with the creatures. We later took an hour drive from the home base and made our way to Tanah Lot Temple. It had a very large shopping area where we were all able to go and get the majority of gifts for family and friends along with things for themselves. After a full afternoon at the temple and watching the sunset we ended our long day with a car ride back to our homestay in Peliatan.
Hannah Dillon and Josh Ferris
Last morning to see the students off at the airport. We had such an amazing time with all of you and hope you have safe travels home!