Inspired Words

These are the experiences of our volunteers in Bali.

March 6: The project, hard work and fun with the children

Posted in Bali on March 6, 2012

Well, here we are on our second day at the Widhya Asih II orphanage, in Blimbingsari, Bali. I would have started this last night but I was just too darned exhausted after a day of hard work in the heat. The temperature & humidity are both in the 90s, thankfully we have had clouds the past 2 days so we're not working in the blazing sun. I think none of us has ever sweat this much before.

We started our adventure about 8:15am Monday morning when Wayan, the orphanage director, arrived with a couple of vans to take us all to the orphanage. It was a lovely 30 minute drive passing some interesting sights along the way. We had a quiet arrival as most of the kids were in school. As Wayan showed us around the facility we became increasingly impressed with the cleanliness, organization and entrepreneurship of the place. The orphanage has it's own farm (chickens, ducks, goats, pigs, a few cows), water purification system, bio-gas production, fish farm etc. What is not consumed by the children is sold to help support the orphanage.

Our project, here, is to help build a small building to house equipment to produce animal feed. As with everything else, excess feed will be sold for profit. We were impressed and pleased with the progress the group before us had made. The foundation (the real grunt work) and the rear and side walls were completed. Most of the actual construction work is being done by the orphanage workers, we are the bobcats (shovels) and the dump trucks (wheelbarrows) of the crew. We moved a pile of gravel to make a floor base inside the foundation walls then switched to moving sand to make mortar. Of course where there is mortar you need bricks, so we started moving those too. Through all of this we were constantly "helped" by some of the children who weren't at school. Wheelbarrow rides and swing rides seems to be the favorites.

It was a hot tiring morning and we stopped about noon for a much needed rest and some lunch. The ladies provided a nice lunch of rice, chicken and vegetables. The children had arrived for lunch as well. They seem to be a very happy and well cared-for group. They speedily changed out of their school uniforms (they sure look nice all dressed up) into more familiar garb. They quickly assembled for lunch, all of them very well behaved without any sense of being regimented. They are delightful! Some extremely friendly, even affectionate other more reserved but all with lovely, open smiles.

After lunch we were treated to a short concert by the children on the traditional Balinese instruments the angklung - somewhat like a xylophone with 5 notes ( Do-Re-Me-Sol-La for you musicians out there, pentatonic scale?) and the jegog, another hammered instrument made of bamboo trunks. We were very impressed with the children's musical abilities. Just as impressive was a group of about 9 young girls performing traditional Balinese dance. A thoroughly enjoyable apres-lunch entertainment. We then went back to the "salt mine!" Again moving bricks and gravel.

As the children headed back to school for their afternoon classes (3:00 - 5:00 pm) we climbed into the vans for the ride back to the hotel. We quickly headed for the beautifully refreshing hotel pool with snacks and excellent Bintang (the favorite Balinese beer). After showers, rests and dinner at 7:00pm we all headed back to our rooms and quickly crashed in exhaustion.

On our way to the orphanage this morning (Tuesday) some of us stopped to visit the local school where most of the children go. It was a very interesting to see the similarities and differences in school systems. When we got to the orphanage we were pleased and impressed with how much of the wall the workers had raised in our absence. Of course they couldn't have achieved so much work without having all the necessary supplies close at hand. Work, for us was more of the same - bricks and gravel however Jerry and I had a chance to lay a course or so of bricks - something I've always wanted to try. By lunchtime the piles of gravel and bricks had been obliterated. Feeling pleased with ourselves we enjoyed a nice lunch and then spent some very gratifying time doing crafts with the children followed by fresh coconuts picked by one of the boys. Having been delivered back to the hotel we now find ourselves once again sloshing in the pool and drinking Bintang  :-) .

That's all for now, I'll try to write again in a day or two.

Paul Hope
DWC Participant
Bali MArch 2012

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