In April, as I was preparing myself to visit Green School in Bali, I had the opportunity to help my friend's compnay organize a workshop for Japanese middle school students to interact with international students in Okinawa.
As I was getting to know the international students, I found that one of the students were from Indonesia, so I asked "Where in Indonesia are you from?" She replies,
"I'm from Bali!"
It didn't take very long for us to become friends and we started talking about our dreams, and where she grew up in Bali.
She grew up in a village in middle of Bali. The name of the village is Batuaji, where I will end up visiting and staying 3 night when I go to Bali.
She told me about the situation in the village and I wanted to know how I can help, so she said "If you can bring pens and papers for the children they will be very happy!"
She got me in touch with her cousin in Batuaji, and we were able to organize a little meet up with the children in Batuaji.
In April me and my two other friends arrived in Bali, and the next day, we visited Batuaji. I was so amazed at how nice the people were and how adorable the children were. The children wanted to meet again the next morning and we shared our culture and they shared theirs.
(With the girls)
The people in the village treated us like we were their family. My friend's mum welcomed us to her home and served us breakfast, lunch and dinner. We talked with the young adults of the village, we played games at night and had so much fun together.
(Playing games and having discussions)
I wanted to bring some of my Japanese friends here so I came up with an idea to organize a little trip to Batuaji, and went back with 6 others in July.
The people in Batuaji were welcoming just like last time. We met with the kids at school, and got together after school for some cultural and gift exchange!
And now I want to share how amazing Batuaji is and why I love Batuaji!
1. The people are filled with love and kindness
The people are so welcoming and gives us a huge smile all the time! They help us and makes sure that we are all ok. Even with barrier of language, they try to communicate with us and cares us from all aspect. I was amazed when they served us breakfast, lunch AND dinner. When people heard that there are guests, parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends came to us and said hi. Most of the people are very relaxed, and has the capasity to care for other people. Maybe this is the basics of being a human, but this maybe something "developed countries" are missing. The capasity or a little room in our lives to offer help to others.
(this is how breakfast looks like!)
2. Chickens are everywhere!
I love the scenery of Batuaji, how nature lives with humans, but most of all... the chickens. They're everywhere and they are ALLOWED to be everywhere! To me that's amazing because most of the cases, the chickens are in cages all their life laying eggs or preparing to be eaten by humans. When I saw the chickens, I felt like people were living with nature.
3. Made me rethink what a "farm" is...
One of our friends said "I'll take you to my granpa's farm!" and where he took us was.... A FOREST. A forest willed with banana trees, jackfruit, cacao trees, coffe trees, wild chickens, cows, coconut trees and what not... It was amazing, and at the same time THIS is how a farm should look like! Because of the tall trees, there's shade in the "farm" which shuts the strong sunlight and keeps moist, and the soil is very soft. Well, maybe not after the boys sweeped the leaves and started playing soccer in the "farm"!
(boys playing soccer at the "farm")
4. Culture and traditions are still alive and peopel care for it
When I talked to the young adults of the village back in April, they all agreed that cuture and traditional are very important to them. In Bali, people leaves offerings every morning, I think also lunch time and every evening. As our culture and traditions are dying in Japan, I had a very complex feeling. Culture and traditions change over the years, but should we let other forces change the way of our lives and culture? Staying in Batuaji, I felt like Balinese people will keep their culture and traditions dispite of the power of an outsider -little bit similar to the Okinawan Eisa dance and other cultural traditions maybe?
Now, I am in love with Batuaji and makes me want to go to Bali just to visit Batuaji! Everyone I invited to Batuaji were very happy, and I hope the people in the village felt the same way as well...!
Now, it's time to save money for my next trip!