Bulletin 09 April 2012Rotary Club Bali Ubud Sunset District 3400/No.79571 Meeting every Monday at 5:30pm Maya Resort, Ubud “The difference between ‘involvement’ and ‘commitment’ is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast: the chicken was ‘involved’ – the pig was ‘committed’.” – unknown Bulletin April 9, 2012
Attending: Rosalind, Bill, Mandy, Fred, Janet, Bruce, Mr Chu, Cat, Gabe, Allan
Apologies: Alisa, LLoyd, Sue W, Marilyn, Rick and Danielle (all in the US), Don and Sue B (somewhere in the Pacific), Antje (Germany), Augie (tending to the new business, Ubud Deli), Driya and Probo, Rustiasa, Jody, Kadek, Mary Jane (Singapore), Patricia, Tjok Raka
Guests: Autumn Reifensyder (Catalina Island, USA), Ruth Austin (Sydney, AU), Jenn Richardson (speaker) and her guest Cheryl.
Rosalind and Bruce reported on the RCBUS Fellowship on Sunday at Puri Rangki, a cultural centre developed by Rucina and Agung. Guests caravanned to Rangki, about 35 minutes from Ubud. We admired the magnificent hand carved gates, beautiful antique statues and other elements of this Balinese cultural centre, including a garden with 30 kinds of frangipani. Rangki includes a river, holy spring,swimming pool and buildings to rent for overnights. It’s a quiet, beautiful destination, and a dip in the elegant new pool was the perfect ending to our tour. Many thanks to Rucina and Agung for hosting this event!
Rotarian Stewart Martin from Oregon will be here at the end of April, addressing our club April 30 and off to Sumba with Cat on May 1 for 24 hours. Stew’s club headed a consortium that put together a matching grant for tanks and toilets in 2010. He is interested in learning more about Project Hope Sumba and perhaps providing more tanks and toilets. WatSan is his passion.
Our club is number four in the top 30 RCs in Indonesia! The criteria make a complicated formula of membership and fundraising, but however they count us, we’re impressed!
Gabe Monson presented on her Sumatra trip, where she spoke Indonesian almost exclusively for two weeks. She had a wonderful time, especially in Aceh, where she experienced nothing but friendliness and respect. Troubles with her computer sadly prevented showing her photos, so we’re including a selection here.
First she attended Stephen and Ochie’s (founders of Cinta Bahasa) wedding in Padang. The Minangkabau culture is matrilineal; women own property, make the big decisions and as a woman visitor Gabe was well fed by the women in the Cooking Pot Group. Ochie’s auntie, the matriarch, decided that as Stephen had no female relatives present Gabe should be nominated as his honorary aunt for the duration. She was dressed appropriately and took part in the wedding procession which was very exotic and included Sufi drummers. Gabe genuinely felt that she was carrying the lineage of western women in the context of this cultural group.
She also became fascinated by the architecture — the sweeping Minangkabau roof lines inspired by buffalo horns, and the complex carving of the buildings.
Her next stop was Batak country and Lake Toba, where you can still get a nice lakeside room with
hot water for Rp 30,000 in a hotel that went bankrupt after the Bali bomb. The lake is extremely beautiful. Toba was the only place in Sumatra where she saw alcohol. Here she found a great diversity of architecture, from humble shacks to magnificent flying roofs of big houses in “lurid” colours and decorated with exquisite hand painted glass. There were as many houses for the dead as the living. The Lake Toba animist tradition honouring ancestors is still strong, with large ornate tombs everywhere.
In Aceh, Gabe wore the jilbab (head scarf) which the local people appreciated. Aceh pride is very strong, especially during her visit with an election going on. She found the buildings here, too, very colourful and brightly painted.
She was very impressed by the vast size of Aceh. Crossing the province by local buses with their huge sound systems, she grew to like dangdut music, which took her mind off death on the terrible roads. The drivers often would get out to inspect the roads before proceeding.The journeys seemed endless, crossing one mountain after another with forest everywhere. Aceh is rife with illegal logging and ganja, the use of which is which is part of the culture. Since the Acehnese don’t drink, they resent central government outlawing alcohol–they use it in cooking.
Crossing Sumatra by bus, Gabe finally arrived at Yayasan Bumi Sehat in Samatiga where Rotary Ubud had built a clinic and donated the ambulance. A sign announced that Robin had won CNN Hero of the Year award. The Clinic is used as a community centre as well as a medical centre. One of the cooks told her that she worked long hours because if she stayed at home, she was overwhelmed by memories of the earthquake and tsunami (Samatiga was close to the epicenter). She is one of just 4 members of her family of 80 that survived. Then Gabe traveled by bus up the west coast from Meulaboh to Banda Aceh, an area totally
destroyed by the tsunami. Every house built by aid agencies to provide housing for the survivors was exactly the same, and many are empty because they were built according to the number of families that used to be there, not the survivors.
In all, Gabe felt her trip to Sumatra was very rewarding in many ways.
Guest speaker Jenn Richardson then reported on her involvement with the Youth Centre of Bumi Sehat as one of two Australian Volunteers in Development working there. Robin is trying to achieve a link between gentle transition in birth and in the teen to adult transition. Jenn is Youth Center Advisor in Aceh, expanding English, computers and organic gardens programs into vocational training. (More on their existing Youth Center in Ubud here.)
Bumi Sehat was the first NGO into Samatiga, near the epicenter of the earthquake and an area which was almost completely destroyed by the following tsunami. Robin and her family buried bodies, provided a great deal of first aid and trauma relief as well as midwifery services. The first clinic was a little two-room bamboo shack, then a small 2 floor clinic was built, then RC Ubud built a permanent clinic.
The simple lives of the fishers and farmers of this coast were completely smashed. Jenn is surprised that people can still smile. There are many empty houses for rent at Rp 2 million a year. She hopes to rent several near the Youth Centre for international volunteers who pay to come.
Jenn asked the young people at the Centre what they would like to learn. They replied, “We are orphans, we would like to learn some of the skills we would have learned from our parents.” They want to learn sewing, hair dressing, computer and hospitality skills, brick making, yoga, music, recycling, motorbike maintenance and animal husbandry. The program is now in a transitional phase. It needs proper costings and 5-year plans to present to international donors to refurbish the building and establish the programs. A donor for 12 computers has been found. Jenn is looking for books, equipment, rooms and salaries for teachers and a manager.
Endearingly, the young people don’t want young volunteers. They want older people who represent family and stability.
The meeting ended with the drawing of the raffle prize, a textile fresh off the loom from Sumba donated by Cat and won by Rosalind.by