On August 14 I left Amsterdam Schiphol with Qatar via Doha to Denpasar on Bali, together with Tjeerd, Chairman of the Foundation and a good friend of mine.
After a journey of about 19 hours we arrive in the evening of the next day. It is already dark when we drive to our hotel in Sanur. The next day we meet the first sponsor child. His name is Oky and he is 14 years old. He comes to our hotel with his parents and brother to report on the past year and to receive the sponsorship money for the current year. On Saturday 17 August we go to Padangbai to hand in the forms for a dozen children who live there and attend school. We are warmly welcomed by Ni Kadek Nita and her family. Both her sisters work on White Sand Beach, which according to Tjeerd is a beautiful beach. This was putting it mildly. I thought it was a piece of paradise on earth. Clear white sand, azure blue sea, high waves. Here on the beach we meet Iluh and Adie, and we lunch at his warung . Later on our trip we will return to Padangbai, to receive the forms, meet all children and their parents and pay the yearly sponsor money.
On Sunday 18 August we travel to Ubud. We are picked up by Nyoman, the father of Emma, who has been sponsored through the foundation for many years. We meet Emma and two other children who are sponsored. Further highlights here are a visit to the Tirta Empul temple, the downhill cycle tour, the beautiful terrace rice fields and the cooking workshop in the middle of the rice fields. On August 21 we are picked up by Nyoman and his son and taken to Pancasari to visit a school there. Here we meet the Haarsma family from Friesland, who are going to meet their sponsor child for the first time. I end up in a class full of teenagers of about sixteen years old, who want to know where I come from and what I am doing on Bali. In English of course. Most of them speak a little English and they ask me some questions. In the meantime, Tjeerd visits the younger children of the school together with the Haarsma family. After the visit to the school, the journey continues to Lovina.
On August 22 we go to SD2 (primary school) in Kalibukbuk, where 10 children are sponsored. Then we went to the Kindergarten. There we handed out a lot of children’s socks, which were donated by a shop from Mijdrecht. The next day we go to SD1 in Anturan, where 21 children are sponsored. We were taken there (with the scooter) by Komang and Iluh (2 sisters-in-law). Afterwards we went to see the new-born baby of Iluh’s daughter, Komang Novia. Komang Novi has also been sponsored by the Foundation for a number of years. She is now 22 years old and has just given birth to a daughter.
Today is the day I have waited for: finally I meet my sponsor child Komang Wahy! He is now 14 years old and in grade 8. What a nice kid; a bit shy, especially in speaking English with me. But encouraged by Tjeerd, he did his best. It is very nice to see where he lives with his parents and big sister. They are very happy with the clothes, sweets and other presents I brought for them. Tomorrow we will meet again when we visit his school to hand over the sponsor money. We exchanged telephone numbers so that we can app and in that way he will also improve his English. All in all a very nice meeting for both of us! The next day an early morning trip to the dolphins is on the programme, with the boat of Shanti, the father of Iluh (see above). In the afternoon all juniors and seniors visite our hotel to receive the money for the coming school year. It was a great happening in the restaurant of Rini hotel! We were glad that Bianca (Dutch woman who lives in Bali) also stopped by, and that she made many pictures of this meeting. It was a long afternoon, because a large number of juniors and seniors are now being sponsored. We started at 1 pm and the last students went home very happy around 6 pm!
On August 26 we were picked up by car and went to Munduk Bestale with Luh Arini. This place is located in the mountains, just over half an hour’s drive from Lovina. Luh Arini herself comes from this region, and through her the foundation became involved in sponsoring children in two primary schools. Here too the children are very happy that they can go to school. Poverty is clearly visible in this area. After the visit to the schools we drank coffee at Luh’s mother. There one of the fathers of a sponsor child brought us fresh coconuts. In the evening we were invited for dinner by Shanti and Iluh. A delicious dinner at their simple house on the beach. The next day we left Lovina; time flies! The next three days we were real tourists; first to Amed and then via Padangbai with the fast boat to Gili Air. Another paradise on earth. No cars on this island and we you can walk around the island in an hour and a half, which we did. On 30 August we were back in Padangbai, where we met the children who are supported here.
On September 2 I traveled back to the Netherlands, after a fantastic first introduction to Bali. It was great to meet my sponsor child, from whom I received photos and updates all these years, in person. And above all to be able to do this together with Tjeerd, and thus also experience how the foundation works on Bali. And on top of that I could make myself useful as Tjeerd’s assistant. I spent three wonderful weeks on this beautiful island, to which I definitely plan to return. Karin Francke