Bali Haibun

There is a place where one man has made all the difference.

The people’s Bali lies far from glamorized honeymoon Bali. In Banjar Guliang Kangin, three hundred+ villagers survive. Men toil in hot humidity tending rice paddies. Trek barefoot in muck, guiding bovine through shin-high waters as they pull hand-carved rakes, furrowing mud. Others stand in water, backs bent, sticking rice plants in wet soil. Women rise daily at five AM. Walk to village market and buy day’s fresh food supplies as mangy dogs and cocking roosters run underfoot on dirt road. They use firewood to boil rice, cook fresh chicken and vegetables in clay pots. Weave flowers and seed as offerings to Hindi gods three times per day. Balance bundled lunch on heads, walking into fields toward hungry men. Children, who can afford books and uniforms attend free school through tenth grade. Farmers make $7 per week, Their children work in fields and family gardens.

We are among the privileged few taking a cooking class from Chef on this hot Balinese day. He meets us at market and humbly explains vegetable names and uses. Takes us to his village, walks us though rice paddy fields to open air school he built with bamboo poles and thatched roof. Teaches us Balinese cooking and at class end, smiling broadly, serves us foods we’ve prepared. “This is not my school. It is my community’s.” Chef left this village as a young man. Traveled to Australia to learn English and culinary arts. Worked in kitchens, ultimately a Hyatt, saving monies. Two years ago at age fifty, he returned. Built this school.  Established relationships with cruise ship lines and hotels. He buys food and teaches multiple cooking classes every day. His work has literally built a bridge, improved homes, and insures that each village child attends school. As women toil at home and men plant fields, he is feeding a village, dish by dish.

Pale female cardinal
daily builds nest, stick by stick
winds of change blow by

Wonderful day in Bali. So very glad we did this excursion, experiencing Balinese culture and helping this village by working with Chef. Such a humble, giving man.

11 thoughts on “Bali Haibun

  1. little learner November 6, 2016 / 5:37 am

    Thank you for sharing this with us. Always good to hear how the work of one humble, faithful person touches many lives!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 5, 2016 / 5:40 am

      Exactly….one act of kindness can reverberate and affect many. I was so touched by this gentle man.


    • lillian December 5, 2016 / 5:40 am

      He was an amazing man….so humble, so giving. It was an amazing way to experience Bali!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hayley Sarah Spear November 7, 2016 / 4:50 pm

    Love this story about this young man! I returned from Indonesia myself just a couple of weeks ago. It was amazing to see and hear about how hard the women work – walking to the markets at 4 and 5am. This man did a wonderful thing pursuing the English language and returning to his village to work and ensure education for the children.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 5, 2016 / 5:43 am

      Yes…it was truly wonderful to experience the “real” side of Bali. The women do work very very hard and as we learned, the men are out in the fields very early till late at night doing backbreaking work in sweltering heat so there is definitely a division of labor. It was interesting to learn that in their culture, the woman/girls inherit nothing. Only the boys in the family inherit. Thus when a woman marries, she moves into the home of her husband’s family. I learned a long time ago when my daughter was a foreign exchange student, from a counselor who came to speak with us before she left, things are not better or worse, they are just different. And keeping that frame of mind helps one to truly appreciate different cultures. We loved our time in Bali.

      Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 5, 2016 / 5:45 am

      He was a wonderful man who has done much good for his village. There really is a division of labor there — while the women work like this, the men are in the fieds very early in the morning until late at night doing backbreaking work in the rice paddies in sweltering heat. They work very very hard to maintain their humble homes.


  3. mother wintermoon November 8, 2016 / 1:11 pm

    Fabulous. Wonderful, inspiring, heartwarming story! The haiku at the end is just lovely… the perfect accompaniment. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. kim881 November 22, 2016 / 1:19 am

    Your blog is turning into a colourful and inspiring travelogue, Lillian, including a cardinal in the haiku!


  5. lillian December 5, 2016 / 5:47 am

    🙂 So glad you enjoyed. Just getting back to reading and writing in my regular routine now…although the jet lag is still a problem. My head still thinks its tomorrow in Sydney! 😦


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