Four months in...
Whilst the rest of the world celebrated a royal wedding, for Bali Eco Stay, the end of April marked its first four months of work well done. Although there were no celebrations to match those of William and Kate, there was time to reflect on the progress that has been made so far.
In Kupe Kupe, the stay’s restaurant, Mini and her team have been perfecting their tasty dishes. As well as Indonesian classics such as nasi goreng (fried rice) and Balinese specials like pepes ikan (steamed fish) there are healthy salads and filling pasta dishes on the menu too. Desserts have proved to be particularly popular, with treats including seasonal fruit salad, freshly cooked donuts and banana fritters; all of which can be accompanied by homemade ice cream. Numerous cups of Balinese coffee have been enjoyed as part of the complimentary breakfast provided. Pancakes, served with locally sourced palm syrup, have been a firm favourite in the morning too. The kitchen is now producing its own coconut oil from the fruit grown on site too.
In the garden things have also been going well. Cath and her team have been kept busy improving the landscaping around the lodge's three guest bungalows as well as expanding the vegetable garden. Traditional Balinese produce such as casava, japung, wing bean and sweet potato has thrived in the unique mountain climate. A variety of herbs have been introduced to the mix too; it will not be long before these are used in Kupe-Kupe's meals.
With the help of local knowledge, the nine fish ponds on site have been diversified - inhabitants now include snake heads, carp, telaupian and even freshwater lobster. Eventually, one of the ponds will be used solely for predator fish so that future guests can enjoy catching their own supper. The wastewater garden has had a successful start and the much loved durian tree has produced a great yield of fruit so far - much to the delight of the local staff.
As well as the above developments, the original community outreach projects supported by Bali Eco Stay have been firmly established. The children's Wednesday English class has gone from strength to strength. More than 25 local school children now attend the weekly session held by the stay; in March students received their first certificates in recognition of three months of learning. In addition to being given worksheets each lesson, the children have also been provided with basic Indonesian-English dictionaries to aid their studies. Their enthusiasm and desire to learn have touched all the guests who have joined in these sessions. A big thank you to everyone who has generously donated books and resources so far. As ever, any books, old or new, are gratefully received and put to good use.
The Saturday afternoon Silat class has also been well received. Pak Giri, a local master, is employed to teach the children this traditional Indonesian martial art. A combination of physical skill, mental strength and spiritual practice, the sessions take place on the lawn outside. Guests are welcome to join in too - the classes have been enjoyed by the young and old alike. Just bring energy, enthusiasm and a big Balinese smile.
The litter reduction scheme which started in January has now come into full effect. In a bid to reduce the amount of rubbish dropped in the local area, numerous sacks on metal poles were placed in strategic places in Kumetug, Kanciana and Gumpenis village; with a local employed to check and change the bags when necessary. In conjunction with Sarinbuana Eco Lodge and Bali Mountain Retreat, who are also part of the initiative, a monthly sack collection takes place. The first pickup saw the truck leave only one third full. Now in its fourth month of operation and with the locals making good use of the disposal points, the truck is always full on collection day. Not only is this venture having a positive impact on the environment, it is also providing work too.
In response to local need, the stay has also purchased new uniforms for the local gamelan group and provided a teacher to run weekly dance and music lessons for children at Kumetug Primary school. Indeed, as Bali Eco Stay enters its fifth month of business, there are several new projects lined up to help improve facilities at this school. A new water system and renovations to the toilet block are planned. The field at the back of the school will be cleared of rubbish, marked and used as a soccer pitch. The stay is going to buy equipment such as nets, balls, bibs and cones as well as set up a weekly soccer club for the pupils. A school library is also going to be established; at the moment there is only an undecorated, unfurnished room and a few piles of outdated, uncatalogued books. Painting and shelving will be the first jobs to be carried out, followed by the challenge of equipping it with books (in Indonesian and English) suitable for the 79 children attending the school to read.
A lot has been achieved in four months; the next four look set to be similarly productive too. Log-on to our website and check out the 'latest news' section for more detailed descriptions of the work being done.
Best wishes from all of the team at Bali Eco Stay
p.s. Below is a selection of recent photos from our community projects and garden. To see more pictures go to: http://www.baliecostay.com/apps/photos/.