The Joy of Village Life - Noosa News June 24, 2010
A blue print for sustainable living has been created by former Peregian family. Gail Forrer speaks with the family who have gone for green in the Bali hills of Mount Batukaru.
High in the Bali hills, where you are wet with humidity and saturated with village life, a dream is manifesting for one Peregian family.
A little more than one year ago, after falling in love with the simplicity of Balinese life, Johnny & Cath Blundstone with son Huon voted for adventure. The couple unwound their attachments to home, understood what they wanted to achieve and went off to create a life profoundly at one with their eco values and beliefs.
Now their dream - Bali Eco Stay - is open and operating.
And everyone who visits there, returns with a desire to be a part of their beautiful eco story.
Within a week of returning to their Peregian home, Jane Richardson and her husband embarked upon a plan to get books to the village school in Bali.
Staying in the Blundstone's Balinese eco accommodation, Jane experienced first hand their sustainable lifestyle.
Far from the maddening crowds, on Mount Batukaru, central Bali, Johnny & Cath have woven a sensitive three way relationship - between the locals, themselves and the land to achieve their eco goals.
Working on social and environmental projects with the villagers they have put in place a proper waste management systems, contributed to school and agriculture education.
"We have built a 32 metre tower so we can receive the internet and are placing routers in the school and village so they can receive it too" Johnny said.
Basically, the whole complex is self sufficient.
"We generate our own power through hydro-electricity, grow most of our own organic vegetables fruit and organic red rice" Johnny said.
"We make our own coconut oil for cooking, palm syrup for sweetening and have aqua ponds".
But chickens and eggs come from a villager. "We don't want roosters keeping guests awake" he said.
They have engaged a young teacher for Huey who has also extended her skills to the local school.
"Sam has been a driving force in renovating the library and commencing a book collection program", Johnny said.
But it is the Blundstones who have instigated the school rubbish removal program, restored toilets and cleaned up the soccer field.
"There are 79 students and ten teachers with virtually no equipment of any kind", he said.
Throughout the three local villages they have installed framed rubbish sacks and employ a villager in each village to keep sacks replenished.
"On the first Wednesday of the month we employ a local truck driver and attendant to collect rubbish and take it down the mountain to the tip and recycling depot."
Bali Eco Stay now lays claim to the most environmentally friendly eco accommodation in Bali and is being used as an blueprint for eco lodges in other areas.
With decades of Noosa hospitality experience behind them, in many ways its a natural choice for Johnny and Cath to want to serve up beautiful things.
But, what has been even more natural is son Hueys cultural adaptation.
"Huey has taken to village life like a duck to water" johnny said.
"And unlike his parents, speaks Indonesian and Balinese and now acts as translator for us!"
Jane's idea is simple: if you have a couple of school books that would suit 3 to 7 years old learn English from, please drop them at Annie's book store at Peregian or Noosa News office at Noosa Civic.
Annie Grossman has a good idea too: if you are traveling to Bali could you become a "book mule" and help transfer the books to Bali Eco Stay.
For more information contact Annie at Peregian Bookstore or Gail Forrer at Noosa News on 07 54480816