Right in the beginning of this year, the SOS Children’s Village Bali was invited by a radio station to explain its vision and mission. The Village Director and two educators had to answer many questions asked interactively by callers. In view of the positive public reaction, more talk shows were arranged. During the broadcasts in the following months, a series of children and their educators were interviewed. This was good publicity for the SOS Village but also a valuable experience for those involved.
Still in January, one of the former girls of SOS Bali, now an independent woman with a family of her own, invited other SOS adults she grew up with to a reunion. Most of the grown-up SOS children arrived at the Village for the occasion. To everybody’s delight, the first Village Director who was the father of them all, attended the reunion as well. It was a joyful happening, with everybody sharing their experiences after moving out of the SOS facilities. Many brought their spouses and children along; SOS Bali has many grand-children indeed! And today’s kids were happy to meet so many new “relatives."
There are many activities at the Village, both regular and occasional. As to the latter, various contests are being arranged among the families. When they are held on a Sunday, the girls and boys from the SOS Youth Communities in Denpasar participate, too, either by organizing the event or by joining their respective families. One of them was a cooking competition focusing on cassava and bananas, which is traditional food in this country (there are many kinds of bananas, including special ones for frying or steaming.) The result was 24 different treats – meaning that SOS Mums will have a wide choice when making snacks for afternoon tea!
Children led by their educators planted coconut palms in the northern part of the Village. Coconuts grow larger in our Balinese Village than in the other ones and their meat and water are widely used in the kitchen, not only for snacks but also for vegetable, fish and meat dishes. Other trees and rare plants will be added in the following months. However, our people not only care about their immediate environment. Last February, 25 youths joined a group, called Youth Green Baluk, in reforesting a bare hillside in Jembrana with 1,500 trees.
As to regular activities, in addition to arts, chess, and sports (athletics, football, handball, table tennis, volleyball, and yoga) English lessons for elementary and junior high school kids have been re-established at the Village. It is often difficult to engage tutors from Tabanan but now we have a new staff member with a good knowledge of English.
As the Village’s grounds are vast, it is hard work to keep them clean and pretty, with all their flowering bushes, fish ponds and huge trees that shed their leaves all year round. The children help to tidy up the surroundings of their homes. The little girl in the picture below has just finished her job and you can see that she is proud of her work. She is still holding on to the broom she has used to sweep the lawn and the sack to her right contains the dry leaves she has collected.
Dear Friends, finally let us thank you for your much appreciated support resulting in a solid kind of cooperation for the benefit of our children.
Gregor H. Nitihardjo