Sometimes will drop into your life announced. But in our case we had plenty of advance warning.
A couple years back, Donna and I had met David Booth and learned of the work he had accomplished through his organization, East Bali Poverty Project. This morning, as we rolled down the gravel drive of Villa Gayatri in Ubud, with Gusti at the wheel, planning, hope and circumstance had four of Donna’s company icons-ambassadors and film maker Aaron Marcelino aboard for the 2 hour drive into the mountains of East Bali.
We had been invited to attend a festival where most of the children who had been educated through the project would be participating in one great big party of sorts. That much we knew for sure.
In 1998 David Booth had found the tribe which had been cut off from Balinese society by circumstance and the simple fact that no one thought to ever look for them. No one is exactly sure where the tribe came from but suspected that maybe it had been Lombok, due to the people bearing a strong resemblance to those who reside on that island.
A volcano eruption, poor diet, a persistent problem with goiter and a few other environmentally related issues had combined to provide a lack of real history due to memory loss. In effect, these people are the tribe that the world had forgotten. Such was the poverty endemic to the area when David found them, that they themselves knew little of their ancestral past. In terms of Western understanding THAT is true loss and deprivation: not having a history. No connection to anything. The ability to smile which is such a part of Balinese culture: it was simply not there.
I will not attempt to communicate how EBPP exactly restored hope and at he same time implemented the tribe as a model of social and environmental restoration right now. I will simply say that the feat is of such scope, that as I met and interacted with the children this day I had a hard time keeping back the tears, because I understood that not only did these children have hope, but that a future now exists where only death and oblivion had loomed prior.
We are hard at it, and time is short for writing and imaging, but I hope that in future I will have more available, in order to tell the complete story.
So I will let the images do the talking. And later the motion picture may as well, document this day that occurred in a dry river wash in the lee of the volcano which had almost obliterated a tribe.
They are back. And in their return, David Booth has shown us a way that we can transform our own society potentially. It is a great story that will make the world smile. We all need hope. No matter what our lot in life.
At days end, at the home and in the temple of our friend Gusti Made Merta, prayers of thanksgiving went up, Christian with the Hindu. And you realized what the affect of a life could be, and for some maybe ought to be and for a few will be. Hate, division and separation are odd and common bedfellows. Love is a better way. It is much stronger. We saw the affects of it today.